The Cebu chapter of La Chaine des Rotisseurs held its August Moon fellowship dinner at the ballroom of the Grand Convention Center. It was a night of exquisite Chinese cuisine.
Presiding were Michel and Amparito Lhuillier; he as head of La Chaine in the Philippines, and she as Madame la Baili of the Cebu chapter. Amparito was in a form-hugging white outfit.
Champagne flowed during predinner cocktails at the foyer. Dinner was amid potted bamboo stalks that touched the ceiling, with guests seated on gilt chairs in round tables. The mood was set by Wilson Ng and his ensemble playing Oriental music.
Winglip and Pinky Chang went overboard in the preparation of the exotic dishes. Throughout the night, as each dish came, they received congratulations, starting with the roast Peking duck slices, the juicy spring rolls, and the aromatic soup of double boiled beancurd skin with mushrooms from the family’s recipe book.
Then followed stir-fried prawns with crispy French green beans, pan-fried scallops with pine nuts, braised pork with yam wrapped in lotus leaves, and Angus beef cubes stuffed on a baked half red pepper, which in itself was delicious. Soy King noodles capped the repast.
For dessert, there was peeled Mandarin orange, glasslike white fungus with nuts, and the traditional sesame balls that conclude every Chinese dinner. Excellent red and white wines from the Lhuillier cellars were generously poured throughout.
Onstage to congratulate the chefs and the kitchen brigade were Michel and Amparito plus the rest of the officers in La Chaine’s Cebu board: Teresin Mendezona, Vivina Yrastorza, Nestor Alonso, Al Evangelio and Dave Sharpe. They all welcomed Winglip Chang into the fold.
Chef Massimo La Magna was asked to come up to the dais and make announcements about the next fellowship. He said it would be in October, at the Gustavian restaurant, with a menu inspired by his native Sicily. There’s more to Italian cuisine than just pasta, he winked.
Swiss National Day
As it has become a tradition, the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel celebrated Swiss National Day with a weeklong festival of Swiss specialties, at its Café Marco. One special evening was dedicated to a grand celebration at the hotel’s tennis court, transformed into a festive and colorful tent.
The event counted with the presence of Ivo Sieber, Switzerland’s ambassador to the Philippines. There was a good representation from the Swiss community in the Visayas.
Welcoming the guests were Marco Polo general manager Hans Hauri with wife Bo and their twin sons—Morgan and Austin. Hauri spoke about the meaningful occasion that marked 721 years since the Swiss Federation was formed.
He asked Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation Armi Garcia, chair of the Cebu Consular Corps, to join him onstage. Together they rang a huge cowbell that signified the start of the evening’s program which began with a speech from Ambassador Sieber.
The ambassador said it was great to be in Cebu once more, and thanked Hans as well as the entire Marco Polo team for the grand occasion. “Seven hundred twenty one years is a long time for a country,” he remarked, adding that relations between Switzerland and the Philippines have always been excellent.
“The Philippines has the second-largest group of Swiss residents in the world,” he said, and many of his countrymen present that evening gave a loud cheer.
Roman candles were lit as is traditional, and a fabulous buffet of Swiss food was served. The evening gained momentum when dance music was played, and many took to trip the light fantastic, with or without partners.
The Consular Office of Japan in Cebu, led by Consul and Counselor Yoshiaki Hata, has been congratulated for the successful Japan Festival held Aug. 11-12 at Ayala Center Cebu. Hata explained that it was to celebrate Philippines-Japan Friendship Month.
Attending the opening ceremonies were Japan’s Ambassador Toshinao Urabe with his wife Tetsuko Urabe, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Ambassador Francisco Benedicto.
A series of Japanese cultural events highlighted the festival, foremost among them the 17-member Wako Daiko Drum Club which came expressly from Japan with Yasuhide Tanaka heading the delegation. They were well-applauded, as were the Awaodori dance, the Karate demonstrations, the Karaoke singing competitions and the imaginative cosplay.
Booth displayed Ikebana floral arrangements, Japanese dolls, and an array of cultural exhibits set up by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. At Ayala Center’s The Terraces open area, Japanese restaurants displayed and sold their specialties to the delight of gourmets, gourmands and those who tried them for the first time.
Ambassador Urabe cited the initiative of the Japanese community in Cebu in making the festival possible. Consul Hata counted in the implicit cooperation of the Japanese Association of Cebu, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cebu, as well as the Cebu Provincial and City Government.