Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero and actress Heart Evangelista pose in Balesin for the December 2013 issue of HOLA! Philippines
Couple says nothing to do with postponed event
MANILA -- Contrary to a claim in a viral Facebook post, no wedding was "bumped off" at Balesin Island Club to supposedly accommodate the nuptials of Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero and actress Heart Evangelista, the resort said in a statement on Tuesday.
In the statement published on Balesin's official website, Alphaland chairman Roberto Ongpin said his attention was called by his daughter on the Facebook post alleging that a planned wedding on February 14, 2015 was postponed because "a celebrity-politician couple wanted theirs on the same day."
While the post, reportedly from makeup artist Ria Gamboa, did not mention any names, some speculated it referred to Evangelista and Escudero, who got engaged just last month.
"At first, I was amused by the report, but it seems to be getting some traction and I wanted to set the record straight for everyone," Ongpin said.
The billionaire businessman explained: "I wish everyone to know that it was I who actually invited Heart and Chiz to have their wedding at Balesin when I had dinner with them shortly after they returned from their trip to Paris sometime in July and even before they announced their formal engagement."
"I was therefore very pleased when Chiz and Heart called me a few weeks ago to tell me that they had finally decided on Balesin as their wedding venue. As many of you know, both Chiz and Heart have been friends of mine for some time now. Balesin is one of their favorite places and they go there quite often with their families and friends," he said.
Late last year, the couple also had a photo shoot together at the resort for the December 2013 issue of lifestyle magazine HOLA! Philippines, which detailed their love story.
According to Ongpin, he checked with the reservations department of Balesin whether the venue would be available on February 14, after receiving confirmation from Escudero and Evangelista. At the time, Ongpin added, nobody had confirmed on that date.
"So, nobody has been 'bumped off,'" he said.
Noting that Escudero and Evangelista are thinking of holding their wedding either at Balesin's Royal Villa or the Toscana Village, Ongpin said the resort can accommodate more than one wedding at a time, "as long as the parties do not consist of a thousand people."
Ongpin, who is currently in Europe, said he felt compelled to address the matter because "innocent people are being unfairly criticized, and in order to settle the issue once and for all."
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?"