For the past 14 years, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu and the GMA Kapuso Foundation have joined hands every Christmas season to raise funds for the foundation’s health, education and disaster relief projects. The fundraiser is Marco Polo’s towering Tree of Hope. Guests and patrons are encouraged to pin a Christmas ball on the tree for a P200 donation. Generous souls have been supporting this cause which has touched countless lives all these years.
The lighting up of the Tree of Hope is always a big do in the hotel and this year was no exception. For starters, Msgr. Guillermo Gorre blessed the tree. An entertaining program of Christmas carols from the University of Cebu Chorus and ballet performances from the Cebu Centre for Dance brightened the gathering. Lithe, lovely and leggy ballet dancers mesmerized the audience. Then there were brief messages from outgoing general manager Roel Constantino and GMA Senior vice president Oliver Amoroso. Highlight was the turning over of Marco Polo Plaza’s check donation to GMA Kapuso Foundation.
When everything was said and done, big, red-faced Santa Claus with Mrs. Claus in tow came down the stairs and they made their way to his huge chair in a strategic corner facing the glittering tree. But of course all the children rushed to him.
An exclusive dinner for media friends followed at Blu Bar where we got the chance to interact with incoming general manager Max Huger and communications manager, Karen Hassim. By the way, Marco Polo offers its Festive Buffet for lunch and dinner on Dec. 24 and 25 featuring holiday favorites like Christmas ham, Stuffed Turkey and the like. Meanwhile the hotel’s famed Ensaimadas, Malicious cookies and other goodies are available for sale at its Christmas store near Cafe Marco.
Once again Seda Ayala Center Cebu made its tree lighting event an occasion to launch its fundraising for Smile Train, an international organization which provides free cleft palate surgery to disadvantaged children. Seda’s support for Smile Train has been ongoing since it opened its doors five years ago.
This year’s Christmas tree was a shimmering sight in silver white and blue, a work of love of the hotel‘s Housekeeping group. General manager Gwen Dela Cruz led her team in switching on the tree lights.
The happy occasion was also a Clients Appreciation Night for the hotel. The merrymaking began at the lobby with the Celestial Voices Choir rendering uplifting music and went on to the ballroom for a short program. It was heartwarming to see the happy faces of the children of Smile Train when they were presented onstage. A delightful feast of Christmas favorites completed the celebration.