Spring Festival Celebration 2020 – with a Bang!
Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - February 7, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The People of the Middle Kingdom practice traditional ceremonies to welcome the Lunar New Year, for the last 3,000 years. The practice is no longer limited to China. In Cebu, the better hotels and shopping malls would compete with one another to host the most elaborate festivity to usher in the Chinese New Year. The rivalry includes the choice of the food and drinks offered to their patrons, guests, and members of the local media.

At the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino, rituals like Lion Dance/Eye-Dotting, Beating of the Drums, Dragon Dance, and the lighting of Firecrackers were performed. Invited to the ceremonial dotting of the Lion’s eyes were guests of honor Vice Mayor Mike Rama, Consul Jiang Wen of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu, Mary Ann Alcordo Solomon, and DOT-7 director Shalimar Tamano. Waterfront Cebu GM Anders Hallden welcomed everyone. And the Wushu Federation of Cebu Chapter smartly executed the Lion and Dragon dance.

The ceremonies were followed by the 2020 Dinner at the UNO, an International Buffet prepared for the hotel’s global clients and patrons. Chinese dishes that were served, simulating traditional emblems of affluence and prosperity – Eight Treasure Chicken, Roast Chicken, White-Cut Chicken, Soy Sauce Braised Chicken, Seafood Chow Mien, Steamed Fish Fillet with Light Soy Sauce, and Lo Han Chai. The latter is also known as Buddha’s Delight, a vegetarian dish that was very popular in a restaurant along Colon Street in yesteryears. If you have eaten at The International Rice House, you must be, excuse me, a senior citizen already!

Pork dishes reigned supreme during Spring Festival celebrations and the following were served: Roast Pork, Salt & Pepper Pork Spare Ribs, Pork Humba, Pork Patatim, and Lechon Cebu. I found the appetizers like Pork Embutido and Potato Ham Croquette with Sour Cream Garlic Chives Sauce irresistible and so were the Deviled Eggs.

Live Noodle Cooking was also featured. It had popular Asian specialties Char Kway Teow (Singapore and Malaysia’s flat rice noodle with prawn, sausage, fishcake), Phad Thai (Thailand’s rice noodles with shrimp, chicken, peanuts, egg, bean sprouts), and Japchae (Korea noodles with vegetables). I tried the Char Kway Teow – delicious!

Desserts were offered and I shared with my dinner mates the following: Ube Mousse Pops, Lemon Meringue Tart, Lychee Cheesecake and Blueberry Cheesecake. The Pops were tasty.

After dinner, it was time for the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel special, the “Fire in the Sky,” a spectacular firework display with synchronized classic and modern music.  I hope and pray that those really loud explosions had driven away evil spirits and unfriendly ghosts!

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