All you need is love! For 21 blissful years, love has always been in the air for Butch and Cris Albert, the couple behind Fila Philippines.
The two marked their anniversary with a grand garden wedding celebration held in Antonio’s Tagaytay, where they renewed their nuptial vows in the presence of their family and dearest friends.
The event, complete with the hashtag #love21BC, was an exhilarating experience, directed by one of the hottest new event planners on the scene, Javi Martinez—with the complete collaboration of Cris, of course.
For the big day, Cris turned Antonio’s into a castle of dreams, embraced by imported blooms from Holland, Ecuador and Germany, all beautifully arranged by`
God’s best was witness to the celebration and, indeed, was a reminder of how a love that stands against time can be breathtakingly beautiful.
At the rehearsal party a few days before the big affair, Robert arranged my home to replicate the wedding ceremony setup. While chatting with Robert, we finalized the flower planning for the upcoming Red Charity Gala, which he always supports.
Cris is “lovee” to all, and she and Butch are graciousness personified. Aside from Fila Philippines, their entrepreneurial endeavors include Athletes Gym and Dive II, the master owner of TIVA, Outdoors, Everest and Freestyle brands. They usually take on the titles of president and chair, but these businesses are true, destiny partnerships that go beyond titles.
The celebration was a three-part extravaganza. It opened with a posh, pastel-theme garden wedding, with music by a string quartet from Manila Philharmonic Orchestra.
Among the principal sponsors were Vickie Belo, Timmy Tan, Helen Ong, Jose Arnulfo Veloso, Vicky Zubiri, Johnny Litton, Korina Sanchez, Kevin Tan, Alice Eduardo and Ralph Joseph.
Escorting Cris was Maurice Arcache. Man of honor was Alex Van Hagen.
Secondary sponsors included Anton San Diego, Pepper Teehankee, Tim Yap, Sheila Romero, Aivee Teo and me.
Bridesmaids, to name a few, were Sari Yap, Small Laude, Cristalle Henares, Linda Ley and Len Olbes.
Cris’ vows were filled with honesty and sincerity. She recounted how, 21 years ago, she married Butch not realizing how important a decision it was, knowing only that she loved him. Beaming in her regal Rajo Laurel gown, Cris showed her overflowing love that defines her unconditional commitment to always stand by her husband.
Their lovely daughter Isabella and diva Pops Fernandez surprised Butch with a song to stand for Cris’ vows.
After the solemn ceremony, the merriment continued at Antonio’s lanai, where The Bloomfields performed the couple’s favorite songs.
But #love21BC came full circle at their Shakespearean banquet, with a ballroom dressed like it was lifted from a baroque painting, and a live operatic performance from the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra and soprano Myra Meneses.
Dinner was nothing short of exceptional as well. Antonio’s served an exquisite menu. An overflow of champagne toasts for the newly re-wedded couple also filled the room with love and happiness.
A few days after, the beautiful gown that Rajo made for me was perfect for the special Philip Stein event held at the Rigodon Ballroom of Peninsula Manila. Rajo and I joined Johnny Litton, Paolo and Suzi Abrera, and Paco and Christine Sandejas at the glamorous affair, emceed by Bianca Valerio.
Highlighting the event was Lea Salonga performing an exclusive concert entitled “The Sound of Legacy.” The multi-awarded artist has collaborated with Philip Stein to create a watch with her name on it.
Will Stein, CEO and co-founder of Philip Stein, welcomed the guests on behalf of his wife and brand co-founder, Rina. In his brief remarks, he noted that they were “launching tonight the newest collection from Philip Stein, which perfectly matches the life and style of Lea Salonga, as we share similar values—that of passion, excellence, and purpose.”
Indeed, the global timepiece is known for fusing luxury and natural wellness technology in its world-class quality accessories. Philip Stein is known for health, wellbeing, and living in tune, a brand legacy that differentiates it from other timepieces.
The audience was mesmerized when Lea entered the ballroom with her opening number, “Something’s Coming” from “West Side Story.” Musical director was her brother, maestro Gerard Salonga.
Lea capped the show with her original song, “The Journey,” as she encouraged the audience to build their own legacies, starting immediately. “Today is the perfect time to begin,” she said.
The magical time didn’t end there, as everyone in the audience was asked to lift the glass cloches at the center of their tables, to reveal the Legacy collection watches hidden underneath.
Lea remarked on behalf of Will Stein: “This means a lot to me, and to us. We hope that these timepieces will serve as a beautiful reminder for you to never stop believing that you have what it takes to build on your legacy—every day.”
The Legacy Collection, along with the Lea Salonga Legacy Limited Edition watch, will be distributed exclusively first in the Philippines, as a tribute to Lea’s roots, which is also Philip Stein’s way to say “thank you” to Filipino customers who have been loyal to the brand for the past decade.
Only 222 pieces were made for the Lea Salonga Legacy Limited Edition watch, and the Legacy Collection is available in Philip Stein boutiques, Lucerne, Chronos, Wrist_pod and Swissgear stores nationwide. (www. philipstein.com)
In closing, I would like to greet my two in-laws, Myda Prieto and Philip Romualdez, a very happy birthday. They share the same birthdate and I look forward to writing about their celebration in a future column.