After news blew up about a certain hotel brand closing its doors last year, Cebuanos were left stunned—understandably so, considering that it had been serving Cebu for twenty years, helping it turn into a global business center.
And while many were wondering what was going to happen next, it was a pleasant surprise to learn that Ayala Land Inc.’s homegrown hotel brand, Seda, would be taking the reigns.
After seven months of refurbishment, Seda has opened its flagship property in the Visayas, the 301-room Seda Ayala Center Cebu at the heart of the Queen City’s dynamic financial district.
It’s the 8th Seda property of Ayala Hotels and Resorts Corp. (AHRC), and is the only hotel within the Cebu Business Park, the preferred location of multinational and international firms. Seda Ayala Center Cebu will target travelers doing business, as well as guests on leisure trips.
Even before it officially opened on August 19, the hotel—with quick access to the myriad restaurants and stores of the Ayala Center Cebu—was already receiving requests to reserve guest and function rooms up to early 2019, according to Frances Alfafara, director of sales and marketing.
Residents of the second largest city of the Philippines look forward to experiencing first-hand Seda’s brand of Filipino hospitality aligned with global standards and the warm contemporary interiors associated with the chain which is present in seven other key locations nationwide.
“When Seda entered the industry in 2012, the homegrown Filipino brand prioritized establishing properties in locations that lacked or needed modern hotel facilities such as Bonifacio Global City, Cagayan de Oro and Davao,” Seda senior group general manager Andrea Mastellone explains. Next in line were Nuvali in Laguna, Iloilo, Quezon City, and most recently, Bacolod.
“We felt Seda was ready to compete with all the other established hospitality brands in Metro Cebu,” Mastellone continues, based on the brand’s success in all the destinations where it is present.
Seda Ayala Center Cebu’s guest rooms, function rooms and amenities are all newly-refurbished, drawing from the plans of architect and interior designer Conrad Onglao. The guest rooms underwent a dramatic makeover and now offer a modern, minimalist layout in soothing earth colors supported by modern conveniences. The function and meeting rooms have also been updated and sport a lighter and brighter look with contemporary finishes and design accents.
But the lobby, which now exhibits Seda’s signature open layout, reflects the most striking change. Seating has been expanded and the reception area now flows seamlessly into the bank of iMacs for the free use of guests at the e-lounge and onto the all-day dining facility Misto.
Guests have always found the hotel convenient, a springboard to Ayala Center Cebu and all its entertainment and retail options, as well as to the key offices of multinational and international firms within walking distance.
Like all other Seda properties, Seda Ayala Center Cebu is expected to have many repeat guests. Mastellone points out that high repeat business is primarily the result of delightful service from the hotel’s front-liners.
“The team of Seda ACC is determined to become market leader and eager to provide the best ‘Filipino Hospitality’ to each traveler walking through our doors. Whichever way you look at it, excellent service and superior location represent great value, the key benefit of every Seda hotel. We have no doubt that Seda Ayala Center Cebu will also be known for the same, as well as the seamless experience it offers to its guests.”
Cebuano Pride: The National Museum of Cebu
Pride of Cebu
By Eva Gullas
photos courtesy of DOT
The Uncommon Traditions that Mexicans and Filipinos share when celebrating the Day of the Dead.
Dia de los Muertos
By Allain Dumon Fonte
The 2nd of November is All Soul’s Day, a holiday that is very important to many Filipinos to remember our loved ones who passed on. This is also widely celebrated in Mexico as “Dia De los Muertos” or in English, “The Day of the Dead”. And Mexicans celebrate the 2nd of November grander than they celebrate Christmas. Well, you can witness it from the Disney movie, “Coco”.
As All Soul’s Day or Dia de los Muertos is about to end, here are some interesting traditions and superstitions that Filipinos and Mexicans share:
1. IT IS NOT ON THE 31st OF OCTOBER
Dia de los Muertos or All Soul’s Day is not practiced on October 31st or on the Hallow’s Eve as many other western cultures practice; but we celebrate it on the 2nd of November. We celebrate November 1st as All Saint’s Day or the Day of the Holy, while in Mexico they call it Dia de los Innocentes or Dia de los Angelitos to commemorate the children who died too early in life.
2. THE RITUAL
Both in Mexico and in the Philippines, we visit the grave of our loved ones and we clean it well. This is a ritual to honour their resting places and to let them know that they are never forgotten.
3. FLOWERS INVITE SPIRITS
In Mexico, they believe that the scent of flowers attract spirits. So the flower offerings are invitation to their dead loved ones to visit the living families. While in the Philippines, we believe that flowers offered to the dead exalt the souls and somehow fill in the sadness that we feel when missing our dead loved ones.
Most of the time, Filipinos choose all-white flowers to offer because white is the absence of colour, which means the absence of Joy and happiness. White also symbolises purity of soul which we hope our dead loved ones will attain as they journey to heaven. While in Mexico, they have the yellow Mexican marigolds as the official flowers of the dead that will guide them in their journey to the afterlife.
4. THE LEGEND OF THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES
Both cultures believe that monarch butterflies are dead loved ones who visit us and show their appreciation that we have not forgotten them. A presence of monarch butterflies also means that our dead loved ones are always there guiding us and looking after us.
5. A PICNIC IN THE GRAVEYARD
Spending a night at the graveyard and picnicking with the rest of the family may sound very creepy to many; but to both Filipino and Mexican cultures, picnicking and spending a night at the cemetery is a must to show our love to our dearly departed. It is the only time in the year that families gather and tell stories of the dead loved ones and how colourful or how great their lives were.
6. FOOD FOR THE DEAD
In Mexico, they have what they call “ofrendas” or an altar where the pictures of their dead loved ones are displayed and offered with flowers, candles, and their favourite food. Very similar to the Filipino culture of cooking the favourite food of our dead loved ones and everyone in the family enjoys the food for dinner.
My family tradition involves me driving all the way to Colon street and buy that famous Snow Sheen’s “pancit canton”. This is my granddad’s favourite snack. Sadly, the old Visayan Restaurant is no longer there. My late uncle and my late grandpa love their sweet ad and sour fish. We also set up an “ofrenda” on their graveyard and eat their favourite food while picnicking in the cemetery. We do not spend a night in the cemetery; but while we are picnicking there, we usually play the songs of Pilita Corrales and Susan Fuentes that my late grandpa used to listen every afternoon while enjoying his coffee, pan de sal, and pancit canton.
What about your family traditions? Share your thoughts by commenting to this article.
MODEL: Michael Joseph Mortola Enriquez & Alexis Wingfield
PHOTOGRAPHER: Gianne Paolo Anciano
HMUA/DESIGNER: Hazel Ocaba
STYLING: GPA Lifestyle + Clothing
Catch Ted Lasso the Emmy Award Winning Comedy Series on Apple TV+
Rating: *****/ *****
The multi award–winning comedy series airing on Apple TV+ is one of my favorite shows. Ted Lasso starring Jason Sudeikis is about a fun good-natured American football coached hired by a British soccer club (AFC Richmond in London) to become their new coach. In spite of the fact that Ted has no experience or knowledge about British football/soccer, his positive demeanor and charm helps him overcome the animosity of the team’s players, staff and fans. Eventually Ted wins over the team and the locals as they fight for position in the English Premier League.
The show won the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and 7 Emmy Awards in its 2 seasons and Season 3 is just around the corner. You can catch Seasons 1 & 2 of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+