A magical Christmas comes to The Manila Hotel as it lights up its holiday tree

By John Legaspi

Published on November 5, 2021

The hotel’s yearly tradition becomes more special with the launch of a fundraising campaign for the children’s orphanage.

A golden holiday. That is what The Manila Hotel is bringing this season as it lit up its Christmas Tree on November 5, 2021.

Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at The Manila Hotel (Photo by Noel Pabalate)

Guests marveled at the hotel’s decked interior carefully curated by creative designer Rachy Cuna. This year, the holiday decor spotlights the rich Filipino culture and tradition and pays homage to the artistry of our people from various regions of the country.

With this year’s theme, “Ginintuang Paraiso,” a stunning golden centerpiece sits in between the hotel’s iconic Doric columns, a sight that welcomes the guests as they walk in. Adding to that, a recurring element within the lobby is the golden woven birds that adorn the Christmas trees, as well as the capiz shells that hang from the giant chandeliers that The Manila Hotel’s Grand Lobby is known for.

“Decorating our Christmas tree as a family is one of our favorite holiday traditions,” the hotel said. “There’s something magical about gathering loved ones and watching the tree light up for the first time each year. This ceremony, which has been scaled down for the second year in a row, is a milestone moment that comes at a time when the hotel has also reopened its doors to staycation guests.”

‘Heart of Gold’

Keeping with the season’s theme of gold and the spirit of giving, the grand dame of hotels in the city, also launched the “Heart of Gold” holiday fundraiser. The Manila Hotel Christmas campaign aims to raise funds for the House of Refuge, a DSWD-recognized level 3-accredited organization providing residence, programs, and services for abandoned, neglected, and orphaned children.

Until Dec. 30, 2021, for every purchase of The Manila Hotel’s Willy the Bear stuffed toy, the hotel will donate proceeds to the House of Refuge Foundation. What people may not know about the hotel’s classic toy and mascot is that it is a symbol of hope in a time of desolation and abandonment.

Willy the Bear (Photo by Noel Pabalate)

The Manila Hotel has seen many events that took place in the Philippines’ history, one of which is the World War II bombing. Although the hotel withstood the tragedy, the bombing destroyed its main building. But miraculously, a child’s toy collection survived the assaults and became a spark of hope. The old luggage had a chess set, color marbles, sipa and a variety of balls, and other ceramic animal toys; among the precious loot was a teddy bear named “Willy” that showed no damage at all.

“We plan to raise P200,000 to be donated to the House of Refuge Foundation so it can sustain its activities in helping the children who are orphans,” The Manila Hotel president Atty. Joey D. Lina said. “This is a tradition of helping children, because Christmas is for children, and what a way to honor our children, to honor Christ, God’s greatest gift to mankind.”

Bringing light to the Philippines

Joining Lina in lighting up the tree as guests of honor were Department of Tourism (DOT) Assistant Secretary Woodrow Maquiling, Jr., and Mutya Pilipinas 2021 Miss Tourism International Keinth Jensen Petrasanta, and Mutya Pilipinas 2019/2020 Miss Tourism International Cyrille Payumo.

The Manila Hotel’s Christmas Tree (Photo by Noel Pabalate)

The Manila Hotel supports the efforts of the Department of Tourism in reviving the industry and the push for economic recovery. Both are set to revitalize the tourism sector and are determined to work towards this goal. Still, the hotel follows strict health protocols and observes the guidelines issued by the DOT and the IATF, and deploys fully vaccinated personnel to attend to guests.

Willy the Bear is available at The Manila Hotel’s M Gift Shop (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and soon over the hotel’s website. It comes in three versions: Willy the Bear Bellman (white outfit), Willy the Bear Santa (red outfit), and the limited-edition Willy the Bear in Barong.