Empowering Legacy: Cris Albert, Who Lived a Life of Wisdom, Grace, and Confidence, Passes Away - LA Lives

The business leader leaves a legacy of women empowerment, positivity, and gratitude. 

The owner and CEO of Fila Philippines, Cris Albert, passed away on April 23. Her death was confirmed by the Abad Santos and Albert family.

Albert was a strong and passionate woman in business, a loving mother of two, and the wife of entrepreneur and philanthropist Jose Mari “Butch” Albert. In 2019, Albert was recognized as the Woman of the Year at the Asia Leaders Awards.

Image by Jerick Sanchez.

RELATED READ: Business Growth: Cris Albert On Learning From Mistakes, Saying No, And Handling Naysayers With Grace And Confidence

Person for others

With Butch, Albert set up the non-government organization Operation Compassion. The NGO is composed of iFoster, which supports orphaned children with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and iRebuild. 

The latter helps vulnerable society sectors receive emergency assistance and holistic community development. In the annual Fila Polo Cup held at Manila Polo Club, the couple would raise awareness for their multiple advocacies. 

Image by Jan Mayo.

Even as a teenager, Albert always knew she would lend a hand to those who needed it. “I like to love, share, and give back,” she shared. 

Albert would affectionately call the people around her “loveee,” just one example of how she routinely made friends and family feel special—it was a habit. To remember a woman who personified kindness and love comes with the memory of her warmth.

Image by Jan Mayo

In her multiple features on Lifestyle Asia, Albert always expressed gratitude to the people she loved when talking about her personal life. On business, the leader was gracious in sharing nuggets of wisdom rooted in her experiences as a woman and career-driven mother.

Cris Albert and her husband, Butch.

While achieving success in her ventures and helping communities, she admitted her gender was a hurdle in the workplace. 

Woman leader 

“I have sometimes been seen more as a socialite rather than a pure-blooded operator,” she told Lifestyle Asia in its October 2020 issue. “It is crucial that regardless of what happens, you must handle yourself with grace and confidence.” 

Cris Albert on the cover of Lifestyle Asia’s October 2020 issue.

Despite this fact, she persisted. For over 25 years, the executive has helmed Fila Philippines, and the sportswear brand has 420 outlets—one of the largest sports retailers in the country. 

With her mother’s influence, model and show choreographer Wanda Louwallien, Albert grew up surrounded by fashion. Apart from dabbling in commercial modeling, the Harvard graduate paved her way in the industry.

Cris Albert and Lifestyle Asia EIC Dong Ronquillo.

“Being in that circle exposed me to a lot of ideas. It exposed me to color and texture. In fact, I would know every fabric that you show,” Albert told Philstar when she was designing shoes for her brand Tiva in 2010. 

Life of balance  

Albert exemplified that achieving notable career is possible while being a hands-on parent.

 “I feel like as we keep moving forward, there will continue to be more women in the workplace, but family and home are where our heart is. So as a reminder, keep that balance,'” Albert shared. 

L-R: Nix Alanon, Rajo Laurel, Cris Albert, Arlene Cu, Dong Ronquillo, Robbie Carmona, and Mike Lagman.

“When I was little, I always saw my grandmother and mother working while also taking care of the family. I believe that has had a huge impact on me, I have always felt that managing a healthy work and family balance is especially important. At the end of the day, everything they did at work was for the family and the members of their community.”

Cris Albert and Dong Ronquillo.

Like how Louwallien’s profession inspired Albert, history repeats itself with Albert’s daughter, Isabela. “I’m very proud of what my parents have built, and I would love to be in the retail industry in the future,” Isabela told Lifestyle Asia in a digital cover story.

Friends of the entrepreneur took to social media their personal tributes to Albert. Pinky Tobiano wrote, “We will surely miss you @mscrisalbert! Heaven has a new beautiful angel in you Cris. Please watch over us always and share your love.” While Apples Aberin described Albert as a “most generous friend who lights up every room with her joyful energy.”

L-R: Cris Albert, Alelee Andanar, Tina Cuevas, Aivee Teo, Ana Lorenzana De Ocampo, and Arlene Cu.

In his Instagram story, Rajo Laurel thanked Albert for her endless kindness, while Nix Alanon shared that there’s “no one else quite like” her.

“I love you Atsie. You’ve been such a wonderful Ate and friend to me and to a lot of people,” Albert’s close friend and Lifestyle Asia EIC Dong Ronquillo shares in a message.

L-R: Dong Ronquillo, Cris Albert, Charmaine Lagman, and Tessa Valdes.

“You called everyone Loveee because that is who you are, such a loving person full of kindness, care and generosity. I couldn’t imagine manila without you, your expressions, your laugh, the funny wonderful stories we share, the beautiful moments we had are just so much. Heaven gained another angel. Please watch over us always. You will forever live in my heart and cherish all the wonder memories we shared together. I will painfully, so, very miss you.”

L-R: Leah de Guzman, Dong Ronquillo, Cris Albert, and Ruffa Gutierrez.

Last July, while telling the publication how she celebrated her birthday that year, Albert shared her gratitude toward her family, friends, and colleagues. 

“I am incredibly loyal and profoundly loving; I am grateful to have been blessed with so much sunshine,” she shared. 

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