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Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Now on its 8th year, the 888 News Forum marked its anniversary with a brunch affair at the Marco Polo Plaza which is now its permanent home. Organized on Aug. 8, 2008, (8-8-08) by a small group headed by Latvia Consul Bobby Joseph, the body has evolved from being a travel-related forum to an organization tackling relevant everyday issues like politics, environment, business, governance, etc. Sun.Star Cebu's Elias Baquero who is over-all coordinator of 888 shared the story of the 888 News Forum, from its simple beginning to what it has become today.
Guest speaker during the affair was multi-awarded environmentalist/lawyer Antonio Oposa who said that we have to preserve our environment because our sources of life are land, air and water. They must not be destroyed in the name of progress.
The anniversary celebration also saw the awarding of individuals and establishments who have made a difference in the community. Honorary Russian Consul Armi Garcia was cited for promoting tourism, business and trade between the Philippines and Russia, while Dondi Joseph of the Cebu Business Club was recognized for his effort in lobbying for infrastructure development. Commended for its all-out support for 888 was Marco Polo Plaza. Visayan Electric Company got a citation for curbing power shortage while Cebu Daily News was acknowledged for features on the environment.
Once again Marco Polo Plaza celebrated the Swiss National Day with a grand dinner affair. Venue was the hotel's spacious balcony on the 3rd floor. This year marked 723 years of the Swiss Federation and Marco Polo Plaza general manager (GM) Hans Hauri saw to it that the milestone was celebrated fittingly. The dinner fare was extensive - a variety of breads and salads, a selection of sausages and hams, assorted meats and seafood, chocolates, cheeses and cakes galore.
Here for the occasion was Raoul Imbach, deputy head of mission, EDA of Switzerland, who proudly announced that aside from the Swiss government's help, the Swiss citizens were able to raise $45 million for the Yolanda victims. And when it was dance time, Imbach went onstage to perform with the band. Yes, he is not only a real singing talent but a showman to the core!
Marriott GM Patrick Carroll honored the senior lifestyle writers in town, with a joint birthday celebration at the hotel's Sampaguita Ballroom 1. This has become a yearly event, thanks to PR angel Charlene Go who does the organizing. This time it was a formal dinner with a beautifully set long table filled with flowers—red roses, long-stemmed lilies/liliums, pretty orchid-like blooms. It was a feast for the eyes and was designed by Debbie Huang of Simple Wishes. The lovely evening began with a ballet presentation from the dancers of Ballet Center Cebu.
Then came the real feast starting out with Pan Fried Rock Lobster with lemon mushroom and lemongrass cream sauce followed by a variety of Sushi in Aroma Bamboo artistically arranged in a split bamboo container. Mango Granita with green mango jelly cleansed our palates to prepare us for the main dish of Surf and Turf, a steak and prawns set with lemon asparagus and pumpkin mash. Completing the elegant dinner was the dessert of Cheese Cake Creme Brulee with apricot jelly. Meanwhile, there was soothing background music from chanteuse Therese Rigor.
All accounted for were Flor Ynclino, Chinggay Utzurrum, Mila Espina, Cookie Newman, Jaime Picornell, Honey Loop, Mayen Tan and yours truly.
The new Rustan's Supermarket, located at basement 1 of the expansion wing of Ayala Center, opened with a big bang last Aug.9. It is one of the biggest Rustan's supermarket in the country with about 2,800 square meters. The store carries international brands as well as prime local products.
The formal opening was led by the grand old man of the Rustan's group, Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco, his son Rico, and grandson Donnie. They were at the forefront during the bread breaking ceremony at the entrance of the supermarket.
Brunch followed at The Gallery where goodies available at the supermarket were offered.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 27, 2014.