Keeping a Tradition:
What has become a Kagay-anon Christmas tradition has transitioned into a virtual event in keeping with the health and safety protocols mandated by the new normal.
Monday, the 29th of November 2021 saw the virtual lighting of Seda Centrio’s Christmas Tree with almost all guests and visitors online, in line with the hotels management wish to make the event as safe as possible, the city’s Alert Level 2 notwithstanding.
“Traditions, treasured memories, and shared hopes are the ties that bind all of us together as one big Seda Centrio family,” Seda Centrio Hotel Manager Rhett Villaruz said in his welcome address.
“The tree before us is part of our annual tradition and, as such, it has seen both triumphs and challenges. Tonight, we gather once more to celebrate our Tree Lighting, welcoming the beginning of a long and hopefully our most meaningful Christmas yet.”
Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association (COHARA) President Eduardo “Bong” Pelaez cited the powerful symbolism of the evening’s virtual event.
“Trees absorb the toxic air from the environment, and in exchange provide the oxygen of life. Light is the symbol of hope in life and a bright future ahead,” Pelaez noted.
“The Seda tree lighting symbolizes the much needed light in our service business, the hotels and restaurants,” he added. “It gives us hope for the year 2022 for the hotel and restaurant business recovery.”
Cagayan de Oro OIC/City Tourism Officer Chedilyn Aissa Dulguime likewise lauded Seda Centrio’s Christmas Tree Lighting event as a symbol of hope and resiliency amidst the global pandemic.
“I express my admiration at the determination to send out the message that you can’t stop Christmas, the pandemic notwithstanding,” she noted. “It has been a challenging and difficult two years and yet we have seen Seda’s resiliency.”
“We are still reeling from having been placed in the highly restrictive quarantine status recently, and Seda Centrio uniquely reflects that commendable resilience of the Kagay-anon, as it does its part in making the city festive in time for Christmas,” she added.
Dulguime also lauded the hotel for always featuring local artists in their decorations.
“This year a very good friend’s ingenious creations will liven up the hotel. I hope that the Christmas spirit as Seda warms the heart of every person that would have the opportunity to experience it.”
For this Christmas season, Seda Centrio collaborated with Tinabuan Arts & Crafts to showcase its unique product line using abaca as the main material; planted and harvested by farmers and rebel returnees in the mountains of Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental and woven into sinamay and hinabul using heirloom handlooms inherited from generations of weavers.
Seda Centrio curated some holiday decors with the help of its founder, Esmerna Uyguangco Gabutina, made by craftsmen and artisans utilizing locally-sourced, renewable, and biodegradable materials – reflecting the rich culture and tradition of the region.
With this, Villaruz said the hotel has expressed how it is not merely centered on driving revenue, but also focused on initiatives that make a positive impact by working with social entrepreneurs – creating new opportunities and contributing to better everyday lives.
“To fully embrace the holiday spirit of caring and connection, we also continue Seda Hotels’ long-standing corporate responsibility and sustainability initiative to support cleft care to children in need during this season of giving,” he noted.
Despite not being physically present at the event, Seda again showed its unique brand of hospitality by treating the covering media to a sumptuous dinner delivered straight to their homes.
“Christmas and the New Year have always been a time to reflect on the past — and then look ahead to the future. I firmly believe that 2022 will be a brighter year for Seda Centrio and for us all. But it must be a brighter year for the entire world, a post-pandemic future, the next normal where we all emerge stronger; where all of us prosper,” the hotel manager noted.
In conclusion, Villaruz shared his personal Christmas wishes for all in the coming year.
“At the top of my list are peace, economic resurgence and well-being for all, and a caring climate that will permit everyone to achieve the fullest potential of their human gifts. I wish Seda Centrio a strong future out of a proud past. And I wish everyone one of us the realization of love and belonging.”