MANILA, February 17, 2004 (STAR) C‘EST CEBU By Honey Jarque Loop - The Cebu Waterfront Hotel, the venue of choice for the city’s most important gatherings, together with its most valued guests and supportive friends celebrated once again the Chinese New Year.

The event started with the reopening of the new business center, complete with five flat-screen computers, high-speed Internet service and two boardrooms that are equipped with video and teleconferencing facilities, with Belgian honorary consul Enrique Benedicto, lifestyle editor Nelia Neri, and Cebu Chamber of Commerce president Carlos Co cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

Cocktails were served and the invitees were ushered to the popular Café Uno for a delectable buffet dinner.

By 9 p.m., everyone gathered at the lobby lounge to see, watch and enjoy the entertaining succession of performances, which included – but not before the traditional dotting of the lion’s eyes by Cebu City first lady Margot Osmeńa and the property’s general manager Marco Protacio – the enchanting lotus dance by the Samantabhadra Institute Dance Club and a serene rendition of the Li style tai chi fan, a soft-style martial arts that originated from the Wu Tang Monastery, as performed by creative designer Oj Hofer, who truly mesmerized the audience.

The highlight of the celebration was the spectacular never-seen-before eight-minute computer synchronized fireworks display at the Lagoon Garden by Cebu-based Celebration Fireworks Factory. The ceremonial lighting was officiated by Margot Osmeńa, Tourism regional director Dawnie Roa, the hotel’s president Patrick Gregorio and corporate director for sales and marketing Joey Bernardino.

Unlike most establishments, The Cebu Marriott Hotel, the property that dares to be different in the most positive manner, celebrated New Year’s Day with the eye-dotting ritual, led by ingenious general manager Karl Hudson assisted by Cebu Holdings president Rene Almendras, Rotary Club of Cebu president Tony Lozada and Nelson Purisima, the property’s finance director.

The multi-colored lions danced their way around the main entrance, then headed to the different areas of the hotel, from the lobby to the ballroom and the various offices.

Authentic dim sum brunch at the Palm Lounge served with hot tea and cool, refreshing sodas awaited the frequent hotel clientele and guests.

While several celebrated the ushering of the Year of the Wooden Monkey in grand splendor, a few opted to mark the occasion in a simple yet meaningful way, such as Smart Communications and Café Adriatico. Jane Paredes, Smart public affairs manager for the Visayas and Mindanao, hosted a dinner for media friends at the popular Laguna Garden Café at the Ayala Center, while multi-awardee businessman Jay Aldeguer tendered a fun merienda cena at the Crossroads. Lots of prizes were raffled off with just about every guest bringing home a brand-new state-of-the-art appliance.

With the celebrations and festivals over, our sincere wishes for a blessed year filled with good fortune, good health and good cheer.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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