A Feast for the thirsty-Prost!

posted November 07, 2015 at 06:20 pm
by  Francis de Leon
Last year, during my trip to Hong Kong, I attended a huge gathering to experience my first authentic Oktoberfest. It was a large-scale event supported by the HK Tourism Board and was held in a tented venue overlooking Victoria Harbour. Actually, it was quite overwhelming with the big number of Hong Kong nationals and the expatriate community who came in droves – hungry, thirsty and ready to party the night away on a rainy evening.

This year, I found myself on a parallel scenario. I breezed through Manila’s stormy weather to catch the biggest gathering of the German Club in the Philippines held at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent for their version of the Oktoberfest. This time, I was mindful and came to the venue prepared – hungry, thirsty and more ready to party the night away!

Table setup
Oktoberfest host Michael Scheile, German Ambassador Thomas Ossowski, Gerhard Zimmer,  Claus Sudhoff and Sofitel’s Adam Laker with Oktoberfest host Eiffelene Salvador- Howard
Entrance of the Bavarian Sound Express band
Tapping of the barrel: Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s general manager Adam Laker, German Embassy Commercial Counselor Dr. Andree Buhl and Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto
The Bavarian Sound Express band
Frances Espinoza, German Embassy Charge D’Affaires Michael Hasper, Austrian Embassy Cultural Attaché Lisbeth Strohmeier, Anjana Das-Hasper and Pia Heide Salman
 
Guests dancing to the Oktoberfest Fliegerlied song

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s Yasmine Hidalgo, executive chef Denis Vecchiato, executive pastry chef Rolando Macatangay, German Club House Committee chairman Gerhard Zimmer, director of Sales and Marketing Alice Jenkins
The only difference was that I am on familiar ground and certain that I was in for a bigger and more festive treat. In my book, nobody celebrates like us! After all, “It’s more fun in the Philippines!”

According to Sofitel’s director of Public Relations Yasmine Hidalgo, that evening was the 77th Oktoberfest celebration of the German Club and the 5th event to be hosted and organized by the dynamic team of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.  

The hotel’s Harbor Garden Tent played host to over 4,000 guests during the Oktoberfest. Upon entering the venue, you literally feel the intense energy of the German-Filipino community and friends singing “Ein Prosit Ein Prosit.”  Naturally, this columnist joined in the “endurance-testing” (pun intended) dancing with the world-famous Bavarian Sound Express band that flew in all the way from Munich.  

From left: PADI Master Scuba instructor Ralph Joerger, Divina Joerger, Ottilia Taus, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines President and JEC Philippines Managing Director Guenter Taus, and European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines executive vice president Florian Gottein
German Embassy Commercial Counsellor Dr. Andree Buhl and BAG Electronics’ Roland Odenthal
Filminera president Chris Acosta, Intelligent Touch president Robert Yap, Asia Waterjet regional sales managers Chris Parkhill and Rob Barrows
The stunning milieu was converted into an authentic beer garden (or Biergärten in German) complete with Oktoberfest tables and benches. Adding to the festive spirit were ladies donning the dirndl and gentlemen in their Lederhosen – German Oktoberfest traditional costumes.  

Sofitel treated us to an authentic Oktoberfest experience with musicians playing all-time favorite Bavarian and English music. From the opening of the first keg, San Miguel beer was free flowing and the sumptuous Bavarian spread prepared by the hotel’s master chefs that everyone enjoyed. And it was no ordinary feast! Mind you, I was told that more than 9,000 liters of beer and two tons of German sausages were consumed! 

Clockwise from left: Actor Dingdong Dantes, Carlo Gonzalez, actor Arthur Solinap, Andre Gonzalez, Ricky Chua, JP Quema and Gabby Pastor
Belinda Laker, Siobhan Bonny Horgan, Jenny Moriarty, Sofitel’s Alice Jenkins, Iva Kerto and Alfredo Denage
“The Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila is delighted to continue to be the home of Oktoberfest for the next three years. We have seen how Oktoberfest has helped promote camaraderie among the Filipinos and Germans and we are extremely pleased to have contributed to this,” expressed hotel general manager Adam Laker.

Sofitel’s Oktoberfest fever is a festival that has brought together a large crowd of diverse nationalities. Most significantly, it has promoted a sense of community.  Everyone satisfied their thirst (to their heart’s content) for beer, evident in their utter state of jubilation.  

Bosch’s project manager Toby Theis and Steffen Rittner with Claus Sudhoff and Accounts and Finance manager Dominic Bauer
Bambi Intoy, Kae Lopez, King Esquerra, Paul Lopez, Eman Lopez and Malou Lopez
Laker added, “The German-Filipino community can expect more excitement and thrill at next year’s Oktoberfest right here at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.”

And judging by the huge turnout and the (alcohol infused) happiness that abounded at the venue – Sofitel did a magnifique job! 

Prost! 

Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @francis_deleon8.

Topics: Oktoberfest , Sofitel
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