AMID the hustle and bustle of the city, October 27, marked the 20th anniversary celebration of Eden Nature Park and Resort Davao.

Known for its cool breeze, the mountain resort located 2,650 feet above sea level in Barangay Eden, Toril District, Davao City, was prepped up to perfection with guests also dressed just right for the special occasion.

The resort's top executives and personnel, special guests and valuable patrons were all in attendance to the event dubbed as Client Appreciation Night.

Eden Nature Park and Resort and JVA Group of Companies chairman Miguel M. Ayala earlier said, "Eden is the living legacy that my parents left behind." He was pertaining to the late Jesus "Chito" V. Ayala (JVA) and wife Fe Misa Ayala.

"From just catering to pre-booked small corporate day events in 1997, we evolved to become the multi-activity resort that we are now. Sustaining this business venture for 20 years in a location that is outside the Davao metropolis is, I believe, a modest achievement that is worth celebrating," the chairman said.

He then cited the management team, officers and employees of the company as well as their business partners "who have contributed to Eden's development and growth".

He shared that his parents saw the potential of the place when they bought the property in the 1970s and planted pine trees and established a forest to preserve the natural habitat and restore the crisp and cool climate.

"They planted an orchard and vegetables to provide for our local and export markets. They planted flowers and ferns and developed a garden befitting the Eden name. And they didn’t stop there. Aside from providing employment, they also provided land for the workers’ housing, and for the children’s education, and built a chapel for communal worship. They built a community here in Eden," Miguel added.

And the rest, as we all know, is history.

Meanwhile, soothing music by Champ Burgos, who sang a handful of Michael Buble songs, greeted us when we arrived at the Vista Restaurant where the anniversary program was set up.

Our SunStar Davao entourage was headed by our general manager Tessie Alcoriza and HR supervisor Donna Catedrilla Cuyos.

We helped ourselves to a feast of pasta carbonara, chicken and pork barbecue (truly a hands down winner among us!) and the famous Eden vegetable salad, among other cocktail offerings that evening.

Eden also feted clients and partners during the event as Eden's president and CEO Zaldy Magnaye spearheaded the awarding of plaques and gifts.

The top government accounts were Department of Social Welfare and Development 11, Department of Agrarian Reform 11, Department of Environment and Natural Resources 11, Department of Agriculture 11 and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 11.

The top corporate accounts Ateneo de Davao University, Dole Philippines, Davao Christian High School, Davao Light and Power Company and Hydroelectric Power Plant, Incorporated were also awarded.

Davao's Tawag ng Tanghalan performer Rosalyn Lagunsay entertained the guests before the top travel agency accounts, top group accounts, special events partners and media partners were also recognized on stage.

Alcoriza received the plaque for Sun.Star Davao.

Board of Directors member Rafael T. Ayala, for his part, gave the closing remarks. He recalled the first time he worked at the resort in his late teen years doing part time work during summer of 1999.

"I grew up in this place. It gives me personal pride that as a company and community (Eden) has proven resilient. A huge part of this is due to your valuable support. Daghang salamat," Rafael said, adding that they look forward to another 20 years together.

Indeed, Eden, as a company, will continue to scale greater heights as a premier tourist destination in Mindanao.