The venerable Prince alberT roTisserie serves iTs lasT sTeak
We say a fond farewell to a most cherished Prince.
Prince Albert, for four decades, has always had its category of loyal clientele: CEOs, high-ranking government officials, movers and shakers of society. Not so much celebrities, or young upstarts—the restaurant is enduringly untrendy, resistant to change, and wears its old-fashionedness like a pair of starched cuffs. This was the kind of serious place one’s parents and grandparents went to, and for the same thing always: the prime rib. Service was discreet and personalized, and many high-profile men have felt comfortable enough to take women who were not their wives there to dine.
The InterContinental Manila announced that it would be closing down for good on December 31. After 46 years, the Philippines’ very first five-star hotel will be turned over to Ayala Land. Some say it has overstayed its welcome, a fading remnant of its ‘80s/’90s glory days. Nobody has attempted any protest movements to “save” the InterCon, despite it being a Leandro Locsin- designed building. The hotel was witness to Philippine political history during a 1989 coup attempt, but even a heritage buff like Carlos Celdran barely gave a shrug to the news of the shuttering of the once-grand dame of hotels. Its beloved Prince Albert Rotisserie, however, is a different story, and will go down in restaurant history as a true classic, but perhaps nobody will miss it as much as Rod Malabrigo.
Prince Albert’s head waiter has been with the InterCon for 29 years, and in those 29 years he has never had a Christmas holiday, a New Year’s Eve night off, nor a Father’s Day, and especially not a Valentine’s Day. But he has no regrets. Malabrigo started out as a banquet waiter and worked at the hotel’s different outlets from Gambrinus to Jeepney Cafe and Where Else? When he was made a regular employee after one year, he promised himself that each year would mark an achievement of a different goal. He would be a model employee. And he was—for three consecutive years, he had perfect attendance. He rose up the ranks, form busboy to waiter, to captain and sommelier. He has been sent all over the world for training and received VIP treatment himself in hotels abroad, when the GMs would find out his provenance was the famed Prince Albert.
“I love Intercon. I was so sad when they announced the closing,” Malabrigo says. “Prince Albert is my second home. Every day, I
heaD waiTer roD malabrigo looks back
on nearly 30 years aT The inTercon.