The first Casino Español de Cebu was located on Legaspi St. esquina Zamora St. in a pretty green chalet, just enough for its few members in 1920, the perfect place for "un grupo entusiasta de españoles" who longed for watering hole at the end of a day's work. It was a bright idea of the founders like the business brothers, Don Vidal and Don Ramon Aboitiz, Associate Don Manuel Moraz and a few others who are said to have contributed Php 10,000.00 each (a tremendous sum in the twenties) to start it. Some older members say that the initial money was returned to the owners later on installment.
The inauguration on Legaspi St. was a joyous affair in January 1920, says one of Casino Español's member, Don Santiago Picornell. He was only eight years old when his father, Don Bartolome, one of the early officers, brought his family to the opening, as every other member did. The occasion was packed with De Numero members mostly in all-white formal suits for a balmy afternoon. And spanish chatter filled the air to exemplify the use of spanish language in Casino Español, like today.
The present clubhouse on Ranudo St. is more than a clubhouse today because it has become a recreation and dining place for the community who are attracted to the ambiance of yesteryears. In this, Casino Español boasts about the difference.
The service has a personal touch since the cooks, waiters, the boys in the bowling ally, billiard table and the pelota, badminton and tennis court have known the members for years. In fact, the waiters know what food is preferred by what member. Also, members make suggestions and recomendations on certain recipes that can be included in the menu. This makes Casino Español the second home to all members.
Our restaurants has established ourselves as the best meal in town at very reasonable cost using fresh and quality meats and produce. The cooking has the taste of special home - cooked recipes that even guests are pleasantly surprised since the recipes came from ideas among cosmopolitan members or members' wives who have culinary talents, especially in Spanish cuisine.
Casino Español is also home to the "dependents," wives and young children of member. The small children with their yaya could play around the place the whole day and stay very safe, although it's the father who sign for them when they eat at the Terraza, next to the pool. On Saturday mornings, groups of teenage kids in comfy get ups lounge in corner tables at the Terraza, kids around, laugh lazily letting the morning slip to noon.
An old employee, Carlito Occo, 53, has been with the club for 34 years as waiter. Carlito started as a pin boy at the bowling alley when he was 17, says, "This place is just as if it were my home because I've spent most of a lifetime here". In fact, his brother also works here, has been employed by the club for 26 years and so is his cousin.
For many years Casino Español had been open to members only but with our function rooms and large ballroom, guests attend parties and wedding receptions as long as they are sponsored by a member. For guests entering Casino Español is a fulfilled discovery of the wonderful facility provided by the club. To the new generation, the names of the function rooms create an atmosphere of being in Spain with names of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Cervantes Hall), Dulcinea, Sancho Panza, Don Quijote rooms. Even the young today are fascinated by Casino Español's old graciousness during affairs with their formal dress, especially during cotillon de honor.
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