Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

An Appreciation Party

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  It is an annual event for two sister hotels, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino and Waterfront Airport Hotel & Casino to host a joint Top Accounts Appreciation Party for the continuous patronage of their valued clients. Waterfront Cebu City GM Anders Halden and Waterfront Airport GM Rex Benhur Caballes personally welcomed those companies’ officers and representatives, guests and friends to the party.


Theme for this affair was Cuba, and guests were advised to wear Havana-inspired attire. When I read the word “Cuba,” I recalled an incident in 1962, the Cuban Missile Crises, when everyone at home were so very afraid about the possibility of global nuclear war. Russians were transporting nuclear missiles to Cuba and the US established a naval blockade. It was the biggest Russian roulette ever!

Back to the Waterfront party, there were four welcome drinks: Cuba Libre, Tropical Duo, Sandia Spritz and House Red and White Wines. The drink was called Cuba Libre because it became popular as Cuba got its independence after the Spanish-American War. It’s a cocktail made with cola (Coca-Cola), rum (Bacardi) and lime juice on ice, though many versions exist. This was my preferred drink way back in the ‘60s because it was cheap... no, inexpensive! Watermelon is the main ingredient of Sandia Spritz, with honey, bitters, lime juice, etc.

Dinner was held at the Pacific Grand Ballroom and I had to come early to get these food photos. Ambiance of the ballroom was a tropical setting and it felt like I was viewing a scene from the set of the movie, “The God Father - Part II.” Cuban cuisine was served in this buffet dinner, something that I honestly know very little about.

Appetizers were Empanadas with Spinach, Chicken and Beef Picadillo (ground beef & tomato sauce). Croquetas were also served with fillings of potato, cheese, ham and leek. There were greens for salad, but I tried the Garbanzo Y Chorizo Salad.

Soup was the Tomato and Red Pepper Bisque. Paella Seafood, Pasta con Camarones y Bacardi and Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken) were the source of carbohydrates. I think this was my first time to eat pasta with rum. My palate was working very hard to dissect the nuances of these various dishes and I had no reference points for comparison.

Main dishes were Quimbombo (Stewed Okra in Tomato Sauce), Penril (Slow Roasted Pork served with Beans and Maduros or saba banana) and Grilled Spanish Mackerel with Mango Salsa. Okra was something new to my palate since it had been years since I’d seen okra served as a main dish at a restaurant. It was a birthday party and the food was Cajun (Cajun Shrimp and Okra Gumbo). That restaurant later closed, excuse me, because the owner/manager began fighting with his customers and one was even about to shoot him.

Companies were given awards for the Top Corporate Accounts or Travel Category. Special awardees for the Conventions and Events category were also recognized, like the Top Event Producer, Top Wedding Planner and Top Online Partner. 

Closing the curtain to the wonderful dinner were desserts such as the Mojito Cupcakes, Chocolate Cigars (delicious, wished I could bring some home) and Seasonal Fruits.  Dr. Nestor Alonso II

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