A welcome break in Cebu
TIN TALK - Tintin Bersola-Babao (The Philippine Star) - May 14, 2014 - 12:00am

“When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream

Relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam

Oh the sky would be blue, and you guys’ll be there too

When I finally do what frozen things do in summerrrrrrr!” 

—Olaf in the song, In Summer, from Frozen


Don’t we all look forward to summer? Time for family bonding, new adventures and new places to see, and for our children, new opportunities to learn and hone their talents via summer workshops , swim lessons, sports camps, etc. The possibilities are endless.

My children, aged nine and four,  are enrolled in musical theater and swim classes at the Bert Lozada Swim School. But during the Holy Week, we all took a break and flew to Cebu. It was our first time to stay at Movenpick Hotel. It was an amazing experience from the moment we stepped into the lobby, being welcomed by the hotel’s warm and friendly staff, complete with seashell leis and welcome drinks, to being escorted to our room — no make that the Ibiza Loft, the newest three-bedroom suite of the hotel, furnished with jacuzzi, and did I mention its 180-degree breathtaking panoramic view? Wow! And I haven’t talked about the beach yet. It’s child-friendly since there are no big waves rolling in and out of the shore. My kids enjoyed building sandcastles with the fine yellow sand and feeding the fish. The swimming pool is a star by itself, especially at night when it is lit with a royal blue hue. Of course, what’s a stay at Movenpick Hotel without indulging in Movenpick ice cream? The Caramelita flavor is to die for!

The highlight of our stay was meeting the man himself — the Manny O — owner of Movenpick Cebu and famous wine maker. He toured us in his wine cellar and showed us his astounding wine collection — vintage and young ones. His award-winning wines, The Manny O. Sumiller and Agapitos, being my favorites.  Listening to him talk about his love for wine with such pulsating passion — it was as if we were already tasting the wine itself with the way he described each wine bottle’s rich history or appellation, a term I learned much about that night.

Our crash course in wine collecting was heightened by the actual wine drinking itself. The dinner he hosted for our group was unforgettable — Balearic Cuisine composed of 14  kinds of grilled meat and fish and grilled pineapple, complemented with the right kind of wine — Manny O wines, of course. Another highlight of our dinner was when Manny O opened a bottle of a 1970 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou vintage wine in honor of my birth year. Oh wow, the wine was good! I’m not very good at describing the character of wine — but let me put it this way, it’s got that earthy taste. It wasn’t acidic. It wasn’t an in-your-face kind of strong wine.  It was well-behaved. Sophisticated.  Thank you, Manny. I feel honored that you opened that 1970 vintage wine for me. 

Manny O couldn’t have said it better: “Wine is aromatherapy to the mouth and to the soul… sophistication not intoxication.” 

There are people you simply meet, and there are people you meet who simply make a difference.

And that is how I describe meeting Manny O — who I call The Einstein of Wine — with his life so inspiring and with his genius sense of business that’s worth emulating.

It was the first time for my mom-in-law, Cena Babao, and my son Nio to visit Cebu. On Good Friday, we went to the Basilica del Santo Niño Cebu and the Historical Shrine of Magellan’s Cross.

Special thanks to our good friend Carissa Villacorta, who has been inviting us quite a few times to visit Cebu and experience Movenpick Hotel. I’m glad that the perfect time came to revisit Cebu and to spend Holy Week with plenty of good rest, relaxation and reflection.

My husband Julius also has his yearly panata, wherein every Good Friday he would paint or sketch the face of Jesus. Sharing with you the photos of his sketches this year, including his sketch of Saint Pio, which he did upon the request of our son Antonio Francesco (I asked for the intercession of Padre Pio in 2009 and our son was the answered prayer). Incidentally, Padre Pio’s birth anniversary is on May 25.

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