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Opening the Season with Sweets at Diamond Hotel


By Deedee M. Siytangco

“Every night we go to bed, without any assurance of being alive the next day but still we set the alarm to wake up. That is called Hope.”

There is logic in visiting our beloved dead the whole year round—on their birth dates, death anniversaries, our anniversaries, Christmas, etc. The Church encourages remembering the departed thru our prayers on these occasions and on any day you may want to. No need to wait for All Saints Day or All Souls Day to visit their gravesite or their niche in a columbarium.

diamond hotel mb

Miss Earth Fire Bruna Zenardo, Miss Earth Air Michelle Gomez, Miss Earth Water Stephanie De Zorsi, Zonta Club Area 5 Vice Director Baby Doble, Diamond Hotel Philippines general manager Vanessa Ledesma-Suatengco, Diamond Hotel Philippines’ Carmela Ang, Miss Earth 2016 Katherine Espin, Mexican Ambassador Julio Camarena Villaseñor, and Zonta Club of Makati-Ayala President Rita Dy (Manila Bulletin)

I try to visit the whole year round as it keeps me grounded and “feel” the love from the Other Side. No, I am not being morbid, I am feeling grateful I am still here to fulfill a mission!

Congratulations to the management of Manila Diamond Hotel for their early tree-lighting ceremony last Thursday evening with a bevy of Miss Philippines beauties, the Mexican Ambassador Julio Camarena Villasenor, Angela Carmela Ang, youngest daughter of SMC’s Ramon S. Ang, Diamond’s general manager Vanessa Ledesma Suatengco, Rita Dy, president of partner Zonta Club Makati-Ayala, the children of Centex School in attendance.

The overall theme of the holiday season for the hotel is candy, all types and all sweet!

Elsewhere, a tiny anthurium plant (called Wave of Love) in a recyclable paper pot was my first Christmas gift this season. It was from senator Loren Legarda, champion of the environment, climate change, indigenous peoples, and crafts and arts.

As she said in her note, “it’s easy to grow” and true enough, it is happily growing new leaves! Thanks Senadora Loren and congratulations to all your successful causes!

Now, our congratulations to Team GSIS, Asia CEO’s service excellence awardee, the only government agency to be so cited. Bouquets to former GSIS president and general manager (PGM) Robert G. Vergara and GSIS officer-in-charge Nora M. Saludares. The award recognized the state pension fund as the ADP Service Excellence Company of the Year by Asia CEO. Sharing their victory were GSIS executives and Vergara’s spouse, Camille.

State pension fund GSIS won the prestigious ADP Service Excellence Company of the year award during the Asia CEO Awarding ceremony in the category among over 30 private and public sector organizations besting co-finalists IT firm Advanced World Systems, insurance company AIG Shared Services Business Processing (Philippines), news organization Thomson Reuters Manila, as well as business process outsourcing companies 24/7 Customer Philippines, and Wipro BPO Philippines.

Presented by PLDT ALPHA, Asia CEO Awards 2016 recognizes distinctive and diverse achievements to highlight many of the most accomplished management teams and leaders in Southeast Asia.

Officer in Charge Atty. Nora Malubay-Saludares accepted the coveted award on behalf of GSIS.

The pension fund was cited for the fruits of its reform agenda in the past six years to provide responsive service to its more than two million members and pensioners, including enhanced collection and posting efficiencies, increased claims and benefits, and a longer actuarial fund life.

In 2014 and 2015, GSIS topped the Anti-Red Tape Act customer feedback survey administered by the Civil Service Commission from a failed rating in 2012. Which is why we will miss Vergara who has gone back to private practice.

A happy celebration marked the natal day of business tycoon Michael Say in his informal resto, the BubbaGump in Greenbelt. We had a fun time with old friends like Digoy Fernandez, Lito Jimenez, Ed Montealegre, Rod Cornejo,  singer Darius Razon, met Heritage Hotel’s genial manager, Ed Yeo and his wife Mary. Cong. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also showed up as well as the French Ambassador but the greeters were aplenty so we had no chance to chika-chika with CGMA. Gen. Benjie Defensor was in attendance with other retired PAF officials and they had the microphone to themselves when the professional singer took breaks.

A welcome and pleasant discovery was singer Michael Puyat with his two-man band who belted out soothing jazz standards. He sings at BubbaGump every Thursday night and his smooth style with our favorite songs went well with our cajun food! So happy birthday Michael, who was supported by his pretty wife Louie and their handsome sons Morgan and Solomon in entertaining his many guests.

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