Chiz: I still can’t believe it | Inquirer Entertainment

Chiz: I still can’t believe it

/ 12:08 AM February 18, 2015
SENATOR and Mrs. Escudero (from left) with his twin kids Joaquin and Cecilia, saying their vows, and about to seal it with a kiss. Photos by PAT DY

SENATOR and Mrs. Escudero (from left) with his twin kids Joaquin and Cecilia, saying their vows, and about to seal it with a kiss. Photos by PAT DY

It lasted about five seconds; it was “gentle” and “felt by everybody,” said GMA 7 vice president for drama Redgie Acuña-Magno when asked to describe the kiss that sealed the wedding of Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, 44, and actress Heart Evangelista, 30, on Sunday at the posh Balesin Island Resort off Quezon province.

It had rained heavily two days prior, but the two, unfazed, prepared to proceed with the plan even in a downpour.

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Mercifully, the rains let up and the sun peeked through dark clouds on the big day. But that didn’t mean there would be no more waterworks.

There wasn’t a dry eye, Magno said, when Evangelista, in a majestic Grace Kelly-inspired wedding gown by Dubai-based designer Ezra Santos, walked down the aisle. “She was beaming. She paused intermittently to say hello to guests. We were all crying happy tears for her. I remember smoke machines and blowers, and petals falling.”

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In the background, Mark Bautista sang “How Did You Know.”

Evangelista marched to the altar with neither of her parents, Reynaldo and Cecile Ongpauco, by her side. “She was a little teary, but she composed herself, and even managed to smile,” a source from Escudero’s camp said.

It was the bride’s sisters, Camille (maid of honor), Mich and Lissa, who couldn’t stop crying as they joined Evangelista near the altar to give her hand to Escudero.

Escudero, in a black-white Paul Cabral suit, was escorted to the altar by his twin children Joaquin and Cecilia, who greeted the bride with kisses.

The altar was adorned with 5,000 stems of whimsical white wisteria and a hundred crystal balls. The mass was officiated by Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, with concelebrators Fr. Joseph Erestain and Fr. Jerry Orbos, who delivered the homily.

The ceremony was witnessed by an estimated 150 guests. Magno told Inquirer Entertainment that the exchange of vows was “most touching.” She recounted, “Heart, in tears, told Chiz, ‘Thank you for loving me. Thank you for fighting for this love.’”

What she remembered most about Escudero’s vow, Magno said, was him saying, “You gave me a reason to live and believe in love again.”

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Simple, organized

He still couldn’t believe Evangelista was marrying him, the senator said, then threw in a joke that he was sure of her love, just the same, since she often said she found him handsome, a compliment he usually got only from his mother.

It was all very simple and well-organized, Magno related, beginning around 4 p.m. and ending just before sundown. “One of Heart’s sisters jested that Chiz would make a very good wedding coordinator.”

Aside from the couple’s close friends and a few colleagues, the TV executive said, “All the major malls in the country were represented—the Gokongweis, the Ayalas and the Sys were present.”

The reception was just as memorable, Magno said. Evangelista sang “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which she dedicated to her sisters, saying they were her sources of strength. One of them earlier read a letter that their father had written for Evangelista. They all hugged after Evangelista’s song.

Birthday dinner

Evangelista hosted a birthday dinner the night before. “It was especially moving,” Magno said, “when Heart’s helpers, including the nanny who has been with the family since before Heart was born, paid her a tribute. It was sweet of her to give them importance.”

The postwedding program concluded with a five-minute fireworks display. Escudero would often check on his kids, Magno said, hugging and kissing them.

Principal sponsors

Among the principal wedding sponsors were Felipe L. Gozon and Gilberto Duavit of GMA 7, Eugenio Lopez III of ABS-CBN; Viva Entertainment top honcho Vic del Rosario; tycoons Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Ramon Ang, Lance Gokongwei and Hans Sy; and prominent celebs Eddie Garcia, Susan Roces, Jackielou Blanco and Bibeth Orteza. Sen. Grace Poe was a secondary sponsor.

Evangelista’s bridesmaids included some of her friends in the industry—Jennylyn Mercado, Lovi Poe, Carla Abellana, Solenn Heussaff and Alessandra de Rossi. The color motif was salmon blush. Escudero’s groomsmen were close friends and lawyer colleagues.

Evangelista—Love Marie Ongpauco in real life—changed into a much simpler dress by designer Mark Bumgarner for the reception, where the newlyweds had their first dance as a married couple. They were then feted with messages from family and friends, treated to various video presentations and serenaded by guests singers Bautista, Jonalyn Viray and Kyla.

A two-part special about the wedding will be aired on March 1 and 8 on GMA 7.

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TAGS: Alessandra De Rossi, Bibeth Orteza, Carla Abellana, Chiz Escudero, Chiz Heart wedding, Eddie Garcia, Eugenio Lopez III, Ezra Santos, Felipe L. Gozon, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Gilberto Duavit, Grace Poe, Hans Sy, Heart Evangelista, Jackielou Blanco, Jennylyn Mercado, Lance Gokongwei, Lovi Poe, Ramon Ang, Redgie Acuña-Magno, Solenn Heussaff, Susan Roces, Vic del Rosario
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