Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Regal Feast

Located in a rougher part of downtown Vancouver, the Regal Hotel is home to some of the city's low-income residents, many of whom stay at the hotel for months at a time.

My girlfriend's mom, Catalina, has worked at Regal since 1993, then as a cleaner and now as the hotel's manager. Since 2005, she has organized an annual holiday feast for the Regal residents, who all anticipate the serving of lechón - a roast suckling pig that is a popular dish in the Philippines.

Here is the whole roast pig, carried by a Regal resident standing next to Catalina:

Along with lechón, 2009's feast included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roast duck, pancit noodles, macaroni salad, mixed vegetables, multi-layer cakes and a trifle dessert.

The feast was held in the hotel's small hallway, where the food was handed out by Catalina, my girlfriend MJ, and Hector (a chef and former resident of Regal Hotel):

To celebrate Catalina's charitable soul, I crocheted this trophy of her and her famous roast pig dish:

We surprised her with the trophy during the feast, captured in this video:

It's fun to recognize someone who has never sought recognition for their kind deeds. Every holiday season, Catalina is purely happy to provide a regal feast to those who appreciate it the most.

With that spirit of generosity, I hope everyone's new year is full of charitable acts, both given and received. Happy 2010!


  1. Such a great idea - and it looks fab!!

  2. Awesome work, that is absolutely amazing! How long do these things take you?

  3. Not only is Catalina awesome for what she does, but so are you, Howie. Two generous hearts!

  4. Catalina sounds like a wonderful woman, and I bet that holiday party was the best one in town! Rock on, Catalina!

    And Howie, another fabulous creation! I love how you were able to match the color of the pig so well. :)

  5. How sweet, what an awesome thing to do! And look at those little + eyes on the pig! :D

    Happy crocheting in the New Year, Howie!

  6. I'm always amazed by people who can be so giving like that, it's such a great thing to see. I love that you presented her with such a creative award!

  7. What a feast!! This was so heartwarming to see! I love the trophy and that little pig is the cutest! Thank you for sharing the most beautiful part of the holidays with us!! Happy 2010!

  8. What a special person Catalina is! I can only imagine that she must have past that same spirit on to MJ. You are so lucky - and so thoughtful to recognize Catalina's generosity. You're a great group! :)

  9. PaisleyJade: Thanks for your new year's eve "fab"! :)

    raeonix: I'm glad you like the trophy :) This one took about 3 days, completed the night before the feast!

    chchchxtnsl: I'm far from being a generous spirit like Catalina, but I'm flattered by any comparisons, thank you! I have much to emulate from the charitable acts of Catalina, MJ and my mom.

    Amy Lynn: Thanks! You're right, that party was the talk of the block :D Catalina told me that most guests went back for thirds, with some keeping the leftovers in their room fridges for the next days' meals. :)

    After being shocked by the sight of the roast pig a few years ago, the colour of the pig got burned into memory haha

    JenGoPo: I also hope your 2010 is full of your expert crochet garments & critters! Thanks :)

    Casey: I share your amazement at charitable people's examples! Catalina is adored at Regal Hotel, and it was a treat to honour her there :)

    Oanhderbread: Catalina's amazing feast of the year, yes :D

    TADA's Revolution: hehe yes, that was one calorie-packed feast! The residents were thanking Catalina for days afterward.

    I'm looking forward to seeing more sights & stories from Tada's Revolution this year :)

    Jennifer: You're so perceptive to guess that Catalina passed that generous spirit onto MJ. On new year's day, the only money MJ spent was on a large cup of hot chocolate for a homeless person. Yes, I'm very lucky to be around such good role-models. Thanks a bunch!

  10. hello!
    woowork is one of my favorite daily reads so I'm passing on this award I just received to you. it's waiting for you at my blog please drop by to pick it up then pass it along to your favorite bloggers!

    happy new year! :)

    p.s. mj's mom is so cute and clearly kind hearted too! i love pancit and my boyfriend thinks that lechon is just the greatest thing ever made. your crocheted roasted piglet is perfect!

  11. Wow, what an awesome feast! The trophy is amazing. YOu are so creative!

  12. What a lovely idea and that trophy is spiffy!~

  13. It is people like her that gives one back the hope of humanity. Great woman and the trophy you made to her says a lot about you as well. Truly heartwarming to have read this blog today!

  14. youngmi: Thanks for the sweet award and for the mention on your awesome blog :) I'm glad that you and your bf share MJ's love for pancit and lechon! All I know is that it's a challenge to stay on a low-carb, low-fat diet during the holidays at MJ's tempting family dinners haha

    Rebekah: I'm glad you could virtually enjoy the feast! You're the ultra-creative one :)

    pixelhazard: Thanks for the spiffiness :) Your superhero pic is awesome!


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