Every child’s 7th Birthday celebration is a milestone for every family. It is supposed to signify some sort of independence since this is usually the age when children enter grade school after hurdling the pre-school levels. In the Philippines, it’s becoming a tradition to celebrate it with the kid’s first set of classmates in a big school, new set of best friends, therefore a bigger celebration with more attendees.
But when this pandemic hit us, all our plans were reduced to an unimaginable size. While we still hoped that the latter part of 2020 would provide a small window to allow a small gathering, it didn’t worked out the way we would have wanted it.
God planned it differently and we decided to be obedient. Instead of insisting on even a small gathering of friends, we gladly revised our plans and we were surprised how it turned well in the end.
Since we couldn’t bring people together, we decided to bring the party to them. We packed our giveaways along with some snacks, put it in a box, and delivered it to the homes of the kids. We had an online celebration in our room at the Ritz Carlton Doha, streamed live on Youtube so our families and friends from the Philippines, UAE and Canada can still join us, virtually. We also prepared a special video featuring our Princess Jasmine in her beautiful gown shot at the palatial, Arabic-inspired, Sharq Village and Spa.
Please watch our special birthday video here: https://www.facebook.com/khatie.atienza/videos/10222250877373201
SHARQ VILLAGE AND SPA (Behind the Scenes)
A week before the online birthday party, we decided to book a room at the Sharq Village and Spa. It’s our first time, though we already have an idea how it looked like from the social media photos. We felt it will be a perfect venue for Jasmine’s video shoot. Inspired by the latest movie version of Aladdin, we specifically chose Sharq Village for its traditional Arabic architecture. The villa interiors specially captured that much needed ambiance fit for our lady-like princess.
Please watch our BTS video here: PREMIERING on our Youtube channel this Saturday December 5
The mix of traditional and modern amenities are exceptional. The rooms have middle-eastern touch with mix of contemporary designs and facilities. The highlight of our stay is the hotel exterior which include the pool and beach areas endowed in traditional Arabic designs and modern resort-type amenities. It was a perfect blend for a much needed relaxation getaway and weekend family staycation. The beach front, overlooking the panoramic skyline of Westbay area, is truly magnificent both during the day and at night.
We also tried their breakfast and lunch services, and yes, just as one popular blogger also commented in our instagram post, “Sharq Village is very underrated on the foodie scene”. They’ve probably kept their stance for quite a while but I felt that a lot of people should also experience their amazing food and hospitality. being strategically located in one of 2022 FIFA World Cup’s main stadium – the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium is their advantage. They are also just few minutes away from the airport and to the city’s key tourists destinations. Their position as a luxury hotel spells privacy and intimacy for families looking for the right place to unwind within the city.
THE RITZ CARLTON DOHA (Zoom Party)
We’ve probably mentioned several times already the reason why The Ritz Carlton was our first choice to celebrate Jasmine’s – from the original party gathering which was reduced to a simple weekend staycation because of the pandemic. Nonetheless, the hotel staff were still able to pull off a BIG SURPRISE to all of us by dressing up our room with fabulous decorations. They have birthday banner, balloons fit for a #RitzKid, a tent with kiddie activities, a personalized card, and a set of delicious cakes and cupcakes.
Please watch our Check-In/Zoom Party video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiqPmuRhhmA
The highlight of our stay at the Ritz is definitely the comfort of our room. We’ve never heard Jasmine said “I want to stay here forever” in any place we’ve visited. She specifically liked the bed – the size and== how comfortable it is, which we totally agree. Of course, she liked that they’ve set-up a special play area for her but the room is spacious enough to have a living area with a big sofa which became “the set” for our zoom party. The all-marble bathroom is ultra modern with separate toilet and shower, plus a bath tub fit for royalty.
JASMINE EDENRITZ TURNS 7
While many thought that all of these were sponsored, it was not. Everything were personally handpicked specifically for the occasion.
The gown was handmade by a popular Filipino designer in Doha – Mr. Celso Collado Dahil. When we initially talked about the design, we have Princess Jasmine’s outfit from the latest Aladdin movie as our inspiration. Then we thought of making a surprise by giving it two different personalities: a long gown for royalty, and a short dress for an elegant casual look for our lady-like celebrant.
And while we are thinking of doing some of the preparations ourselves, we admitted that we needed help from friends who could do it better so we can also enjoy and participate in the shoot.
We contacted Mr. Maru, a very talented videographer who’s known for his masterfully-crafted cinematic films using only his handheld mobile phone. It was an ingenious idea to explore less commercially viable options and support local talents who was also a member of our community. I remember Maru attending our Video Editing Workshop at the old Java U cafe in Al Waab even though he can be considered a pro in this field (facilitated by Mr. Mars Majarucon from QatarLiving in October 2018).
Usually, Mama Khatie is doing Jasmine’s make-up but since we will be having some family shoots as well, we don’t want to stress ourselves out as we also want to look decent in the video. So we contacted a friend who was also doing make-up gigs in Doha. Ms. Dalen Evangelista is a long-time friend and one of our very supportive partners in our real estate business before. I will never forget when I had an event and it was only her who helped me single-handedly during that time. Pay back time, she was our first choice to join us in this project. Glad that she accepted the invitation even at a late notice.
We also ordered Jasmine’s birthday cake from Fairy Cakes – one of the online businesses that we’ve featured in our #supportsmallbusiness campaign during the height of the pandemic.
Special mention to all of Jasmine’s Ninongs and Ninangs who also helped us compile a birthday greeting video that she will forever cherish. When us, her parents, chose these Ninongs and Ninangs – Jasmine literally have no idea who they are, how they look like, and some of them she wasn’t able to meet personally (yet) because of distance and busy schedules. So the video was the ultimate remembrance of some of the special people who are standing with us in prayer as we raising Jasmine in the way God wants her to be.
We definitely appreciate all her friends from the Kids Church who were game enough to wake up early on a weekend to join us in the Zoom party. It wasn’t technically perfect but it was good enough way to catch up and see each other virtually after a long time.
Special credits to wifey – MAMA KHATIE for all the handwork and patience (Mama Eden and Kuya Johann was scheduled to visit Doha for the celebration but wasn’t able to push through because of travel restrictions).
Lastly, to everyone who showed their love for our little princess especially to FERRER and APOSTOL Family here in Qatar and to our ATIENZA and TUNAY family back in the Philippines, MARAMING SALAMAT po! This celebration also pays tribute to my late Nanay Ritz who I’m sure would be very happy to see her granddaughter growing up beautifully like her.
To God be all the glory!