Thirteen Going on Thirty
Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - May 24, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — There was a fantasy romantic movie starring Jennifer Garner about a girl who dreams to be fashionable at 13 years of age. At her birthday party, she was bullied by her classmates and she wishes that she was 30 years old. “Thirteen Going on Thirty” was also the theme of Marco Polo Cebu’s 13th anniversary party, where the movie was shown during the festivities at the hotel’s Grand Ballroom.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu GM Brian Connelly gave the welcome address and thanked guests, patrons and partners for their continuing hotel patronage in the last 13 years. Hopefully, with the Almighty’s blessing, the hotel’s high ratings in the hospitality industry would continue until its Pearl Anniversary.

Culinary treats were served at the various Food Stations: Pa-init, Healthy Options, Street Mania, Chocolate Factory, and Fruit Mania. While food and drinks were served, some of the guests were pampered with a face and back massage by the hotel’s spa therapists. Various hotel gift certificates were raffled off during the event and the Picornells, father and son team, both won GCs. 

I tried the Budbud (Sweet Sticky Rice) paired with Mangoes and it was good. On the subject of mangoes, I’ve tasted mangoes from several provinces and many are sweet and, sometimes, even too sweet. Mangoes from Cebu are unique because it is sweet with a touch of tart. To my great luck, there was one time that I bought mangoes at the Ramos Public Market that had these qualities plus the texture, excuse me, of leche flan!

Early in my studies of Chinese cuisine, I encountered of the notion of Yin (cool foods, low calories, served in hot weather) like watermelon, oranges; and the Yang (hot foods, higher in calories, for cold weather) like eggs and chicken. To my surprise, I read that ripe mangoes are classified as “Hot” or Yang. Then I remembered that when I was a child and had a fever, oranges and apples were recommended but mangoes were not.

At the Marco Polo party, there were merienda specials like Hot Cakes, Pinaypay (Fried Bananas), Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Churros, Freshly Baked Banana Breads, Open-Faced Mini Vegetable Sandwiches and Malicious Cookies. I paired my churros with hot chocolate and later I tried the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Nice!

The Healthy Options and Fruit Mania stations served the Fruit Skewers, Mango Pickles, Sago at Gulaman, and the Crudités. The latter are appetizers consisting of whole raw or sliced veggies with a dipping sauce. Vegetables like celery, cucumber, carrot, fennel and asparagus are often used as crudités.

While the movie was showing, plates of French fries were served. I took a bite and found it great and the rest of the senior media personnel followed suit. I took some mango pickles to counter the “oily-ness” of the fries and I found the combination to be wonderful. It was too early in the afternoon to imbibe some wine so I had a bottle of soft drink. Only on rare occasions do I drink these carbonated drinks but invited to a 13th anniversary is a rarity itself.

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