The sky was ashen and gloomy and the ground wet from six days of relentless rain that had poured down on Balesin, an island resort off the coast of Quezon province.
It was Valentine’s Day, the day before the beach wedding of Senator Chiz Escudero and actress Heart Evangelista.
Wedding guests and suppliers started arriving by the hour, flown in by small chartered planes in the midst of unwelcoming weather.
Florist and event stylist Michael “Badang” Rueda was shuttling between the reception venue at the Italian-inspired Toscana village and the ceremony venue at the beach-side Balesin Spa, a ten-minute car ride away.
He and his 42-person team had transformed both outdoor sites from bare spaces to elegant white floral landscapes.
But the persistent downpour and the strong winds were threatening to ruin their masterpiece.
Chiz, who was supposed to be relaxing before his big day, was probably the busiest person on the island.
He had made it his duty to oversee all the details of the event. He personally planned the guests’ room assignments and preferences—who would be staying together, who would have the next room to whom, and who would be needing extra chocolate at the room’s mini bar.
He knew the ceremony and reception program by heart, down to the exact time in the song that would cue him to start walking down the aisle.
(It was at one minute and 20 seconds of the song “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds Five, from his and Heart’s recent favorite Hollywood romantic movie, About Time.)
In an interview with YES!, the senator explains that hands-on overseeing is his work style: “I do things that way. It lessens the tension, lessens the stress on your wedding day. It may be stressful now, but that will pay off on the day itself.”
He was a man on a mission.
But his otherwise well-calculated and thoroughly organized plans were getting bogged down because of the unexpected torrential rains.
Still, the senator was in a jovial mood. He was entertaining his guests, laughing at jokes, and paying close attention to his bride-to-be.
Behind the scenes, he was working closely with the wedding crew, troubleshooting glitches and potential problems.
Everyone was on the edge—everyone except Heart.
The actress, who was celebrating her 30th birthday that Valentine’s Day, was the picture of calm.
She had already said in media interviews that she would be walking the aisle alone, without her parents Rey and Cecilia Ongpauco, who had publicly expressed their opposition to Heart’s relationship with Chiz.
Although her parents had already sent word that they would not be attending the nuptials, certain arrangements had been made should they change their minds: two seats were reserved on the flights going to Balesin, a villa was assigned to them, and their name cards were placed on the presidential table at the reception.
Come what may, Heart was ready to marry the man she loves. For her, each step of that walk symbolized taking the leap and making the ultimate commitment to share her life with Chiz.
At 1 a.m. of February 15, the rains still hadn’t let up. Chiz’s brother, Philip Escudero, related that he and the couple were discussing their options: moving the reception to Balesin Spa where the wedding ceremony was going to be held, transferring the reception altogether to an indoor venue, or waiting the rain out.
Heart blurted out: “If all else fails, then let’s get married in the rain! We’ll be happy and laugh about it after.”
When the time for the wedding came round, the sun finally came out.
Heart walked alone towards the man of her dreams, and together, hand in hand, they became one.
From the Balesin wedding to the Manila reception to the Sorsogon celebration, we bring you a special coverage of Heart and Chiz’s wedding in YES! magazine’s April 2015 issue.
Relive the couple’s intimate and elegant nuptials in our 43-page feature with over 180 photos.
Also in this issue is the hottest love team in primetime television today, Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano!
We visit them on the set of Forevermore in Pandacan, Manila, and learn that just like Xander Grande and Agnes Calay, the two lead stars are very at ease with each other.
In fact, Enrique admits to us that he has always been attracted to his leading lady.
And now that they’ve become closer, Liza confesses that she’s starting to have special feelings for her leading man.
“Well, sinabi ko sa kanya na gusto ko siya. At alam niya ’yon,” Quen says.
Liza, in a separate interview, says, “If there’s anyone that I want to be in a relationship with, it’s somebody that I know and somebody I can trust. Out of all the guys I know, I trust him [Quen] the most.”
PLUS: Kris Aquino’s birthday, Alden Richards’s outreach program in Payatas, Solenn Heussaff’s summer look, and Lovi Poe’s fashion picks.
#YESapril2015, our 15th anniversary issue, is now available in newsstands! (Soon on Apple, Zinio, and Buqo. Log on to THIS SITE for more details.)