The Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu held a grand affair on Nov. 9 at its magnificent lobby: the lighting of its 40-meter tall Christmas tree decked in blue and silver balls, and the hotel’s anniversary.
At the forefront of the event was the suave general manager Stephan Sieberg and his lovely wife Stephanie who looks like a fashion model.
“I’ve been reading the book slowly,” he told me about the heavy volume I gave him that tells the saga of the Escaño family.
The book was written by Resil Mojares, recently proclaimed National Artist in Literature. He is from Cebu.
The Escaño clan includes other large families based in Cebu like the Garcia-Aberasturis, the Lhuilliers, the Salases, the Corominas and the Escaños themselves, some of whom live in Malitbog in southern Leyte.
Malitbog was their point of origin. It gained international importance as the setting of the best seller “An American Guerrilla in the Philippines.” The movie version starred Tyrone Power and Micheline Presle.
We had to leave Stephan and this fascinating story upon the arrival of the guest of honor, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale.
“I’ve just come from Minglanilla in the south,” she said. “They inaugurated Snow World where you can walk through an area that is many degrees below zero. For the entry price, they give you a coat to wear.” Brrr.
In a little while, they were joined by Elizabeth Sy, president of SM Hotels and Convention Corp. (SMHCC), and executive vice president Peggy Angeles for the tree-lighting ceremony.
Nestor Jardin, SMHCC’s brand ambassador and program director, then gave the cue for the evening’s program to unfold.
The complete Cebu Philharmonic Orchestra rendered holiday music, conducted by Giovanni Tabada. In the group were professor Rey Abellana and Mark Hamlet Mercado.
The Mandaue Children’s Choir and Youth Chorus directed by Dennis Sugarol sang Christmas carols. Both groups are related and have won numerous international awards.
The audience was electrified by the show provided by Opus One group which performs in the style of II Divo with a repertoire of Italian songs and more.
The crowd went wild in their applause. Kudos go to the four: Fonzi Mendoza, Obel Alalong, Jos Jalbuena and Lorenzo Mendoza.
“Bring them back for the next reason to party,” everyone told Stephan. Plans are afoot…
Seen: the hotel’s resident manager Gabor Bors who welcomed the guests at the entrance; PAL’s top man in the area Harry Inoferio, dapper in a dark suit; and Teresin Mendezona sharing a sofa with Marissa Fernan.
From the hotel’s end were communications director Lara Agua, assistant director for sales and marketing Christine Estrella and Marife Yuson, executive chef Roberto Kunitz, F&B director Ramon Maquilan, events director Ruby Nepomuceno, Rochelle Tabino, HR’s Rem Mandani, and Sieberg’s efficient executive assistant Angel Ang. –CONTRIBUTED