Heart reaches out to Cesca over Balesin mix-up
MANILA - TV host Cesca Litton said she and her fiancé, Tyke Kalaw, had been preparing for months for their wedding in Balesin Island Club on February 14, 2015, until she got a call last Saturday informing her that the date has been reserved for another couple's nuptials.
In Litton's statement read on "Aquino & Abunda Tonight" by guest host Toni Gonzaga on Tuesday, Litton confirmed that her planned wedding in Balesin was the subject of a viral Facebook post criticizing the resort for supposedly prioritizing "a celebrity-politician couple [who wanted their wedding] on the same day."
While the post, reportedly from makeup artist Ria Gamboa, did not mention any names, online speculation tagged newly engaged couple Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero and actress Heart Evangelista.
Litton, who got engaged to Kalaw in April, said they had been making trips to Balesin as early as May. At the time, she said the resort's management confirmed that February 14, 2015 was available to accommodate a wedding.
During their first ocular visit, Litton said they arranged with staff members of Balesin to have the wedding ceremony held at the resort's chapel, the cocktails at Balesin Sala, and the reception at Toscana Village.
During their latest trip to the resort in August, the former ABS-CBN host said she brought along their wedding coordinator and stylist. This time, she said she and Kalaw arranged more details with Balesin management, including the food and table layout.
"We sat down with managers to discuss the logistics and rooming, and, again, clarified that February 14 is available," she said.
'A call to the owner'
However, over the weekend, Litton said she was informed that Balesin could no longer accommodate the wedding on the said date.
"It came as a surprise when I received a phone call from my coordinator just last Saturday that Chiz and Heart had been approved for February 14 after they had spoken to the owner, Mr. Ongpin, to reserve the date," she said, referring to businessman Roberto Ongpin, chairman of Balesin developer Alphaland.
Litton lamented that her months of planning had been put to waste, supposedly by a single phone call. She added that she had to spend on traveling numerous times to Balesin to finalize details of her wedding.
"Had we known that all it took was a call to the owner, then perhaps none of those formalities should have been followed," she said.
"In all our trips to Balesin and discussion with management asking to reserve February 14, we were always told it was available," Litton added. "We would not have invested time and money, including flying out our coordinator and stylist, had they informed us that the venue was booked from the beginning."
Heart: We're not like that
Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero and actress Heart Evangelista pose in Balesin for the December 2013 issue of HOLA! Philippines
In a statement published on Balesin's official website, Ongpin said he indeed offered Escudero and Evangelista to have their wedding held at the resort after hearing of their engagement.
Supposedly upon getting confirmation from the couple, Ongpin said he checked with the reservations department of Balesin whether the venue would be available on February 14. At the time, Ongpin added, nobody had confirmed on that date.
"So, nobody has been 'bumped off,'" he said.
Meanwhile, in separate interviews, both Escudero and Evangelista said they have nothing to do with the supposed "bumping off" of a planned wedding in Balesin.
"We're not like that," the actress said. "This is the best day of our lives. I'm a bride-to-be, she's a bride-to-be. Who would do that to any bride-to-be? There's no truth to it and I hope ma-iron out nila."
On social media, Evangelista also clarified to her followers that no final date has been set for her and Escudero's wedding.
Escudero echoed this in an interview with Senate reporters, adding that the supposed issue concerning the other wedding is for Balesin to resolve. "Sa parte namin, ni wala pa kaming pinal na petsa o lugar," he said. "Paano naman kami magiging dahilan at madadamay sa issue na 'yan?"
According to Gonzaga, who spoke with Evangelista on the phone earlier Tuesday, the actress has tried reaching out to Litton on the issue. Gonzaga, however, said she could not give details of the conversation between the two.