Shangri-La Mactan's Christmas Shopping Village

Lost Horizon Found
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

“Yet it is, nevertheless, a prospect of much charm that I unfold for you – long tranquilities during which you will observe a sunset as men in the outer world hear the striking of the clock, and with far less care. The years will come and go . . . and you will achieve calmness and profundity, ripeness and wisdom and the clear enchantment of memory. And, most precious of all, you will have
Time – that rare and lovely gift . . .”
from Lost Horizon
by James Hilton


In the era suspended between world wars, author James Hilton introduced an enchanting and evocative story about the human quest for happiness and its consummation at a secret destination in the heart of Asia. It was the novel called Lost Horizon, and it was the story of Shangri-La.
Hidden within Tibet's uncharted glacial peaks, Shangri-La is that mystical mountain lamasery unknown to the outside world: a carefully crafted Asian paradise and a sanctuary of moderation and grace.
With such a blueprint in mind, the Kuok Group then gave birth to the Shangri-La chain of hotels, here and abroad.
Thus, Mactan Shangri-La came into its being. Nestled amid 13 hectares of lush greenery, manicured gardens and a 350-meter exclusive white-sand beachfront, it is the quintessential modern-day nirvana. An exciting refuge for nature lovers and a favorite amongst those on holiday sprees, the enclave is a fusion of rustic surroundings, modern conveniences and genuine Asian hospitality.
Tucked in lush tropical landscape within a crystalline coastline, Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa is an award-winning, premier deluxe seaside property in Central Philippines. The resort hotel is highly-acclaimed for its spacious and well-appointed guestrooms and suites as well as the variety of dining, entertainment, sports and recreational activities offered in its paradisaical setting. It is also home to CHI, The Spa, one of the largest spa villages in the whole of Asia.
In creating the spa within a resort, the CHI design team members immersed themselves in the techniques of local artisans in the Himalayas. Ages-old techniques were incorporated throughout the architectural features, such as the expressed wood detailing, the signature mandala, the symbolic Himalayan representation of the universe, the bronze lotus inlays and the interlocking hand-wrought metal straps on wooden frames.
While Himalayan influences are a major part of CHI's architecture, the interiors have distinctly Filipino elements. The facade is made from Mactan stone hewn from coral deposits found throughout the island. The interior furnishings were handcrafted by local artisans. Latticework reminiscent of charming Capiz windows are used extensively as a design element. The treatment villas have ceiling fans made of anahaw leaves, furnishings made of Capiz shell accents, and wood panels from local tree barks.
“Not to be overlooked, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been and continues to be a high priority for Shangri-La. In fact, we were active in this area long before the term came into common usage. But by formalizing our CSR structure and engaging in dialog with our stakeholders, we are illustrating that CSR is no longer a 'soft' addition to the venture but an indispensable 'hard' business component which our customers expect from the companies they patronize. We are committed to protecting the environment, empowering our staff and supporting the communities where we operate,” shared chief operating officer Greg Dogan.
On-going are proposed programs to install solar panels for hot water production in heat pumps and boilers (akin to that used in Traders Hotel Manila) and a community livelihood program for farmers in Balamban town.
Also, the Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary, filed under Lapu-Lapu City Ordinance 425-B-2006 and officially established in February 2007, spans five hectares from the coastline and now teems with over 50 species of fish together with clams and corals.
The resort hotel received the ASEAN Green Hotel Standard at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2008 in Bangkok, Thailand. The said award was given in recognition to the resort's compliance with environment-friendly and energy conservation measures.
With the citation, Shangri-La Mactan strengthens its environmental efforts and hopes that other hotels and hospitality-related industries follow suit.
Shangri-La has opened 14 CHI outlets in Thailand, mainland China, Malaysia, Oman, Fiji and the Philippines, with plans for over 20 more to be introduced in selected Shangri-La city centers and resort locations in the next four years.
Mactan Shangri-La has 547 guestrooms and suites, including the presidential and specialty suites as well as the Ocean Club that's located on the topmost floors of the resort hotel's Ocean Wing. All accommodation facilities give guests spectacular views of expansive verdure, the tranquil seawaters and the outlying islands surrounding Cebu.
With Yuletide revelry just around the corner, the hotel offers an exceptional Christmas shopping experience for the whole family. Now on its 2nd year, their Christmas Shopping Village is fully-stocked with one-of-a-kind gift ideas including tasty treats. Savor the sweetness of the Season with a limited edition menu from the resort's Gingerbread House and Lobby Lounge. Enjoy a delectable creamy crepe paired with a coffee concoction served in a Santa Claus mug and/or other Christmas-themed mugs to take home.
Christmas beckons at the resort lobby as guests are welcomed by a mini-forest of trees adorned with silver and white flowers, snowflake cut-outs and crystals symbolizing the purity in the Season of Hope. For the entire month of December until January 3rd, half of the resort's main lobby is dedicated to a row of Christmas-themed shops selling an assortment of gift items from children's toys, Nativity scene figurines, hand-crafted fashion accessories, fine linens and decorative home items.
This year, the resort has added a shop depicting a church that's selling religious stuff by the Daughters of St. Paul. Other entities offering Yuletide fare include Asialuxe, Avatar, Carmen's Linen, Italkarat, Premium Concepts, Tesoro's, and Toys at Work. The Shangri-La Christmas Shopping Village is open daily from 11 in the morning 'til 9 in the evening.
True to the spirit of sharing, the hotel has also put up a Tingo Charity Tree for the benefit of a grade school on Tingo Island, just across the resort. For only Php250, guests may purchase a piece of soap fashioned into a Christmas ornament to hang on the charity tree To make it more personal, guests are encouraged to write their names on a piece of ribbon tied to the ornament. In turn, they are given a gratitude card from the hotel and Tingo Elementary School with a miniature Christmas soap as memento. Proceeds from the Charity Tree project will be given to the Tingo Elementary School for the improvement of its various facilities, educational programs and grade school community of more than 600 children.
Whether for business or leisure, relaxation or luxury, Shangri-La Mactan's Resort and Spa offers myriad choices for the discerning traveler that includes (though not confined to) airport transfers, shuttle services to the airport and the downtown area, secretarial services, Internet access, a medical clinic, children's playroom, function & banquet facilities and dining options.
Hong Kong-based Shangri-La hotels and resorts currently owns and/or manages 68 hotels under the Shangri-La and Traders brands with a room inventory of over 30,000. These are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services.
Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, mainland China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines. The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in Austria, Canada, mainland China, France, India, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Russia, Qatar, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the Philippines.
Like Conway, the protagonist in James Hilton's Lost Horizon, all those who've etched the allure of Shangri-La foremost in their minds, are determined to find again that Asian paradise and live once more and forever amidst its “delicate perfections,” to feel its “dream-like texture” and bask in the “sumptuous tranquility” of that singular destination which “shimmered in repose from which all the fret of existence ebbed away.”
For more information, simply contact a travel professional by accessing the Web site www.shangri-la.com. As for the Shangri-La Christmas Village Shopping Village project, you may get in touch with director of communications Mildred Amon through email mildred.amon@shangri-la.com and/or media consultant Lourdes Tan-Arrieta at lourdes_mac_shang@yahoo.com.

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