Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Testimonial Dinner at the Manila Hotel

Last night, the whole family attended a testimonial dinner in honor for a group of people who have excelled in their professions. My father was one of the recipients of life time achievement award. It was held at Fiesta Pavillion of the Manila Hotel. The ticket to the dinner cost around 1,300 pesos. I guess its all for a good cause, perhaps it was also a fund raising event,hopefully. The Manila Hotel has been standing beside Manila Bay even before World War II (WWII) and it had been witness to events that have affected the Philippines from before WWII to the present. The Manila Hotel as the abode of McArthur The Manila Hotel was the former residence of Gen McArthur. After his early retirement from the US Army he serves as President Quezon's military adviser and he was given the rank of Field Marshall. His task was to prepare an army for the soon to be indpendent Commonwealth. World War II came and McArthur found himself heading the Pacific Theatre of War against the Japanese Imperial Army. His former secretary Eisenhower was in charge of the Allied efforts against the Third Reich and its allies. A few years after leaving the Philippines, McArthur fulfilled his promise and returned to liberate the Philippines from the Japanese Empire. The liberation of course levelled Manila and destroyed the suite of McArthur at Manila Hotel. McArthur believed that the Japanese would leave his quarters alone out of respect for a fellow-warrior. What the Japanese officers did not steal for keepsake were destroyed when the Americans shelled Manila to spook out the Imperial Naval Forces of Japan, Yamashita left Manila but the Japanese Admiral did not feel it was honorable to retreat so literally fortified his command in Manila with guns from his warships. D. I do not know if the present McArthur Suite is the actual room the Philippine government provided for McArthur, yes we Quezon's government paid for McArthur's living expenses and salary. The Manila Hotel in recent years The Hotel is also remembered where one of the zaniest rebellion against Cory Aquino occured. A mob of Marcos loyalists held a rally at Luneta and for some reason proceeded to the Manila Hotel, along the way they mauled a man wearing a yellow shirt (political supporters of Cory Aquino wore yellow shirts). The Marcos loyalists occupied the hotel for a couple of days and even proclaimed then Marcos VP candidate the late Senator Arturo Tolentino as President. The government forces surrounded the hotel and use tear gas to ferret them out. Tolentino was of course nowhere to be found when the smoked cleared. The Manila Hotel during the testimonial dinner Entering the lobby one might never knew what the hotel endured since it was built the carnage of war and the destruction of the mob. It is still in pristine condition. Maybe a little bit old but still stylish. The only overtlt modern thing in the hotel seemed to be security checks, the x-ray machine and guards at the entrance of the lobby. Signs of the times I guess. A lot of cops too were present. Maybe they were preparing security for the visit of the Indonesian and Ghambian President. The food was haute cuisine blue plate, utterly non - satisfying. I must say for 1,300 pesos one sort of expects more. But that is the nature of fund-raising events, I guess. What sort of killed the evening though was the marathon of speeches. Aside from the guest of honor. Nearly all major recipients and officer of the body had a prepared a thirty or so minutes speech mentioning everything and thanking nearly everyone. It did not take long before the particpants started to talking among themselves and ignore the speakers. Of course there were a few who still listened and people cheered whenever anyone they knew was mentioned. The night ended with the penultimate speech that nearly no one listened to. What registered though was the announcement of the socials - some sort of ballroom dancing with music Lady Valerie and her combo. The announcement was the signal for people to leave, which the people promptly did. Despite the food, the speeches with sedatory effect on most persons. The event was a success for me since my father was honored for his work and that is what counts. I wonder what McArthur's ghost would be telling if he still walked the halls and lobby of Manila hotel. Maybe the old General is still in search for Dimples, his Filipina companion, or his keepsakes that the Japanese generals stole.


Post a Comment

<< Home