Monday, July 27, 2009

Inside The Great Wall of Santol

When I was growing up, my family and I used to pass by an enormous wall near the main street where we live. This wall was usually the victim of graffiti and political posters every election time. To most people who pass by, this was just a wall. But to me and my sisters, it symbolized the unknown, and we all conjured stories of what was beyond that wall.

Once or twice, we were able to see the other side of the property, yet another wall, embracing two giant gates with lionheads that looked like massive door knockers. The sight of those gates all the more piqued my curiosity as a young girl. I wondered what it was like inside, a mansion perhaps? A field of flowers? A swimming pool?

During the third quarter of 2008, construction work was being done inside the walls. Even from my parents' home, we could see what looked like tent tops and lamp posts. Then, as Christmas neared, all the trees were being dressed with capiz lanterns. Since news travels fast, some of our neighbors were able to find out that an events venue was being constructed for a wedding and that soon, the place was going to be open to the public.

Suffice it to say that I was always intrigued with what those walls were hiding and last Sunday, I finally found out.

The entrance to Light of Love Events Venue. This used to be part of the great wall that faced Santol street. Still no business sign except for an address number.

I received an email for a food tasting from Hizon's at a new events venue and the address was Light of Love, 1163 Santol Street, Quezon City. I immediately texted my sister to accompany me that day so we could both get a glimpse of the secret place that we had always wanted to discover.

Inside, we were surprised to find out that there was not just one but six event venues!

Light of Love is nestled on a property of almost two hectares, its centerpiece being an ancestral house offering three indoor venues and one outdoor venue. Built within the property are two white tents with walls that can be rolled up for those who would like a garden feel of their event (yet still covered).

Not one tree on the property was left without capiz lanterns. The trellis leading to the two tents was generously strung with tivoli lights and I could only imagine how magical it would be to go back here at night.

Each indoor venue is fully air-conditioned and has its own service area for caterers. The venue manager, Paul, informed us that soon, they will have a venue and catering package once they've finalized their list of accredited caterers.

Paul also showed us the guest rooms which can be used by the debutante or bride as a preparation room or wash up area before the ceremony or reception. All the guest rooms which have their own bathrooms are located at the main house. I really appreciate event venues that have guest rooms which save the celebrants time and money in booking a hotel room which will only be used just for taking photos. The only difference is that you have the convenience of chambermaids, housekeeping and room service in hotels :-)

The trellis leading to the Trust tent on the left and Loyalty tent on the right. Further down would lead to the open air venue, Cherish.

(Below) The Trust venue where Hizon's hosted its food-tasting event. This venue can accomodate up to 500 guests. Hizon's added drapes and crystals for the event but without the decorations, it's basically just a white tent with cement tiles.

(Below) The Loyalty venue which can accomodate 400 guests. Aside from the airconditioners, you can also request available misting fans.

(Above) The Love venue which can accomodate around 150 pax. Although this venue can be packaged with the Atrium, I would suggest having the Cherish (outdoor, below) venue instead for your ceremony and having the reception indoors at Love.

As seen from the photos above, it goes without saying that the Cherish venue should not be used during the rainy season. :-) The elevated area was originally the house's swimming pool.

(Above) The Integrity venue. Although most people would not prefer an L-shaped venue, this area has its plus points. It has a classier feel with the marble tiles and chandeliers and from this angle, it gives a more intimate yet fuller view of all the guests. It also has an adjacent balcony (below) where you can have cocktails or a cocktail/coffee bar for debuts or weddings.

For kiddie parties, you can also use the balcony for an inflatable, a bubble show or food carts. Integrity can hold around 150 guests and possibly 50 more if you include the balcony area.

(Below) The Atrium.

The Atrium has a skylight perfect for either a daytime or nightime event. The center area could well be your dancefloor. :-)

The foyer leading to the Atrium. (That's me and my mom who was equally giddy as I was in touring the venues)

The stone lions guarding the entrance to the Atrium and Integrity venues. It really still does look like someone's home. To me, that's a good thing.

Since the reason for being at Light of Love was a food tasting, Hizon's Sales Manager, Raymund David treated me, my mom and sister to Hizon's new buffet menu offering:

Cocktail Buffet:

Mozzarella and Tomato Crostinni, Onion Marmalade Crostinni, Smoked Tanigue Canapé, Bruchetta al Fungi, Salmon Gravlax and crème fraiche canapé, Asian Cocktail Salad, Carta Musica with Artichoke and Hummus Dip, Vegetable Sticks with Wasabi Mayo Dip

Quesadilla Station - a variety quesadillas freshly made by our chef

On Spot Pasta Station - Gourmet Pasta stations prepared on the spot by Hizon's chef

Gourmet Salad Station - Four Unique and healthy salads Asian Salad with wanton crisps, Caesars Salad, Vietnamese Chicken Salad, Salmon Gravlax Salad

Carving Station - 8 hour Oven Roasted Beef Fillet seasoned with Rosemary and Garlic, Char Grilled Beef Tenderloin Finished on a slab of Heated Granite, Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin, Stuffed Roast Turkey

Entrée - Lengua Royale, Panko Crusted Fish Fillet with Lemon Butter Cream Sauce, Bacon Wrapped Chicken in Marinara Sauce, Vegetable Au Gratin, Shiitake Mushroom Rice

Dessert Buffet Station - Miniature Cakes Served in shot glassesChocolate Mousse, Vanilla Mouse, Black forest Mousse Mango Pannacotta served in miniature teacups, Tiramisu, Crème Brulee

Classic Desserts in Margarita Glasses -Coffee Jelly, Buco Pandan, Nata Con Peaches

Crepe Station - Crepes Made on the Spot by our chef

Chocolate Fondue Fountain - 5ft chocolate fondue fountain served with fresh fruit dippings

The quesadilla station

The pasta station

The salad station

The Chocolate fountain!

Below are some of the table set-ups offered by Hizon's.

A larger than life buddha statue serenely smiling by the sprawling garden.

Because the rain refused to stop that day, my sister and I weren't able to take pictures around the garden areas which from afar looked perfect for post-ceremony pics or even for pre-nuptial photos.

I hope I can visit again soon so I can take a tour without the rush. I've waited more than 30 years to see the inside of the wall and I hope it won't take me 30 more to go back. :-)

Light of Love Events Venue
1163 Santol Street, Quezon City
(632) 714-7989, (632) 714-3871