Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Christmas Party and Gourmet Night at Essensa

Tonight was a very long night but such a happy one. We helped organize a completely different event from the usual things we organize, but it was a spectacular success. Much of it was due to the great teamwork between the main companies and entities involved, as everyone was professional and efficient. It was a truly a dream team and the results showed. What an amazing event.


The Essensa condominium was judged the best residential condominium in Asia, when it was first launched. And even today, it still is among the best residential buildings in the Philippines.

Tonight, in cooperation with the Essensa board, Travelife Magazine organized the Essensa Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and International Gourmet Night to kick off the Christmas season; and this was undertaken with the Peninsula Manila and Color It Christmas as the main sponsors.

Essensa is by far the most beautifully decorated residential condominium in the country this Christmas, and this is the personal handiwork of Color It Christmas, which is tapped by some of the Philippines' biggest firms to handle their Christmas decor. Color It Christmas donated all the Christmas decor around Essensa this year.

It was truly a labor of love for the people involved, but the results showed. I'm going to post photos as soon as I get these; but for now, let me say that everything went almost perfectly without a hitch, and the residents and guests were all impressed.

Essensa at 4 PM today


I was working the whole evening as emcee as well, so I basically had a cup of hot chocolate and endless glasses of ice for dinner -- which was a shame as we literally prepared a kilometer-long buffet with something like 40 dishes for the entrees alone.

But work called; and so the best part of the evening for me was finally sitting back and relaxing at about 1030 PM, when lots of people had left but a couple of good friends had stayed; and we all sat at one table while the band and the DJ played basically just for us, and I just kept requesting songs all night. How fun it is to have your own musicians to play whatever you want them to play.

"I could so get used to this," I joked; and a guy at the table said: "We can do this every weekend." Yes, it was that fun.

Essensa at 1030 PM tonight


As emcee, I was able to make most of the requests, and I had a pretty eclectic mix. I actually requested the song "Love You More Today Than Yesterday" twice. And the song "Ikaw," which is just about my favorite Tagalog song because the words and the melody are so beautiful. Meanwhile, from the DJ who had a trunk full of 80s music, I asked him to play Sybil's "When I'm Good and Ready." I can't explain it, but I really wanted to hear this song tonight.


For tonight's event, I didn't invite the whole diplomatic corps. I simply selected a couple of close ambassador friends who I thought would enjoy the experience of an authentic Philippine Christmas celebration.

The ambassadors of the United States, India, Indonesia, Israel, and South Africa very gamely joined our celebrations, as well as the wife of the Ambassador of Switzerland.

The wives of the Indonesian and Swiss ambassadors brought food from their home countries as well, while the Ambassador of Israel brought Israel's top musician to play for us (and, boy, did he wow everyone!) and the Ambassador of Indonesia gamely agreed to sing a few songs. What a treat these were for Essensa residents.

The Ambassador of Indonesia performs tonight
for Essensa's Christmas party

All in all, a wonderful evening of camaraderie, generosity and holiday spirit. The major firms and entities involved worked so hard for tonight. I especially can't thank the Peninsula Manila and Color It Christmas enough for the elegant and stunning party backdrop and logistics we had tonight.

The logistics alone is a story in itself. Early this morning, coming home from the Commanderie de Bordeaux dinner at about 1 AM, I'd dropped by the Essensa swimming pool area just to have a look around as I'd been too busy this week to even do an ocular. There was nothing extraordinary save for some lights already in place. But 7 hours later, when I walked past again, every single table (we had a set-up for over 300 persons for dinner and 100 for cocktails) was set up and ready. The Peninsula Manila had come in at 2 AM and set everything up perfectly.

We at Travelife Magazine have been privileged to work closely with the Peninsula Manila on many projects and whatever we have undertaken together has been an incredible success. In the process, I've gotten to know everyone and we've become good friends. I am all praises for the way the Peninsula Manila runs its ship.

Thank you to our other wonderful
food, wine and entertainment sponsors:

XO46 Bistro in Salcedo Village

Chef Billie King

Duo Restaurant

Sweet Bella Pastry Shop in Burgos Circle, Fort Bonifacio

Century Tuna

Premier Wines and Spirits

Premium Wine Exchange

Bubba Gump for the kids

Gymboree for the children's entertainment


Travelife Magazine's
Oct-Nov 2011 Issue


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