AS early as the first week of November, Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies sent hotels, malls, and other favorite destinations in Metro Manila into a cheerful frenzy, signaling the grand countdown to Christmas.
As always, The Manila Times made the rounds of these Yuletide festivities to help prepare our readers to make plans for the most wonderful time of the year.
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Magic is everywhere at Resorts World Manila
Resorts World Manila, officially kicked off its holiday celebration with “Grand Fiesta Manila 2016: The Magic is Everywhere.” This five-week festivity started with a ceremonial tree-lighting event at The Plaza in Newport Mall led by RWM Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly, Megaworld Corporation Senior Vice President Kevin Tan, and the cast of the hit musical Annie.
Ongoing until January 1, 2017, RWM will showcase the best of Filipino culture and world-class entertainment from all over the world with entertainment productions, global cuisines, and family events.
The string of special events includes soft rock hall-of-famers Air Supply on December 8; hit children’s television show Hi-5 Fairy Tale of Australia from December 16 to 18; and RWM’s ongoing theater production Annie that will run until December 4. Capping the celebration is the Grand Countdown on December 31, 2016 with Lea Salonga, Bamboo and Jon Santos. For more details, visit www.rwmanila.com
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Fun with fairies at Marriott Hotel Manila
With the wave of a magic wand, Marian Rivera-Dantes set the 26-foot Christmas tree adorned with fairy alight at the lobby of Marriott Hotel Manila. With her was hotel General Manager Bruce Winton and host Tessa Prieto-Valdez.
As Christmas is a time for giving, also present during the celebration were students and administrators of the Philippine School for the Deaf, Marriott Hotel Manila’s beneficiary for its yuletide fund raising. This year, hotel hopes to jumpstart the construction of additional dormitories to accommodate more indigent students at PSD.
Guests and contribute with every purchase of Rio, the Unicorn, a limited edition stuffed toy available at the life-sized gingerbread train at the hotel lobby. For details visit www.manilamarriott.com.
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Christmas carols at The Manila Hotel
“As the true heart of the Philippines, we will continue to bear witness to the festive tale of your own by creating memories that will last many Christmases after,” was the promise of Enrique Yap Jr., executive vice president of The Manila Hotel during the property’s holiday launch.
More than 200 friends of the hotel from leading corporations as well as media partners witnessed the traditional Grand Lobby Lighting and unveiling of the 2016 Children’s Christmas Village on November 11. A toast was offered by Joey Lina, president of The Manila Hotel and Nian Liwanag-Rigor, assistant vice president for PR and Corporate Communications, together with Miss World Philippines and Miss Manila Hotel Catriona Gray, DOT Undersecretary Falconi Millar and DOT Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre.
This year, The Manila Hotel designed a bigger and better Christmas Village. Wander at Parsons Street once again and go see new shops. Watch your all-time favorite Christmas movies and enjoy a bag of popcorn at the Grand View Cinema. Then, visit the Holiday Kitchen for sumptuous meals and the Candy Land and Cookie Corner for those sweet Christmas treats. Lastly, pay a visit to Trinkets and Toy Emporium for unique novelty items. Entrance to the Christmas Village is free for everyone. For details visit www.manila-hotel.com.ph/
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Whimsical Christmas at Diamond Hotel
CHRISTMAS came early for Diamond Hotel Philippines during the lighting of its spectacular 25-feet tall Christmas tree. The hotel was turned into a whimsical Candyland adorning the tree and the hotel lobby with candy canes, peppermint candies in swirls of green and red, colorful ice cream, and giant cupcakes ornaments.
Among the distinguished guests who graced the annual tree lighting were Ambassador Julio Camarena Villaseñor of the Embassy of Mexico; Deputy Chief Minister Michael Klecheski of US Embassy; newly-crowned Miss Earth 2016 Katherine Espin with Misses Earth Air, Water and Fire; Zonta Club of Makati-Ayala President Rita Dy and Zonta Club Area 5 Vice Director Baby Doble; Children’s Hour Executive Director Geenette Garcia; together with Diamond Hotel Philippines’ Carmela Ang; and General Manager Vanessa Ledesma-Suatengco.
The hotel also formally began its tradition of giving hope to the children of Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (Centex) of Children’s Hour Organization for their scholarship programs. Guests can now donate to the foundation by purchasing holiday ornaments for only P200 to decorate the Christmas Tree at the lobby. The names of the donors will be placed with the ornaments as a special way of thanking them for their act of kindness. In addition to the charity drive for education, a percentage of the sales from the Lobby Goodie Shop will go to the beneficiaries of Cameleon Association for the rehabilitation of abused and disadvantaged children, which is a project in partnership with Zonta Club of Makati Ayala (ZCMA). For details, visit www.diamondhotel.com.
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Tree of art at Conrad Manila
“CELESTE YULE” by noted visual artist Impy Pilapil now stands exquisitely at Conrad Manila’s main lobby. The 12-foot sculpture of high grade steel and glass orbs allows interaction with the viewer via image reflection and movement, in keeping with Conrad Manila’s thrust of promoting Filipino art and artists.
The tree was officially switched on by SM Foundation’s Felicidad Sy; SM Hotels and Conventions President Elizabeth Sy and SM Prime President Hans Sy, with Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary Ma. Lourdes Japson, Austrian Ambassador Josef Mullner, Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto, SM Hotels EVP Peggy Angeles and General Manager Harald Feurstein.
The world-renowned Vienna Boys Choir and the internationally-awarded Hail Mary the Queen Choir regaled the crowd with Christmas songs while a limited special edition coffee table book, Art of Conrad Manila, was also launched on the same day. For details, visit conradhotels3.hilton.com.
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Festivities at Discovery Suites
DISCOVERY Suites Manila marked the start of Christmas with a star-filled tree lighting event. “Inspired by the theme ‘A Starry Christmas,’ our aim is to ignite a spark of happiness and hopefully encourage our guests to spread the Yuletide cheer everywhere they go,” said Leeds Trompeta, general manager of Discovery Suites.
The highlight of the gathering was the launch of Waves for Water, an international organization that aims to provide clean, potable water for everyone, serving as Discovery Suites’ new corporate social responsibility. “In more ways than one, Christmas serves as a reminder for all of us to shed light on the lives of others, especially those who need it the most,” shared Trompeta. The partnership was sealed with a water toast among Discovery Suites’ top management and Waves for Water representatives Carlo Delantar, Philippines’ country director and Jenica Dizon, Philippines’ Director of Affairs.
Endless merrymaking continues with several festive offers at 22 Prime from December 16 to January 1, 2017. For more details, visit www.discoverysuites.com.
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Christmas begins at Century Park Hotel
THE Century Park Hotel has officially unveiled its 35-feet-tall Christmas tree that proudly towers the center of hotel’s Atrium Lounge.
The grand event, which was graced by hotel owner Lucio Tan and his family and friends, set off the property’s Christmas countdown. Along with the Tan family, Miss Earth Philippines Loren Mar Artajos led the lighting ceremony.
“The Christmas tree symbolizes the bright colors of Christmas. This year, rich red color dominates our Christmas tree as it represents this year’s theme, ‘A Ruby Christmas,’ which is a continuation of the hotel’s celebration of its 40th year in the hotel industry,” Anthony Tan, general manager of Century Park Hotel, said. For details, visit www.centurypark.com.
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Merrier moments at Century City Mall
THIS year is about making fun and merrier moments at Century City Mall. From the sprightly lights and festive decors to amazing shopping deals and wonderful activities, all these are geared towards making it a truly memorable holiday season for you.
To usher in the festive season, Century City Mall lit up its Christmas Tree at the mall’s Events Center on November 17. It was an evening of celebration and thanksgiving for friends and guests who have always been patrons of Century City Mall.
Winter White is this year’s motif and the entire mall is decorated in cheerful lights and fabulous décor with the Christmas Polar Express Station as the main showcase at the lobby. On December 17 and 18, customers will enjoy remarkable shopping deals as the Shopaholic Weekend Promo is back for its third straight year. For details, visit www.centurycitymall.com.ph/deals
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The Bellevue Hotels & Resorts welcome the holidays
THE Bellevue Hotels & Resorts (BH&R) kicked off the Yuletide season with its Christmas tree lighting ceremony across its four properties. Bellevue Manila Managing Director Patrick Chan with wife Denice, and sons Gab and Raphael led the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Bellevue Manila, the premier five-star hotel in the Southern Metro, while B Hotels Managing Director Ryan Chan led a gift-giving activity for the children of SOS Children’s Villages Philippines at B Hotel Alabang.
Meanwhile, the Loboc Children’s Choir serenaded guests during the Paskong Pinoy-themed Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony of The Bellevue Resort Bohol. On the other hand, B Hotel Quezon City team had their industrial-themed Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. For details, visit www.thebellevue.com.
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Holiday wonderland at Crimson Hotel
THE South shines bright this festive season as Crimson Hotel Filinvest City, Manila showcases merrymaking treats for the family, from sumptuous holiday fares to Christmas wonderland attractions, luxurious accommodations, and extravagant New Year countdown parties.
Frolic and play the Eskimo way at Crimson Wonderland, showcasing a giant and bright Christmas tree, a 40-ft. long Christmas village, Nutcracker art pieces plus four life-size gingerbread houses featuring premium gift items For details, visit crimsonhotel.com/manila.
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Gift giving at Sofitel Philippine Plaza
SOFITEL Philippine Plaza Manila officially marked the start of the festive season with the lighting of a 30-foot Christmas tree, and the turn-over of a P750,000 cheque to the Virlanie Foundation represented by the founder Dominique Lemay by General Manager Adam Laker. The fund was raised at the Sofitel Manila Half Marathon 2016.
The Virlanie Choir serenaded guests with Christmas carols that added to the joyous Christmas spirit with the backdrop of lights reminiscent of Champs-Elysees, Paris and the Marches de Noel (Christmas market).
In line with Sofitel Philippine Plaza’s advocacy of creating a brighter future for the less privileged children of Manila, the hotel has been a supporter of the Virlanie Foundation since 2007. The foundation is a non-government organization (NGO) that supports the street children of Manila.
Through the years, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila has launched several projects to help raise funds for the foundation’s benevolent activities such as teach to Reach and Adopt a Child program. The biggest project implemented this year was the Sofitel Manila Half Marathon which has been held since 2014 for the benefit of the children of Virlanie Foundation. For details, visit www.sofitelmanila.com.
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Christmas angels at Ascott Makati
Ascott Makati gathered Christmas angels at the grand lighting of their Christmas tree and official holiday launch. Besides enjoying the yuletide season at the property, guests can also share their blessings with the children of Gawad Kalinga by purchasing angel decors at P100 to hang on the tree.
Ascott Makati General Manager Arthur Gindap led the Christmas Tree lighting with Gawad Kalinga Founder Tony Meloto and children from Gawad Kalinga. For details, visit www.theascott.com/philippines/manila/ascott_makati.
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40 years of Christmas at The Peninsula Manila
The Peninsula Manila roused the Christmas spirit on November 10 when the children from Make-A-Wish Foundation Philippines lit up the 45-foot-tall Christmas tree at The Lobby. From little children marveling at the gigantic tree festooned with thousands of lights, dear old Santa welcoming guests in his red velvet suit, to a 20-string children’s orchestra playing festive music, The Peninsula Manila became a holiday greeting card brought to life.
To celebrate its 40th Christmas, the hotel has embarked on a series of festive fêtes, which will culminate with Oscar’s Night-themed New Year’s Eve Gala Ball and Dinner on December 31. For details, visit www.peninsula.com.
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BALLET Manila opened the Sparkles of Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony of Makati Shangri-La on November 24. Hosted by Christine Jacobs-Sandejas, the glittering night was led by General Manager Alain Borgers and Makati City Mayor Abby Binay, together with Mikaela Lagdameo-Martinez and family.
Christmas is a time of joy. Visit Makati Shangri-La and surround yourselves in the joyful sights of Christmas’ glitter and shimmer. Discover the silver castle adorned with touches of crystal and classic pieces, sparkling trees ad glowing chandeliers. We have illuminated the entire hotel lobby in grandeur and elegance in anticipation of the brightest season, said Patricia Javier, Director of Communications for Makati Shangri-La.
For details, visit www.shangri-la.com.
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Makati’s Festival of Lights
On November 15, Makati once again welcomed the most wonderful season of the year with Ayala Triangle Gardens’ Festival of Lights, the signature lights and sound show that has beguiled thousands of Filipinos each yuletide season.
Ayala Land, together with its co-presenter HSBC and partners MasterCard, Coca Cola, Sun Life and Oishi, presents this year’s much-anticipated Festival of Lights with three themes—Christmas Fiesta, Classic and Epic Christmas, and Sweet and Magical Christmas. The show goes on nightly every 30 minutes. Bringing the Festival of Lights to a whole new level for six years now are award-winning directors Voltaire de Jesus and Luther Gumia, with musical score expertly arranged by acclaimed musicians and composers Jazz Nicholas and Mikey Amistoso of Watusi Manila.
The Festival of Lights is the centerpiece of Ayala Land’s two-month-long Christmas spectacle that aims to bring holiday cheer to everyone. It runs daily until January 8, 2017.
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Experience the delights of December at Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila
TO herald the beginning of the festive season, Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila held its Christmas Tree lighting ceremony highlighting Filipino culture and tradition on November 24, 2016. Highly esteemed guests, well-known personalities graced the event. The event also ushered in the hotel Christmas Bazaar featuring mouthwater-ing Chrismas delicacies.
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Araneta Center lights up QC skies
THE Araneta Center observed the traditional lighting of its 100-foot Christmas tree at the Gateway Food Park, beside the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The ceremonial tree lighting was led by It’s Showtime host Vice Ganda along with Araneta Vice Chairman Judy Roxas, and other executives of the decades-old development. The beautiful Binibining Pilipinas 2016 winners graced the occasion, led by Miss Grand International 1st Runner-Up Nicole Cordoves.
Making the event more meaningful this year, the Araneta Center invited street children under the He Cares Mission to experience the momentous tree lighting and get a chance to see their favorite stars up close.