Merry Christmas, dear readers!
May this joyous season mark the end of our pandemic-related miseries, as our Lord continues to pour upon us His bountiful blessings.
It was the perfect way to start this year’s holiday season. After more than two grueling years of getting aimlessly trapped in our tourism industry’s forced hibernation, I was hankering for a cool, stress-relieving refuge where I could relax my tired nerves and soothe my aggravation. Taal Vista Hotel, my favorite hotel “up in the clouds,” sent me an invitation at the perfect time. This property is one of my favorite stress relievers because any day I spend at this hotel is a day of heavenly bliss.
The novel way the hotel celebrated its Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony was impressive because a trio of beautiful events were appended to it. First, we were given a tour of the front garden where organic herbs and vegetables grow in abundance. This garden is part of the hotel’s venture into farm-to-table dining through its Taza Restaurant, which serves only meals using organic and sustainable ingredients.
Next on the schedule was the opening of the Walk Through Time Exhibit. Now on its 82nd year, Taal Vista Hotel, undoubtedly, is rich in history. The exhibit highlighted the glorious heritage of the hotel, the Taal Lake and Volcano, and of Tagaytay City.
The gallery of historical photographs bannered the hotel’s valuable contribution to the culture and tourism of the city. The exhibit was opened by Aniela Tolentino, an international entrepreneur and environment advocate. It was curated by SM Hotels and Conventions Corp.’s Art Consultant Nestor Jardin and all of us, guests, were guided through the gallery by Mabuhay Guides’ Dennis Maristany who shared with us a wealth of interesting trivia about each of the photos on exhibit.
There was one poetic photograph (shown on this page) that I thought stood out in the gallery. It was a long shot of the young Henry Sy, Sr., seated alone on the ground, in the garden facing Taal Volcano and Lake. It was taken, circa 1950s, by his wife, Felicidad, during one of their trips to the then Taal Vista Lodge. I am sure Mr. Sy was enamored by the view, the ambiance, and the peace and quiet that made him decide to purchase the property several decades later.
From the exhibit, we proceeded to the hotel grounds and view deck for the ceremonial lighting of the giant Christmas Tree led by Department of Tourism Regional Director Marites Castro, SM Hotels and Conventions Executive Vice-President Peggy Angeles, and Taal Vista Hotel General Manager Ramon Makilan.
This culminated with a ceremonial gift-giving for the children of Augustinian Sisters Servants of Jesus and Mary, the beneficiaries of the celebration.
Of course, they saved the best for the last—the elaborate In The Mood Wine Dinner. The hotel’s covered terrace was meticulously decorated with fresh, local flowers and black accent pieces. Classic musical favorites from the 1930s and 1940s, including some Christmas songs, were performed live by a musical duo.
Laid out was an extensive seven-course dinner inspired by that era, created by the hotel’s culinary team led by Executive Chef Jayme Natividad. Dishes served were paired with matching wines from Happy Living Philippines Corporation.
The exquisite menu consisted of: Chicken Relleno paired with Little Miss Rose 2020; Sopa Aristocrata; Pansit Buko Salad; Lapu-Lapu De La Reina paired with Beringer NV Chardonnay 2016, and Filet de Boeuf Prince Albert paired with Ramón Bilbao Gran Reserva 2011. The delicious dessert, Cathedral Windows, was paired with Brachetto D’ Acqui 2019.
This fit-for-royalty menu was indeed an indication that the Season of Plenty is upon us once again and that now is the time to forget the trials and challenges we have been through the past two years. It is time to gather our strength, heal the scars from a well-fought battle and prop ourselves up to face a brighter and happier tomorrow.
With hopeful and joyful hearts, let’s continue to gather and share beautiful memories worthy to be cherished and remembered, like this happy event at Taal Vista Hotel. May this Christmas be merrier than last year’s, as families reunite and celebrate the birth of our Savior, while we remind ourselves that peace on earth will come to stay when we live Christmas every day! Merry Christmas!
YOUR WEEKEND CHUCKLE:
QUESTION: Did you ever wonder why we never see a headline that reads—”Psychic Wins Lotto”?
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