Posted on 05:57 PM, July 10, 2014
By Jasmine Agnes T. Cruz, Reporter
A BLACK whip and feathered masks were waiting on our table as we entered the City of Dreamsâ€™ Club Cubic. The cabaret show called Taboo was about to start, and we were warned that the upcoming display of flesh would be a little risquÃ©. Amazonian women with seriously long legs and bare-chested muscled men began took over the stage. The performersâ€™ seductive powers were almost upstaged by the sheer strength of their bodies.
THE CITY of Dreams boulevard (above) and a scene from The House of Dancing Water (below)
In one scene, an almost naked woman and a man were in a glass bathtub.
She emerged from the tub, her breasts wet with water. She then placed her feet on the edges of the tub and balanced herself, squatting. The man placed his head between her legs, and then flipped his body over. While his legs were up in the air, her legs carred his entire weight — we wondered if she was actually human.
Conceptualized by Italian-Belgian theater director Franco Dragone — known for creating shows for Cirque du Soleil — Taboo was one of the top-notch entertainment offerings that the press saw during a visit to Macauâ€™s resort-and-casino complex, City of Dreams, last May.
While it is easy to get to Macau as it is only around two hours away from Manila, those who want to experience the City of Dreams without leaving the country need to wait for the end of the year.
Being developed by Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp. in partnership with SM Groupâ€™s Belle Corp., City of Dreams Manila will rise on 6.2 hectares at the Entertainment City within the Manila Bay area, near the SM Mall of Asia and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The property will include retail, entertainment, dining, and lifestyle outlets. It will also have hotels such as Crown Towers (including its famous Crown Spa), the Hyatt Hotel, and Nobu Hotel. For casino players, there will also be 365 gaming tables; 1,600 slot machines; and 1,680 electronic table games.
Though the representatives from Melco and the City of Dreams Macau were tight lipped as to what the Manila version will be like, it was worth wondering why we were being taken to specific areas of the Macau property.
FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT
From a show of desires, we went to a water-based theatrical production called The House of Dancing Water. Also created by Mr. Dragone, the storyline was inspired by his travels to different parts of China.
Reminiscent of Cirque Du Soleilâ€™s famous show O, House of Dancing Water is also set in a very special pool,
At the start of the show, the deep blue water was filled with silhouettes of silver sharks circling. Above were vines glittering with pinpricks of light.
The masts of a ship tore up through the water, with dancers clinging at ropes of the masts. When the structure finished its ascent, the performers began swinging from one mast to another or would suddenly dive into the depths below. The highest dive in the show is 24.5 meters.
These water-soaked actors appeared and disappeared through the blue water. A woman in a cage was lowered into the depths, and when the cage was brought up again, she was gone. Calm surfaces would suddenly fill with splashing actors emerging from the depths, then they would find themselves on solid ground. The stage would fill with fountains as ballerinas in white tutus pointed their toes, then suddenly become dry enough for motorcycles to rev up and flip and fly across ramps.
As to whether Manila will see either the sensuous show or the watery spectacle, City of Dreamsâ€™ public relations point person, Alex Lanceley, senior vice-president and partner (Hong Kong) of FleishmanHillard, said that he wouldnâ€™t be surprised if something like Taboo will come to Manila and that the local director of the Macau show had been asking them if the tantalizing show was too scandalous for Filipinos.
Of course, all he can reveal is that there will be a club in the Manila property, and it will be of a well known brand which has a branch in Singapore. The night club will be at the propertyâ€™s Fortune Egg, â€œan architecturally unique dome-like structure, which will be accented with creative exterior lighting. It is expected to become an iconic landmark of the Manila Bay area,â€� said a release.
City of Dreams in May announced a partnership with DreamWorks Animation to bring in an â€œEdutainmentâ€� center called DreamPlay by DreamWorks for the Manila property.
DreamPlay will have digital play spaces featuring characters from DreamWorks films like Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, Madagascar, and How to Train Your Dragon. The space will be packed with a range of technology that will allow children to interact with the animated characters and, at the same time, learn something new. For example, kids can master martial arts from Po, the panda from Kung Fu Panda.
The casinoâ€™s central lounge will also have live performances.
A trip is never complete without some tasty adventures. City of Dreams Macau has some one-Michelin-starred dining options — the Chinese restaurant Jade Dragon and the French restaurant The Tasting Room.
At the Jade Dragon, we indulged in dishes like double-boiled squash with quail soup, steamed signature live tiger prawn dumpling, deep fried fresh fine de Claire oysters, and the Jade Dragon prime-cut Iberico barbecue pork, and roast goose.
Tam Kwok Fung, master chef of Jade Dragon, said during a short chat, that a chef will be visiting Macau to train under him before going to work at Manila. He said that the training will be for formalityâ€™s sake as the chef is already experienced.
At The Tasting Room, we indulged in crab salad with tomato water jelly, deconstructed artichokes with goat cheese ravioli, and brill fish with razor clam and champagne sauce and epeautre risotto.
Though there was no confirmation that the two restaurants that we visited are the ones that City of Dreams will be bringing to Manila, the Manila property will definitely offer different kinds of cuisine said Melcoâ€™s head of corporate communications Maggie Ma to BusinessWorld.
MEETINGS AND SPAS
Quality accommodations are also the trademark of City of Dreams we learned as we toured the Grand Hyatt and Crown Towers.
Grand Hyatt is known for business events, said Angel Lei, the hotelâ€™s public relations manager, as we visited the Salao de Teatro, one of the hotelâ€™s conference venues. Its unique come-on is the cameras in its kitchen so cooking demonstration can be projected on a screen that can be viewed by an eventâ€™s participants.
Another innovation is an app (named after the hotel) that is tailored to a particular event being held at their venue. On that app, organizers can post event details, the agenda, photos, maps, names of speakers and backgrounds, videos, and more. If the venue for the event changes, organizers donâ€™t need to call up each participant as all they have to do is announce the new venue on the app and the participants will be alerted through push notifications. The app is also a networking tool as participants can use it to send private messages to the other attendees.
The highlight for the Crown Towers is the Crown Spa whose excellent service is demonstrated in its Signature treatment Crown Shell Massage, 90 minutes of full-body bliss which uses heated lava shells, and Swedish and Lomi Lomi massage techniques.
Our Macau experience helped us have a sense of what City of Dreams will bring to the Philippines. Though standards of luxury will be the same for all City of Dreams properties, the company wants to bring something unique to every city, said Melcoâ€™s Ms. Ma. The Macau property, for example, does not have Manilaâ€™s Nobu Hotel and DreamWorks, so there will always be something different in each city, she said.
The message was clear. Everything we saw in Macau will not necessarily be available in Manila, but, of course, thereâ€™s no harm in dreaming.
Manila"s Macau dream