I normally don’t want to cover events on Sundays since it’s my family day. However, if its former Vice Mayor Bernie and madame Cherry Al-ag requesting for your presence on their special Al-ag Group of Companies’ (AGC) “Sparkling Brilliantly” Thanksgiving cum Christmas Party, I found it hard to refuse the invitation to sit as judge. This super business couple owns and manages Elysia Wellness Spa (where I go to de-stress myself), CFBAT Travel Station, Metrocleaners, Car X Shop and Davao Property Experts.
Was I in for a big surprise the minute I entered the Park Inn by Radisson’s function room. The AGC’s employees were all in sparkling brilliantly formal outfits while I was just in my casual wear. I hardly recognized my favorite Elysia therapists Jet and Ann. Yes, they were shining brightly that glorious Sunday morning like I’ve never seen them before.
“We take care of our employees just like how we take care of our own family. We love, give, nurture, forgive, help, and move forward together, always remembering where we came from,” informed the brains and beauty named Cherry Banquil-Al-ag right after professing her undying love for her Dr. Bernie like she always does. One wonders why this personable woman didn’t venture into politics like her husband did. I believe she’ll be terribly good at it like in everything she does. And she can sing and dance to get those votes! Her successful businesses attest to her strong determination and industry. Best of all, it is her advocacy to help others, especially women, in earning a good living to supplement the daily needs of the family especially in these difficult times we are in.
The first AGC competition held in the morning was choosing who among the many men and women wore the best “Sparkling Brilliantly” gown and suit. The judges included the Al-ag loving couple plus myself. Before the names of the winners were announced, a delicious RBG lunch was served under the watchful eyes of Park Inn GM Em Mauhay-Rosales. It was during lunch when the other invited judges namely Hong Kong citizens George Yang, Julian Kuan, Rico Mok and media man Ace Perez came to join us. Goodness, I didn’t know that the Hong Kong hunks so loved lechon. “And yes, we also like Jollibee’s Chicken Joy,” quipped George Yang.
After lunch, it was time for AGC’s Got Talent! Opening the show were Dr. Bernie and madam Cherry who changed into fatigue colored costumes to perform a dance number. “This is our own way of expressing our gratitude to our employees. This is also a good avenue for talents to be showcased that’s why we have special numbers and presentations for competitions from the representatives of each company,” said Cherry. It was a good thing there was no red button to press or a gong to be sounded.
Just as Cherry was to announce the winners of the best in “Sparkling Brilliantly” outfits, a strong earthquake of magnitude 6.9 shook the venue sending the guests to crouch low near their assigned tables. It didn’t take long for all the guests to be led outside in the designated safe area of the hotel in an orderly manner by GM Em Mauhay-Rosales and her team. Oh yes, the hotel’s alarm was on while we were being evacuated. Indeed, how fast the guests from Hong Kong disappeared from the judges’ table where we were seated earlier. I think Cherry and I were the last ones to leave the function room. Mind you, but the earthquake struck twice that afternoon.
By the end of the afternoon, Dr. Bernie and Cherry announced the winners of the competitions and the winners of raffle prizes while waiting outside the hotel. And it was drizzling.
Indeed, AGC’s Christmas Party will long be remembered. It was the first event I was invited to judge in that an upsetting earthquake occurred. That earthquake surely reminded us all how lucky we are to be alive and kicking to be able to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones.
Wishing you all a truly Merry Christmas with lots of hope for a better New Year to come.