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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Jo De Vivre: Hong Kong, Davao and Cebu in one evening

DINNER with friends is always such a pleasure, and it becomes an occasion to treasure even more when you don’t live in the same zip code, or in the same country.

Last year, I had the chance to meet Samantha Poon, director of communications for Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong, during a special dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. We met again for lunch at Three on Canton, Marco Polo Hong Kong’s signature restaurant, earlier this year. For our third meeting, we had dinner together a few weeks ago during a media dinner for Cebuano and Davaoeño media and bloggers at the Marco Polo hotel in Davao.

The dinner in Davao allowed us to meet with friends in the industry, including fellow Sun.Star columnists I’m always glad to see, Jinggoy Salvador and Jojie Alcantara; the latter I first met during a travel assignment to Thailand. Shari Quimbo, Marlen Limpag, Marco Diala, Sinjin Pineda and I were flown in from Cebu for the night to stay at Marco Polo Davao and for the media dinner that Samantha and her colleague Angela Wong had specially visited Davao for. We got an awesome VIP welcome at Marco Polo Davao by the hotel’s sales and marketing director Pearl Maclang, marketing communications manager Josef Ledesma and PR officer Sarah Dayrit.

Cocktails that evening were at the hotel’s poolside on the top floor, then we were led to dinner at the Polo Bistro with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. There were about 20 of us at one long table, and before dinner started, Samantha and Angela shared with us some tourism updates for Hong Kong and promos for the Hong Kong hotels, some of which you may have read about in the travel pages of this paper.

The fully pomelo-themed dinner started with an appetizer of prawn and swordfish, followed by a veloute of seafood with poached scallop, fish, clams and pomelo tempura. A pomelo and mint sorbet cleansed the palette, before we had a choice of braised beef short ribs with truffle mashed potato, pomelo salad and beef jus, or baked salmon fillet, which I opted for. Aside from free-flowing wine, we also had a Marco Polo signature iced tea with cubes of earl grey and elderflower, so elegantly served from a curved glass carafe that was more like a sculpture. We were already so full, but as there’s always room for dessert, we still had the pomelo chilled cheesecake and vodka pomelo jelly.

The five-course dinner left us satiated but glad that we had the time to share with friends from outside of Cebu that we don’t see often. I wonder when and where I’ll see them again, but I hope it won’t be too long 'til the next time!
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