The Cebu Chapter of La Chaine des Rotisseurs held a Safari Encounter at Michel Lhuillier’s Cebu Safari and Adventure Park. It was a Saturday afternoon when over a hundred guests, who had signed up, drove to the municipality of Carmen in northern Cebu for a truly bucolic experience.
Michel’s zoo comprises hectares upon hectares of lush vegetation, which makes it a veritable botanic garden of shrubs, trees and colorful plants. There are a million orchid plants in bloom. Count them! Michel’s love of orchids began almost 40 years ago.
In this eden of delights, there are habitats for lions, tigers, llamas, impalas, antelopes, giraffes, birds of all colors, monkeys and reptiles, plus many more additions in the coming months. There is a lake with swans, of course.
You can walk through this animal kingdom and earthly paradise, or you can take the comfortable vehicle that brings you around a carefully planned route so that you can see everything. The wild animals are not in cages, but don’t worry, they cannot leap over the deep ravine between you and them. It is thrilling, though. A well-trained guide at the front seat gives a thorough running commentary.
As in all Chaine events, Michel and Amparito Lhuillier were gracious hosts. He is La Chaine’s Baili Delegue for the Philippines; she is the Baili de Cebu. It is a most successful conjugal partnership.
Gastronomy at its finest
A Chaine event involves gastronomy at its finest, and, in this case, an imaginative mise en scene. There was Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly, who mobilized his best kitchen staff to cater the dinner.
A brigade of cooks and their aides, led by executive chef Juanito Abangan, had gone to Carmen the night before with the necessary equipment, and stayed overnight.
Most enthusiastic was Joward Tongco, Marco Polo’s director for restaurants, bars and events. So were events and promotions manager Barbie Burchards, sous chef Riz Degamo, banquet services manager Francis Ompok, and communications officer Febe Compañon who stood at the entrance to welcome one and all.
Very much in evidence was Safari Park vice president Eduard Loop, general manager Ronwell Bete, and executive chef Arsenio Basa Jr.
Michel and Amparito presented certificates of appreciation, assisted by board members Dr. Nestor Alonso and Hans Eulenhoefer.
Then it was party time. It reeled off with Michel doing a dance number, dressed as Clark Gable in “Mogambo,” surrounded by a bevy of beauties in animal prints. Later, as dance music played, he was the picture of intense joy, with many joining in the circle of blinking lights.
Among the over 100 personalities were Angie Mathieu with her Mickey Paulson, Jurgen and Sandra Pesch, Johanna Borromeo, Stella Bernabe, Kate Hale, Leah Blanco, Mila Demecillo and Satish Naydu, Fritz and Pearly Strolz, Philippe and Danielle Bodart.
Michel delivered his usual thank-you speech, praising all those who had made the event a truly resounding success, never mind the torrential rain, the thunder and the flickering lights.
He also announced future events for La Chaine in Cebu. One is a Chinese dinner at the Hai Shin Lou restaurant in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Another will be at the J Resort in Mactan, which has a new ballroom, we are informed.