by Allain Dumon Fonte
Christmas is unstoppable; and, as we draw closer to Christmas day, the scent of this joyous season fills the air, and the sounds of celebrations fill the homes and streets of Cebu. Invitations for pre-Christmas celebrations are overflowing; from intimate soirées to grand gatherings. Yet, one invitation came that I could not miss, and would not dare to miss. It was the bai Hotel Cebu’s Glistening Christmas.
bai Hotel Cebu is one of the Queen City’s newest hotels, with modern-designed interiors and world-class facilities; plus, the Instagram-worthy views of the deck pool and pool bar, it is truly the next destination for your ‘staycation’. The hotel’s most accommodating and friendliest staff are led by a hospitality and tourism veteran, Mr. Alfred Reyes, who is the hotel’s general manager and vice-president for operations. Hence, the hotel is branded as Cebu’s friendliest. And true to their standards of excellence, the hotel has yet surprised all of its guests and partners with a glistening Christmas celebration.
The Glistening Christmas welcomed about five hundred guests, and was attended by Cebu City’s elite personalities. The celebration started with the symbolic lighting of the Christmas tree in the lobby area. The Christmas tree was lit by bai Hotel Cebu’s general manager, Mr. Alfred Reyes; bai Hotel Cebu’s founder, Mr. Danilo Lua; and the mayor of the City of Mandaue, the Hon. Jonas Cortes. While everyone was enjoying the cocktails, canapés, and the Christmas carols by the University of Cebu chorale, our gracious hostess, the president of bai Hotel Cebu, Miss Angelie Lua-Domingo, invited everyone to the Lapu-Lapu Grand Ballroom for the celebration’s formal reception.
“In bai Hotel, we always innovate to create something special because the guests that we serve are special.” -Chef Mel Lopez
The ballroom was magical, as it was adorned with flamboyant centerpieces and an array of cheese selections. It felt like I died and went to cheese heaven. The guests were treated with selections from cheddar cheese, American cheese, provolone to gruyere, rogue river blue, caciovallo podolico, bitto, and white silton selections. And if there is cheese, wine flows. Although, I am not a big fan of wines, but how can I say no to a fine chardonnay when there is a gruyere; neither to a quality sauvignon when there is an aged gouda. The chef really knows how to please his guests. While I was looking for the talented chef to personally congratulate him; little did I know that the chef was busy preparing for a show. bai Hotel Cebu’s corporate executive chef, Mel Lopez, presented a one-of-a-kind gastro-orgasmic exhibition when he formally opened the cheese platter buffet by subliming the solid carbon dioxide. What happened next was magic; the cheese buffet station was covered with crawling mist, making the cheese platters appeal to be floating on the mist. I stood in ovation and congratulated Chef Lopez; he gratefully responded, “In bai Hotel, we always innovate to create something special because the guests that we serve are special.” I could not agree more, as I can feel the incomparable hospitality from the moment I walked in to the hotel.
The night continued with more canapés and non-stop service of beverages. However, I broke my strict diet routine with the egg and bacon canapés. I have to commend Chef Lopez again for the extraordinarily delicious egg and bacon canapé. It may be commonly served in most events that I have attended; but this one truly tastes different and has set the bar higher in the canapé category. While I was particularly noticing the details of the intricacy of the food preparations, the rest of the ballroom was entertained by the Broadway Youth Cebu. The performers took us from Broadway to West End with their renditions of songs from our favourite musicale theatre shows. I am impressed with the great pool of talents that Cebu has to offer. Perhaps, Mel Brooks, David Geffen, or Cameron Mackintosh should stage their next productions in Cebu with these amazing talents. It was just disappointing that they did not perform any song from the musicale, “the Christmas Schooner”; yet, their total performance was of class A standards.
The night concluded with the awarding of bai Cebu Hotel’s business partners. This is a very good gesture of acknowledging the people who made bai Hotel Cebu a-must-visit hotel in the span of two years. I, however, ended my night with a big smile on my face; perhaps it was the wine, or may be the cheese; but, there is one thing that I am sure of, I know it was the smiles of the staff of bai Hotel Cebu that also made me smile. Yes! It was indeed a Glistening Christmas.
After the Razzmatazz and Razzle-dazzle: Post-Sinulog Thoughts
by Chrissy Grey Resaba
Buntings of red and yellow were removed from post to post. Streets were cleared and cleaned. Fireworks displays were faded in the sky. Beats of #prititit and tunes of tourism-booster Cebu tracks were being put to archive once again.
Contingents from different parts of Cebu and Central Visayas had gone back home. Party people had gone sober while some are still recovering. Traffic has gone back to normal. Businesses, as well, has gone back to normal.
However, all the fun and loud chants, smooth grooves, and frenzied choreographies are still replaying from the memory banks of the people who celebrated Sinulog 2020. The queen of all festivals in the Philippines has left again another mark of cultural and festive nostalgia to the people from all parts of the world and Cebuanos alike.
After all the razzmatazz and razzle-dazzle, let’s get to know what are these IG and FB personalities’ #PostSinulogThoughts about celebrating the newly-culminated Sinulog 2020 and how did they differentiate it to last year’s.
Eva Psychee Patalinjug, Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2018 @evapatalinjug
I celebrated my Sinulog with my boyfriend and some of my close friends, we decided to choose a place where it’s not very crowded where we can see the whole Cebu, talk, and chill the night away. We went to Verified Lounge – Cebu’s newest premier sky lounge – located at the rooftop of the Avenir Building. It was something new for me as the night was calm as I was away from the busy streets of Cebu. It’s definitely one way of enjoying such festivities.
Kim Covert @kimcovert
The Sinulog celebration this year has been one of the most memorable events in my life. Not only was I invited to perform a few of my own songs during the weekend’s festivities but I also turned over my Binibining Cebu Tourism crown to my successor. Last year, I was busy with work and was not able to completely grasp the events. This year’s festival was more organized which is a great success for Cebu. Many have flown in and had spent time with their families in the “Pit Senyor” spirit, others have enjoyed spending time off with friends and colleagues. It was a great way for me to start my New Year and close my Cebu chapter before I leave to the US in a week.
Alem Garcia @thealemgarcia
Well pretty much, I was still busy doing shows and events for Sinulog. But what made it different this year was the religious celebration made me believe even more that Sto. Niño is indeed miraculous and that He is meant to be celebrated. Even though you are successful in your chosen field, furthermore, everything will be meaningless if you do not have the faith.
Philip Pingoy @almostablogger
We all have a Sinulog story to tell. It may be a story of losing faith and finding hope. But what is important is our devotion to the Holy Child Jesus (Señor. Sto. Niño). This year, my Sinulog experience was very different since I am already based in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the internet I was still able to watch the mass and all the festivities in Cebu. I am in UK because I prayed to Sto. Niño. So, let us not forget the reason we celebrate Sinulog and let us continue to share to the rest of the world why Sinulog is the grandest festival in the Philippines. Pit Senyor everyone! I hope you had a good one!
Lyssa Amor @lyssaamor
Sinulog celebrates Filipinos’ acceptance of Christianity. This year, I celebrated Sinulog by hearing the word of God. I went to church which I do every Sinulog but the difference now is that I am not in Cebu. It’s my first time to celebrate Sinulog away from home because I’m currently in Japan. Although I didn’t dance the traditional Sinulog dance this year, I wasn’t able to watch the fireworks in Ayala, and didn’t spend time with my friends in Mango and IT Park. Snr. Sto. Niño will always be in my heart and I am forever grateful that our ancestors accepted Christianity and we continue to embrace it up until today.
Kevin Geniston @kgeniston
Sinulog will always be a highlight for me as a Cebuano. This year has been fulfilling as I was able to brave the crowd in the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu three times to attend the novena mass which had also become like bonding time with my family, daughter, friends and loved ones. I ended the celebration of the Sinulog festivities with a bit of the usual partying and/or clubbing.
Carlo Andrew Olano @kalamicebu
My Sinulog this year was a great mix of religious and secular activities. I was able to go to the church and somehow witnessed the Traslacion and the fluvial procession. I also went to many side events like parties, mall events, and fireworks exhibitions. Sinulog 2020 had a fantastic balance of fun, faith, and festivities.
Danna Bacolod @dannabacolod
This is the second time I spent Sinulog with Cebu Pacific. We had series of events prepared during its entire week and participated the grand parade by having a float last Sunday. I always feel excited to join Sinulog Grand Parade and see a lot of people celebrating their own way of Sinulog along the streets of Cebu. Guess it’s safe to say that I had so much fun. Even if this was work-related, I didn’t feel like I’m actually working as it was always joyful doing events like these.
Nimo Hideki @nimo_scheming
You prolly knew this already but, Sinulog 2020 was by far the most phenomenal Sinulog experience: more laidback than the previous years’. The music in every corner of the streets were still there to help you let loose and enjoy the experience. The surge of people had tested you both mentally and physically. But it was an experience you cannot miss like mingling with people from different walks of life and shouting out “Pit Senyor” to everyone. Summing up my Sinulog experience, I was able to get crazy and enjoy all aspects of the fest.
Michael Rey @michaelsomewhere
I had the most relaxed Sinulog experience this year. I did not party and preferred to witness the grand parade instead. I do think that this year’s celebration was more colorful and much safer as establishments strictly abided the rules imposed by the Cebu City Government. I was also amazed at how the festival of fashion here in Cebu has evolved throughout the years.
Now, how about you? What are your #PostSinulogThoughts this Prititit 2020? Viva Pit Senyor!
Stellar Set of Music Personalities shine at the First World-class Music Festival in Cebu
by Chrissy Grey Resaba
A day before the grandest celebration of Sinulog Festival this new decade of 2020, a line-up of international DJs and local artists are up gathered to perform for the first time this January 17, 2020, at City Di Mare at the South Reclamation Properties.
Speaking of first, Baladhay is the pioneer music festival in the Queen City of the South that forays top-rate production and technical values. Headlining the event are Spanish house and electro house DJ and producer Danny Avila, British DJ and record producer D.O.D, America EDM, DJ Makasi, and Dutch DJ and record producer duo Blasterjaxx.
Joining the stellar set of musical personalities are top Manila bands Sandwich and Pedicab which rock music resonates in timelessly. Moreover, hit band IV of Spades are paired together with homegrown Cebuano artists Victor Jao, Gino V, Budoy, Intertwined, Mandaue Nights, Sepia Times, and Route 83.
One of the most technically complex setups ever done in Cebu is a combined efforts of Cebu’s Blackstraw Productions and Manila’s Creative Control Group which deserve to get noticed to the global standard levels with its PMX Audio setting up a full-on L Acoustics K2 rig—the preferred brand and model of international artists, bands and DJs. For the lighting, the event is presenting locally available fixtures pre-mapped and programmed weeks before the event with a Chamsys MQ500 Stadium lighting controller. It is also the very first unit in the country that makes a debut in Cebu courtesy of Forerunner Technologies PH Professional.
Timely and relevant to the Sinulog festivity, this musical event is named after the adviser of Rajah Humabon. Baladhay was responsible for inventing the famous Sinulog dance of “two steps forward, one step backward” after he was healed miraculously from severe illness by the most Holy Child Jesus.
Sinulog 2020: What’s and Where’s?
by Allain Dumon Fonte
Sinulog is always the most awaited festival in the Philippines. Dating back more than 400 years old, the festivities have shown the best of Cebuano culture and heritage. The Sinulog celebration draw more than 300,000 tourists every year, both pilgrims and spectators. So, here are a few places to visit and events that should not be missed to make the best of your Sinulog experience.
MAAYO Hotel Cebu
168 Plaridel St, Mandaue City, 6014 Cebu
On the 18th of January, MAAYO Hotel Cebu will host ILLUMINATE; neon lights, great music, and an open bar will be the events’ highlights. Illuminate will be at the roofdeck pool bar of the MAAYO hotel. Live bands will be performing all throughout the night. Never miss out on their world-class sangria, a signature concoction that can only be enjoyed from the MAYO Hotel bar.
Cebu Parklane International Hotel
N. Escario St, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu
The hotel is best known for its warmth hospitality, sumptuous culinary collection, and for its love and promotion of the Cebuano culture. The Cebu Parklane International Hotel displays an exquisite collection of Santo Niño images by Madam Josie Pereyra. With some dated back from the 18th century, with over 50 relics and images are displayed at the hotel’s lobby. One of the relics include a century-old Santo Niño from the National Museum.
The hotel also has an exhibition of paintings by Cebu’s renowned artist, Ruel Rosello. While all of his paintings show Cebuano culture, practices, and traditions, the image of the holy child, the Señor Santo Niño, is the central figure in all of the art pieces. The exhibition is until the 31st of January.
Seda Ayala Center Cebu
Cardinal Rosales Ave, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu
The new Seda Hotel at the Ayala Center Cebu exhibits masterpieces of international painter, Mr. Cesar Castillo. The paintings depict the faith and devotion of the Filipinos to the Holy Child Señor Santo Niño. The hotel lobby is also accented with intricately designed Sinulog costumes by Cebu’s most sought after costume designer, Miss Malayka Yamas.
Il Corso Shopping Center
Cebu South Costal Road Properties
Cebu’s newest shopping destination has prepared an explosive event this Friday. The Sky Symphony Musical Fireworks: a grand fireworks competition will happen at the IL CORSO Mall bay area on the 17th of January 2020, at 7:00 in the evening. The grand fireworks competition will have music from Cebu’s best DJ’s and live band performances.
La Plage Pool Club
North Reclamation Area, Mandaue City
The newest lifestyle and pool club in Cebu is hosting the grandest party of the year, Hydro Cebu Music Festival. La Plage’s grand opening will kick off with the music festival on the 17th of January to the 18th of January. This is an event that should not be missed as the best DJ’s in Asia gather for this two-day music and dance party. Music lovers get ready to get wet and wild!