Noite de Carnival

A festive Latin fete
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte


It was Earth Hour and I was at the topmost floor of the Seven Suites Observatory in Antipolo City enjoying the panorama of the metro and the expanse of the heavens as a Brazilian band played samba to a throng of guests crowding the hotel's courtyard. It was the 13th anniversary of the only hotel in the entire country with an observatory.
The weekend celebration, simply dubbed “Noite de Carnival,” was marked by music, astronomical delights and delectable cocktail food as prepared by chefs from partner establishment CCA Cravings.
It was one of those rare nights where I saw the stars shone and sparkle in a cloudless night sky. On ordinary nights, when city lights are at their fullest, you don't notice them anymore. Stargazing, a pastime I enjoyed much before, seems to be confined to the past. Even the waxing moon shone its brightest from the aperture of the observatory's 12-inch diameter telescope, the 4th biggest in the country.
The sparsely-lit valley below afforded a perfect contrast to hotel's candle-lit landscape. The dreamy tableau lasted throughout Earth Hour 'til the lights were switched on and the environs were once again awash with electric lights. The samba party reached fever pitch as Rio-clad dancers gyrated to the beat.
The event kicked-off earlier with the unveiling of Jonahmar Salvosa's “Rekindled Journey” sculpture exhibit at the Garden Hall. Revelers then trooped to the Gazebo where they had their photos taken at the portrait booth after they got their faces painted and streaked.
We then took a tour of the facilities. The events hall was decked in a wedding reception motif from the table setting, flower arrangements, even to the tiniest details as tokens; promising lovelorn couples that should their reception be held there, it would be nothing short of magical.
The hotel's rooms were newly-renovated. Named after days of the week, the pleasing and warm color palettes taken with the cozy set-up of each room is sure to make guests, especially newlyweds, feel the romance pervading within its walls.
For the gourmand, there's Hollywood Steakhouse where every plate sizzles with goodness; each dish carefully prepared by chefs from the Asian School of Hospitality Arts (ASHA). And those with sweet tooth won't be disappointed with concoctions from Sugar, where everything is all about desserts. Friends and couples enjoyed freshly-brewed coffee from The Coffee Beanery (TCB); sharing wonderful warm moments at the observatory while taking turns with other guests to catch a glimpse of the planets. Mars was particularly fiery that night while Saturn seemed to shimmer in the distance; oblivious to all our scrutiny.
Before and after Earth Hour, the party unfolded the way Rio de Janeiro does it: Carnival-style! Live entertainment provided by the Guarana band and the sultry samba dancers dished out Bossa Nova music and other Latin tunes. The open bar and cocktail spread proffered Mexican, Spanish and other South American food and beverages.
Perched atop a promontory on Hollywood Hills along the Sumulong Hideway, Seven Suites is the perfect honeymooner's hideaway. For inquiries, simply call tel. nos. 217-5446; 682-2076 and 682-0330 or visit their Web site www.sevensuites.net.

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