A Cebu City Christmas

Christmas in Cebu?
For an urban dweller that has lived most of his life in the city, celebrating the most festive season of the year in another busy city such as Cebu may not be the most likely of choices.

After all, what could you possibly do in Cebu that you couldn’t do in Manila?
Apparently, there’s a lot.

From the relics of the past to the gizmos of the future, expect to be taken back in time and jolted to the future with the multi-colored hues of Cebu.

While the Queen City of the South has always prided itself for the Sinulog Festival held every January, the island city also has a lot of destinations and attractions for tourists and locals the whole year round. Some say Cebu even has more culture and history than the whole Philippines put together, and there are a lot of old churches museums, and monuments that depict the rich story of this city.

Beyond the industrial and corporate façade of the city are some of the most beautiful underwater life in the entire Visayas region. From dive spots to pristine beaches, Cebu offers a lot of choices for those looking forward to wading in the cool blue waters of the island.

For those who want a little peace and quiet without being too detached from all the modern
necessities of Manila, Cebu also presents a most viable alternative place to celebrate the holidays.

As the economic hub of the Visayas, Cebu has some of the best malls and night spots in the region so you can shop for the best deals and enjoy the holiday parties as much as you desire.

Cebu City’s finest
Aptly representing the convergence of urban lifestyle and the relaxing ambience of the countryside, the Marco Polo Plaza hotel showcases the best of what Cebu has to offer—from its modern facilities, its diverse selection of international and local cuisine and personalized service.

Majestically situated at an altitude of 600 feet above sea level along the prestigious Nivel Hills, the hotel boasts of the most scenic views of the tropical city and has become a landmark of sorts for locals and tourists.

It is also Cebu City’s only fivew-star hotel, making it the preferred venue for major events, business conferences and social gatherings.

Just recently, the hotel again held the Soiree Beaujolais. Led by celebrity host Johnny Litton, this annual tradition has attracted the most prominent personalities in the region for a night of the finest in French cuisine, wine and cheeses. With the theme “Paris La Nuit,” the entire Grand Ballroom of the hotel was filled with people eager to have a taste of the Paris night scene and witness firsthand the spirited and rousing performance of the Can Can girls who came all the way from Paris just to perform for the show.

According to Marco Polo Plaza General Manager Johannes “Hans” Hauri, events such as the Soiree, give people more reasons not just to visit the hotel but check out the Cebu lifestyle as well.

“Every enterprise needs to find a way to keep people interested with your business. It can be in the form of advertising, an event such as the Soiree Beaujolais, or in the form of excellent food and accommodation. We at Marco Polo try to find a balance in everything so that our guests will enjoy their stay and find more reasons to come back to the city any time of the year,” he explained.

A Swiss national and seasoned hotelier, Hauri has been at the helm of the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu since it opened in 2006. After barely three years of operation, the hotel was awarded its Deluxe Class Hotel accreditation by the Department of Tourism.

Part of their strategy he said is to always look into what is shaping the current lifestyle trends. “We cannot always have the latest amenities all the time, but we want the hotel to keep up with the trend and always be at the center of events and social gatherings.”

Marco Polo, he says, is known for having the best value buffet, and has become a destination of sorts for locals celebrating special occasions.

“Through the quality and consistency of service and through the quality of food and variety we have gained the reputation as the best hotel in the city,” Hauri revealed.

To ensure the diversity of their buffet menus, Hauri said even hired a consultant—chef Jessica Avila, to regularly update their selection of local cuisine and maintain the consistent taste of their dishes.

“International hotels are usually very good in preparing international food like club sandwich, burgers, but we also wanted to showcase Filipino—particularly Cebuano cuisine as well,” he states.

Holiday celebrations
As the festive season rolls around, Marco Polo once again prepares a series of events to prove that nothing compares to staying at Cebu’s finest.

From December 16 to December 23, the hotel is preparing a holiday feast at the Café Marco, Lobby Lounge and El Viento Restaurant and Pool Bar with festive favorites such as Chinese Ham, Chicken Relleno and Prime Beef on top of its regular international buffet spread.

Then on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, families can celebrate a relaxing, sumptuous and festive Christmas affair with their special lunch and dinner buffet spreads at Café Marco.

To add to the holiday cheer, Mr. and Mrs. Santa will be going around all outlets to meet guests, while Cebu’s favorite Celestial Voices Chorale sings some classic Christmas hymns. There will also be a Christmas Eve Mass at the grand Ballroom.

Hauri says there is nothing like welcoming New Year at the Marco Polo as they have prepared another memorable night of revelry, spectacular fireworks and fabulous entertainment for everyone.

Performers such as Calvin Millado and Retrospect serenade diners at the Grand Ballroom, while the Mainstay band, Dogs and Butterfly entertains guests at the Lobby Lounge.

For those opting for an al fresco dinner buffet, the Serendipity band sets the mood at the El Viento Restaurant and Pool Bar. Want to start 2012 on top? Then head over to the hotel’s rooftop 1,000 feet high as Blu Bar & Grill gives them a perfect view of Cebu City and beyond with dazzling fireworks display.

Finally, everyone converges at the Grand Balcony for the countdown to 2012 and fireworks with the live percussions of Gruppo Tribale.

For inquiries and reservations on the Holiday Specials, call (032) 2531111 (Cebu) or (02) 887-1263 (Manila); or email [email protected] or visit www.marcopoloplazacebu.com.

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