“Red carpet,” they said. “What?! Formal attire?!,” I said. Yup, that’s the theme the organizing committee decided on for this year’s officially referred to as Zubuchon’s “Staff Appreciation Party” but it’s really our decidedly more-ish Zubuchon annual Christmas Party. Since we started some 7 years ago, we have had some really good Christmas parties. Truly outrageous Pinoy office parties. Totally un-PC in most western settings parties. Sometimes unpublishable ridiculousness parties. But always, ALWAYS, a rollicking good time and we are known amongst our staff for really upping the ante on holiday partying. So it’s a reputation we have to live up to, and there is always that risk it won’t do as well as the previous years…
But the gowns and tux scenario was not something I was expecting. And I thought they were really just joking. But take a gander at 270 employees from lechoneros to managers in their finest garb, it was an absolute shock and a hoot all at the same time. Some guys had two gowns made for the evening. Some guys rented suits and tuxes. Other ladies had gowns SEWN for the event, others rented. Basically, it was a night of fantasy, and boy did it work. It really WORKED. :)
The ONLY person underdressed for the occasion was yours truly, in a blazer, dark jeans and no socks on! I did try to bring my tux out of the closet a few days earlier but it was just 40 pounds ago, if you know what I mean. So I thought I could get away with being casually chic. Yipes, not good Marketman. You let the theme down for the evening. I was so not red carpet, thank you. :( We had a professional photographer set up a photo booth outside the venue, so everyone arriving could have a picture taken, and the printed photos were done and ready for guests by the time they went home. Unlimited photos for all.
The finalists for our best dressed (Female) prize. An accountant, three dining crew and our fearless Treasurer amongst the finalists… But holy moly, check out those outfits?! And the men weren’t to be overshadowed either. It was totally amazing to see everyone transformed by clothing and attitude for one evening… You can imagine how many photos and selfies were taken in the course of the evening.
Of course we had dance/lip syncing contests by branch for generous prizes… but WHAT IS IT with the cross-dressing?! This one a rendition of single ladies by Beyonce, and if only you could see the moves.
With massive thighs and wicked tattoos, the guys put in a serious attempt for the first prize with this number.
And managers did a tamer but very coordinated dance for additional entertainment.
But everyone was in shock and awe when this number came on stage, complete with scaffolding and moving parts that meant their star was raised from the stage floor and hanging in mid-air! OMG, all I could think about was if we had liability insurance that would cover an accident. This presentation was just so incredibly over the top that it HAD TO WIN the grand prize. Actually, the presentations this year were rather subdued compared to previous years, but still quite impressive, if you ask me.
After the branch contests, we had a raffle while dining on cold food (the catered food left a lot to be desired for a bunch of restaurant employees) and the lights were lowered, a live band started to sing and what followed was roughly 3 hours of the most fun folks have apparently had in months, if not years. Totally good fun, great music and lots of dancing all over the rather large venue. I think I managed to make the rounds and visited each table and group of guests, and probably ended up dancing with a majority of the folks in our team.
Dancing, selfies, Facebook material.
A seasoned Cebuano band that played some oldies but goodies and really knew how to get the dance floor packed. They also played some of the newest hits. It was interesting to see a bunch of folks in their 20’s feel right at home with music from the 80’s…
There are some parties that never pick up momentum. This one had it from the first song the band played. I suppose fueling everything with sufficient liquor and beer helped. :) But we had a strict policy of no drinking and driving, and provided jeepneys and car services for folks to get home safely. No one was supposed to show up with a motorcycle or risk being refused entry or access to alcohol.
Having said that, this is what most people’s vision was probably like just before the witching hour of 11pm (we started at 6pm) so we could actually get some rest and open for business the next day. We close for half a day to do this party, and it is a huge loss of revenue, but if you were at the party, you would know it was worth it.
After the lights were turned on, we hoped the excessive dancing would help to work off the excessive drinking… but we managed to pose for photos, so it couldn’t have been that bad. :)
And these were some of the photos of the crew that they got to take home for free at the end of the evening. It’s getting harder and harder to pull off these events with a growing family of staff and locations like malls that aren’t amused when we close our doors to party, but it’s a Zubuchon tradition and we will strive to keep at it for as long as we can. Happy Holidays to all our staff, and thanks for a great party!