Neri: Trees all aglow

AT SHANGRILA. Festive trees made from the bark of the fallen trees after Typhoon Odette. At right are the frontliners during the tree light up (from left): General manager Dave Junker, Rep. Cindi Chan, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan and DOT Undersecretary Shalimar Tamano.
AT SHANGRILA. Festive trees made from the bark of the fallen trees after Typhoon Odette. At right are the frontliners during the tree light up (from left): General manager Dave Junker, Rep. Cindi Chan, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan and DOT Undersecretary Shalimar Tamano.

There’s an old song which begins with “Christmas with its trees and windows all aglow...” and this comes to mind now that Christmas trees are sprouting in hotel lobbies, sparkling with lights, shimmering with glitters, and merrily kicking up the season of love and joy. Tree lighting ceremonies have been hugging the limelight.

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Seda Ayala Center Cebu had an early start in November when Javier Hernandez, president/chief executive officer of Ayala Land Hotels & Resorts Corp., and Seda general manager Gwen dela Cruz, presided over the tree-lighting ceremony at the lobby. It was also Client Appreciation Night, which began beautifully with heartwarming songs from the Celestial Voices Chorale.

As in previous years, the activity was in partnership with Smile Train, an international charity organization focused on cleft palate surgery, which the Seda Hotels support. Celebration followed at the Grand Ballroom, with a program that included colorful dance numbers and a delectable array of cocktail eats.

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A yearly tradition of Radisson Blu Cebu is to present an awe-inspiring musical evening for its tree lighting event. This year, “A Classical Christmas at the Blu” featured the Cebu Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mandaue Children & Youth Choir and tenor Arman Ferrer. Drama was very much in the air after the light up, when dancing stars brightened the halo on top of the Christmas tree.

Playing gracious hosts during the classy cocktail affair were Elizabeth Sy, president and chairman SM Hotels & Conventions Corp., and hotel general manager Bjorn Henning-Buth. The cocktail spread was sumptuous and included turkey with all the trimmings.

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All eyes were on the Tree of Hope at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu when it came alive with lights and shined with glittering balls on a sultry Saturday night. Each ball represented a monetary donation to the health, education and disaster relief projects of the GMA Kapuso Foundation. General manager Roel Constantino shared that the Christmas project of Marco Polo in tandem with GMA is all about touching lives and that hopefully, the light up of the tree will also light up hope. He presented a check of P100,000 from MPP to GMA FVP Oliver Amaroso for the Kapuso Foundation.

The festivities began with the blessing by Msgr. Roberto Alesna. Then came the well-choreographed ballet dances from the Cebu Center for Dance. GMA singing talents Julie Ann San Jose and Rayver Cruz took centerstage for the finale. A buffet dinner at Cafe Marco completed the lovely evening.

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Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa timed its tree-lighting affair on Thanksgiving Day. Dubbed “Tropical Holidays in Mactan,” the merrymaking was headlined by general manager Dave Junker and Mactan Island’s power couple, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan and Rep. Cindi Chan, and Department of Tourism Undersecretary Shalimar Tamano.

An attractive display of Christmas trees greeted guests at the lobby entrance. The main tree stood tall and majestic with its red and green trimmings but what caught everyone’s attention were the smaller trees around it. They were made of tree trunks cut crosswise and arranged artistically to form a Christmas tree. Yes, the tree trunks used were those that went down during the Odette fury last year. An interesting and innovative touch!

The Dream Catchers provided the musical entertainment during the cocktail affair along with a special performance by the Babag National High School Rondalla.

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