The Marco Polo Plaza Hotel held its 9th annual observance of Swiss National Day at the third-level roof deck. A large marquee had been set up, air-conditioned, laid out with a thick carpet and hung with the chandeliers from the ballroom.
As it does every year during this celebration, it rained, rather heavily, prompting general manager Julie Najar to say in her welcome speech that rain was always a blessing. She thanked Swiss Ambassador Ivo Seiber who came for the occasion, as he had regularly done, with his wife Gracita.
Also here for the event was Hans Hauri, who was the Marco Polo Cebu’s general manager for 10 years, before he moved to the Grand Hyatt in Manila. He initiated the Swiss food fest to mark Switzerland’s national day.
He came with his charming wife Bo Hauri and their twin sons—Austin and Morgan. They went from table to table greeting the many friends they had in Cebu. Photographers followed in their wake.
In attendance were numerous Swiss nationals from all over the province and city of Cebu, plus those that came from neighboring islands in the Visayas. They came to make merry with their families, including little children who scampered about.
In his special message, Ambassador Seiber said that the celebration had to do with 724 years since the Federation of Switzerland was established.
Everyone was attentive when a video was shown of Simonetta Sommaruga, president of the Swiss Confederation, delivering her official message to all Swiss citizens around the world.
There was a program hosted by Nicole Tuazon and Mia Ali Faridoon, with games and raffle draws. The grand prizes were round-trip tickets to Zurich, won by Windy Gancayco and Alberto Eleccion. Present to award them were Cathay Pacific’s Connie Cimafranca and Janice Nabua.
The buffet featured an array of Swiss specialties ranging from the aromatic raclette to an assortment of succulent sausages, and heaps of cheeses that went well with the specially baked bread.
Take a bow, chef Stefano Verillo, for the Swiss buffet, and for some Filipino dishes among them such as chicken/pork adobo. This is for those Swiss nationals who have Filipino wives and who have learned to love Philippine cuisine, explained Lara Constantino Scarrow, the Marco Polo’s sales and marketing director, and the communications manager Manna Alcaraz.
A dish that was highly rated consisted of big peas cooked in butter. The dessert table was quite another matter, laden as it was with pastries and chocolates galore. Not to worry about calories, for there was the On the Cover band to dish out dance music of the more animated kind.
What next? The Marco Polo Cebu’s resident manager, Xavier Masson, said that just like they did a year ago, there would be an Indian food festival, which would surely prove quite attractive to those who adore exotic, and spicy, dishes.
Apec, wedding reception
Meanwhile, the Marco Polo Cebu’s grand ballroom has undergone a massive facelift and expanded by more than 30 percent of its area. It was completed in time for the various meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit from Aug. 22 to Sept. 6.
On Sept. 18, it will have its first wedding reception. That is the day chosen by Joseph Raymond Gayatin to take the lovely Justine Rose Fernandez for his bride at the San Pedro Calungsod chapel.
She is the lovely daughter of Rodrigo Fernandez Jr. And Cynthia Racaza Macaraya; he is the son of Manuel Benjamin Gayatin and Susan Monsanto Gayatin of Cebu.
Teresin Mendezona is doing the preparations for the wedding, in close cooperation with Tess Catipay of the Cebu Marco Polo.
Next day, Sept. 19, will be the grand inaugural bash to which many prominent guests have been invited, including a galaxy of VIPs from Manila and abroad.
Next thing we know, it will be Christmas, and for that the Marco Polo in Cebu has a whole program of events. Then there’s the lobby lounge which offers those delicious pastries.
Among them is a special ensaymada, which is a year-round favorite. But it is at Christmas that the Marco Polo ovens bring about the delicacy. Just last Christmas, over 3,000 ensaymada were ordered, filling up boxes that made the delights of recipients all over Cebu and beyond.