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Cultural Potpourri | Marco Polo Davao Greets “Gong Xi Fa Cai!”

Francis Ledesma, Juanito and Grace Yap family, Tanya Rabat-Tan, Mee Hai Cho, Michael E. Dakudao, Kikok Chiew

Ushering the Year of the Metal Rat was done in style featuring a special Chinese New Year’s Eve celebration at the Marco Polo Davao last Januar

This story appeared on Page 13 of the January 28, 2020 issue of Mindanao Times. Click on the photo to download a copy.

y 24, 2020. Entering the hotel grounds was not that easy with the long queue of cars waiting to be inspected by the hotel’s security personnel.

But the long wait didn’t dampen at all the excitement and happy spirit of the hotel’s guests, both Pinoys and Chinoys, who came to celebrate the start of a new cycle of animal years in the Chinese calendar.

Guests watch the traditional Lion/Dragon Dance

After all, it is a most awaited time of hope and fresh start for Mindanaoans after experiencing the unfortunate natural and man-made disasters we encountered in the past year.

“This Chinese New Year’s Eve Celebration holds a lot of meaning for Marco Polo Davao for we are also celebrating our 22nd year of existence as the first and only premier hotel in Mindanao. We are very pleased to see our beloved friends and guests from the Filipino-Chinese community here in the city as they have supported us from the very beginning,” said Halifax Davao Hotel Inc. President and Marco Polo Davao owner representative Francis Ledesma. Greatly missed during the happy occasion were Marco Polo Davao General Manager Colin Owen Healy and Sales and Marketing Director Pearl Peralta-Maclang.

New costumes for members of the Davao Lion Dance Association

Guests of all ages in happy red attires led by businessman James Chiew Lee filled the hotel’s entrance lobby to witness the hotel’s traditional practice of dotting the eye of the dragon. The tall, bright and pretty DOT Regional Director Tanya Rabat-Tan together with Marco Polo Davao’s highly valued client businessman Juanito Yap, and President Francis Ledesma huddled together to paint the eye of the dragon. That act signified the start of the celebration with the agile members of the Davao Lion Dance Association performing the most anticipated traditional Dragon and Lion Dance. Mind you, but this time, the members of the Davao Lion Dance Association were using new and colorful dragon and lion costumes with built in lights as they entertained the guests in true Chinese fashion as they danced their way through the key areas of the hotel as they usually do annually.

Juanito Yap draws the eye of the lion

As the Lotus Court was reserved for the annual celebration of the Chinese New Year by businessman James Chiew Lee and his guests which included music maestro Bong Aviola’s Himig Singers for entertainment no less, the Cafe Marco graciously accommodated the other hotel guests. At Cafe Marco, one truly enjoyed feasting on the international cuisine specially prepared by Exec. Chef Alex Destriza who is ever ready ready with his friendly smile to greet the happy diners. I was happy to be seated beside the Ilonggo speaking President Francis Ledesma who regaled me with his stories on his travels to Portugal (where his sister Genette Ledesma-Lon stays with her daughter) to South Africa (where the Davaoeno Philippine Ambassador Joey Angeles is assigned). Yes, I do hope to visit these countries one of these days as well.

Marco Polo Davao staff welcomes DOT Reg’l. Dir. Tanya Rabat-Tan

I truly wish a lot of good things will happen this year in our country led by our Davaoeño President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. I pray for world peace and stability, best of all.

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