Not all is calm, but it’s still Christmas

Published November 16, 2020, 8:41 AM

by AA Patawaran

As five hotels across the Philippines join forces to light the tree of hope, good tidings they bring to the community

SHERATON MANILA’s Director of sales Ferdie de Leon III, GM Anna Vergara, assistant director of finance Ria Magat, director of operations Brendan Mahoney, assistant director of human resources Alfie Sotto, and chief engineer Zaldy Padua

Silent night, holy night, but not all is calm and not all is bright and it’s a little hard to sleep in heavenly peace, not in a global pandemic.

But this is exactly why the lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Manila Marriott is a thousand fold more meaningfully special. Sorry to have to keep borrowing from spirit-lifting songs, but it is better to light one Christmas tree in a year like this, as dark as the night the Christ was born, than to wallow in the darkness and cancel all hope.

SPECIAL GUEST Manila Mayor Isko Domagoso joined the festivities at Sheraton Manila Bay

The Christmas tree lighting at the Marriott Manila, however, is five times as special because it’s not just one tree , but five Christmas trees-in-one, representing four other hotels across the Philippines, Clark Marriott, Sheraton Manila, Sheraton Manila Bay, and Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo.  Public gatherings are still on hold, so only a few of us were there in person, Tessa Prieto Valdes, Pepper Teehankee, Agile Zamora, Mayenne Carmona, myself, among the very few to join the Manila Marriott GM Bruce Winton, we were with so many others, who joined the FB Live party hosted by KC Montero, in which the executives of each of the five hotel properties shared glad tidings by way of exclusive offers for the holidays, such as Christmas hampers, festive treats, feast packages, and dining and staycation promos.Santa was there, too, to complete the fun, giving away staycation vouchers to lucky participants, who joined the fete online!

JEEPNEY YOU CAN EAT This gingerbread jeepney took more than half a month to make at the Manila Marriott

It is better to light one Christmas tree in a year like this, as dark as the night the Christ was born, than to wallow in the darkness and cancel all hope.

IN-PERSON GUESTS AT MANILA MARRIOTT AA Patawaran, cluster director of marketing communications Michelle Garcia, Tessa Prieto-Valdes, and Pepper Teehankee

But ho ho ho, more than the tinsel and the jingles, more than the holly and the ivy, more than the (online) parties and other festivities, what the five hotels are coming together for is to get the season of hope started not only to spread cheer but to spread caring, giving back to the community, the most precious gift of all. Manila Marriott, Sheraton Manila, and Clark Marriott, as they have before, have partnered once again with Save the Children Philippines. Also just launched at the Manila Marriott, Sheraton Manila, and Courtyard Iloilo is the Charity Hamper, a Noche Buena dinner hotel guests can offer one child and his or her kin from Save the Children Philippines. It’s quite a treat, each hamper brimming with Biscocho dipped in Iloilo’s tablea tsokolate from Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo, a Hablon face mask crafted by Ilonggo fashion designer Jeff Ticao, pickled onions and cabbage kimchi from Sheraton Manila’s Korean restaurant Oori, and candied walnuts from Manila Marriott’s Chinese Restaurant Man Ho. All it takes is P1,500nettto gift one child and his or her family with a Christmas celebration to remember with the family. Call +63.917.859.9521 or +63.917.624.5980 if you want to make this possible for at least one child this season.

MASKED BALL Mayenne Carmona and Agile Zamora

Sheraton Manila Bay has also extended support to Barangay 699 through a community pantry and Cards of Care with proceeds that will go to the children of Aurora Quezon Elementary School and educational materials for children of Barangay 699.To add to the long list of charitable activities, Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo has partnered with SOS Children’s Village Iloilo this year to encourage everyone to come and donate children’s books, clothes, art materials, and toys for the children.

Check out the websites and social media feeds of each of the five hotels to find out how you can help make this Christmas the most wonderful time of the year, despite the pandemic.