By Alexis Yap
CEBU’S premier mall that’s above all else never fails to wow its audience while setting the bar a notch higher year after year. Just a few days back, jaws dropped in awe as hundreds witnessed what they call “A WhimSEAcal Under the Sea Adventure,” a colorful extravaganza of dancing and flying sea creatures during its tree lighting ceremony.
A unique, tailor-made Christmas story was presented by SM Seaside City Cebu that captured the hearts of the audience. The story of how Grandma Zuliana, in her youth, has saved Christmas for Seaside Village, her hometown. As she tells the story to her granddaughter Zulina, the scenes are re-enacted by Zulina, playing the character of her Grandma in the story being told. It was a beautiful Christmas tale that taught a valuable lesson. It was simply perfect!
With the leadership of Paeng Batuigas, Senior Assistant Vice President for Marketing Visayas 2 and 3 and Bo Almendras, Marketing Manager, SM Seaside City Cebu, the creative genius of one of Cebu’s top creative minds was tapped for this extraordinary production.
Victor Hao Cuenco, known in the industry as Mother Victor has his reputation precede him being the best in the industry when it comes to staging live shows and productions, consistently upping the ante with every show he produces. Reputed for his back-to-back-to-back grand slam win in the Sinulog Festival’s Sinulog Based Category in 2014, 2015 and 2016, to this very day he is the artistic and stage director of the Sinulog Grand Finale since 2005.
His outstanding production and staging of the Phil-American Heritage in Las Vegas organized by Kalahi Cultural Performing Group and the American Heritage Foundation is only one of the many offshore projects he’s successfully produced.
Recently awarded as Outstanding Southern Leyteño in the Field of Choreography and Direction in 2018, in the years: 2006, 2008, and 2009, he was also awarded Outstanding Cebuano in the Field of Culture and Arts.
He has done countless pageants all across the country and has earned the highest praises from the big names in the industry putting him well within their ranks as his peers.
One might wonder how a man of Mother Victor‘s stature would have come to be. A big part of it is probably foundation, and setting that foundation right. Having graduated with high academic excellence as Bachelor of Science in Commerce, Major in Accounting at the University of Cebu, he continues his loyal and dedicated service to his alma mater as the artistic director and choreographer of the University of Cebu Dance Company (UCDC) — a consistent winner recognized in several international travel fairs and world expos for their excellence in Philippine cultural dance.
Moreover, UCDC is constantly in rigorous training as they are naturally in each one of Mother Victor’s countless shows giving them maximum exposure and providing them the priceless experience of honing their craft at a stage that all the world can see.
And the WhimSEAcal Christmas production at SM Seaside is one good example of a highly-praised live show where UCDC has definitely shared the spotlight, putting another big bright feather on its already crowded cap…
After sharing clips of the Tree Lighting Ceremony at SM Seaside City Cebu to my friends Oscar and Kirk based in California, they said they have never seen such elaborate shows in their malls out there. And as purveyors of the arts as well, they added that the set design was superb and that the performance belongs to a much grander venue. Indeed, no greater compliment has ever been said of such a production. It is also a true testament of the caliber of Mother Victor’s productions.
SM Seaside truly took the right direction by choosing Mother Victor, pun intended. But now, as is the case after each of their shows, I wonder how they could possibly outdo themselves in the next. Well, I guess we’ll just have to hold our breaths again to find out.