MANILA - What Heart Evangelista thought would be a regular dinner last Saturday turned out to be a gathering of close friends and family to celebrate her engagement to Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero, her boyfriend of over two years.
In a three-minute video of the wedding proposal furnished to ABS-CBN News on Monday, Evangelista appeared confused by the big setup at the garden of Escudero's home in Sorsogon, having thought she was only having dinner with his family.
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The 29-year-old actress was surprised with the arrival of some of their close friends, including TV stars Alessandra de Rossi, Lovi Poe and Rocco Nacino.
Evangelista then turned emotional with the appearance of Escudero, who was accompanied by his mother, his two children with former wife Christine Flores, and his sister and her two kids.
Upon approaching Evangelista, Escudero held up his phone to show her a message that moved her to tears. According to a staff member of Escudero, the congratulatory message was from Rey Ongpauco, Evangelista's father who had publicly objected to her relationship with the 44-year-old lawmaker.
Escudero had their guests cheering when he finally knelt to propose to Evangelista. The actress triggered laughter when she corrected Escudero, who initially tried putting the ring (handed down by the senator's mother) on Evangelista's right finger instead of her left.
Evangelista and Escudero shared a kiss after she emotionally said, "Yes."
The party was capped with a fireworks display.
The couple, according to Escudero's staff member, had been in Sorsogon since Thursday "under the guise of a vacation." Without Evangelista's knowledge, guests started arriving by Friday to join them in the engagement party, which Escudero had been planning for months.
Evangelista's mother, Cecile Ongpauco, has yet to return ABS-CBN News' requests for comment on the engagement. Mrs. Ongpauco, by Evangelista's admission, remains estranged from the actress after their publicized tiff over Escudero in March 2013.