Volcanic night of scintillating conversation and nonstop flirtingBy Larry Leviste
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The mix was explosive: cougars in haute couture and respected gays cheek to cheek with 22 handsome hunks of the Philippine rugby team, aka the Philippine Volcanoes, in tuxedos!
Throw in a never-ending river of Dom Perignon and you have an outstanding night of scintillating conversation and nonstop flirting.
Despite the Volcanoes in formal wear, the event was really a jersey presentation to officially announce the partnership between Fila Philippines and the national rugby team.
Apty called “Fila’pinas,” the dinner at the Prince Albert Rotiserrie of the InterContinental Manila was hosted and organized by Fila owners Butch and
Cris Albert, with their son Carlo.
The three welcomed guests into a magical garden created by Robert Blancaflor, who designed a series of rooms lit in primary colors.
Ours was in lustful scarlet, making Louie Cruz remark that it was “a garden in hell!”
Silver candelabras dripping with hydrangeas were the centerpiece of the tables during the sumptuous sit-down dinner.
Also on the tables were fragrant peonies and unopened tulips.
But Cris Albert’s stroke of genius was placing four members of the handsome Volcanoes at each dinner table. This provided excitement and interest as society gals and gays interviewed each hunk with curious passion.
At our table were Pepito Albert, Inno Sotto and Patrick Rosas on one end, and Dennis Lustico, Louie Cruz and I on the other. Of course, we peppered the intelligent hunks with penetrating questions—all in good fun.
Gambrinus Bar provided shrimp, pepperoni and baba ganoush hors d’oeuvres to complete the trademark “Albert party.”
Dinner consisted of roasted vegetables and scallops for starters, followed by soup and the main course a choice of Prince Albert’s famous Angus prime rib or fish.
Earlier, the hotel lobby was turned into a Fila and Volcanoes gallery with guests taking their refreshments as Sub Projekt’s R&B tunes played in the background.
Football Union president Rick Santos and Volcanoes captain Michael Letts gave their insights about the team and the future of rugby in the country.
Cris then presented official Fila jerseys to the Volcanoes, symbolically cementing the partnership between the brand and the team.
The players of Volcanoes are currently enjoying their spot in the limelight as the country’s newest heroes. They will fly to Moscow at the end of this month to prove their mettle at the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
The Philippine team battled Kenya, Samoa and Zimbabwe on June 28 and 29.
PHOTOS BY ANDREW TADALAN