Christmas is no doubt the biggest holiday in the Philippines; hence, our friends at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort found it most fitting to treat its Filipino staff and cast members by way of an early noche buena filled with treats, songs, sumptuous food, and tear-jerking reunions. We joined in on the festivities, which also celebrated the resort’s 10th anniversary. Read more…
To those who’ve gone to Hong Kong Disneyland, which is known to be among the happiest places on Earth, would’ve probably noticed how a lot of those who bring cheer to guests are Filipino. And this is actually a fact, for many of our kababayans (fellowmen), talented and hardworking, have been employed by the resort to fulfill such roles as singing, dancing, and assisting guests.
Despite having greeted some of them each time I visit Hong Kong Disneyland, I never really knew roughly how many Filipinos are working for the resort. And so on the night of the noche buena held at the Cinderella Ballroom of Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, I was pleasantly surprised to see perhaps almost a hundred kababayans, some of them with the entire family in tow.
It was clear to me then that the resort appreciates the dedication and talent of Filipinos. As a matter of fact, the musical director of Hong Kong Disneyland, Rony Fortich, and two of its top performers, thespian Raki Vega and actor Gian Magdangal, are all Filipino.
The early noche buena was like the cherished Christmas parties we have back home. It began with a round of games, followed by a couple of Filipino Christmas carols with Raki and Gian leading the singing and Rony on the keyboard.
And of course, what good is a noche buena without good food, right? We were treated to holiday staples like lechon, pancit, adobo, ham, and leche flan, as well as the classics like ginataan and sinigang—all of which reminded us and our kababayans of home.
As everyone had their tummies filled, Marvin Naadat, one of the theme park’s lead choreographers, was ‘randomly’ called onto the stage to do FaceTime with his family who had migrated to Singapore. Unbeknownst to Marvin, Hong Kong Disneyland had been in contact with his wife Lhedda, so he got the surprise of his life when his wife and two daughters emerged from the ballroom’s grand doors right during the program. The reunited family, separated miles away for their family’s future, warmed the hearts of everyone there, moving some to tears.
But it wasn’t only Marvin who had a surprise reunion, as Rony himself got his family flown in from the Philippines. Like Marvin’s family, they too were to spend an enjoyable weekend together at Hong Kong Disneyland, courtesy of our friends from the resort.
Later, Kapamilya star Janella Salvador sang Happily Ever After, the theme song for Hong Kong Disneyland’s 10th Anniversary. She was joined by no less than stars of the resort themselves, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck who were donning holiday outfits.
After a number of photos and selfies, we and our kababayans left the party inspired, hopeful, and upbeat. The noche buena surely proved to me how Hong Kong Disneyland strives to keep its people happy, for after all, they are the people who keep us, their guests, happy too.
For more information about Hong Kong Disneyland’s 10th Anniversary and to avail of special offers, visit www.hongkongdisneyland.com/10th, while for updates, follow their dedicated Facebook page for the Philippines at www.facebook.com/hkdsineyland.pa.
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