IT’S one of the biggest celebrations in the Philippines—the Chinese New Year. This just shows how imbedded the Chines culture is in the county (admit it). We believe in the Chinese astrology as we believe in many of the local pamahiins and folklore. Thus, we Pinoys also celebrate the second New Year (and we love celebrations, too!).

The dragons danced for good luck and prosperity as we ushered in the Year of the Metal Rat. At Marco Polo Davao, the dotting of the lion’s eye has become a tradition. Businessman Johnny Yap and DOT-Davao director Tanya Tan with Francis Ledesma did the honors of “giving life to the lion” by the eye-dotting ritual “so that the lion can see.”

Guests donned red came to witness the lucky ritual came, including the Chiew clan who has made it a family tradition to dine in their favorite Chinese restaurant after the ceremony. While the Lotus Court hosted the private affair, the rest of the guests feasted on the Café Marco offerings.

To complete the lucky ritual, there the fortune cookie was served and for the finale, a plateful of freshly-cooked buchi.

Meanwhile at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, the Lunar New Year ushered in not only the Metal Rat but also a new chef. Chef Anna Mae “Mimi” Briones takes over the reins of the hotel’s banquet events and all-day-dining restaurants. The hotel’s new chef holds more than a decade worth of work experience mostly spent abroad.

Prior to Waterfront, Chef Mimi was the Senior Sous Chef at Gambaro’s Seafood Restaurant and Steak House in Brisbane. With a notable background in a number of 5-star hotels and resorts, Chef Mimi is poised to bring a fresh, new touch to dining at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao this 2020.

As opening hurray, Chef Mimi wowed us with a generous 12-course buffet spread highlighting Chinese and Asian cuisines. While the Chinese staple of Peking Duck was delicious, I cheered her on her specialty dishes of Shanghai Style Braised Pork Belly and Pork Ribs with Taro. Those were great dishes that can make the dragon and lion dance the second time around—and double the luck for everyone!

I didn’t need the dragons to dance again to get lucky. Along with our fortune cookie, we were handed a specially prepared Shanghai Style Braised Pork Belly (shredded and ready to fill the bun) to take home. That was just the start of the year-round lucky streak.

Kung hei fat choi, everyone! May the metal Rat bless you with luck!

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