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Heart Evangelista on dating Chiz Escudero |

Sunday Lifestyle

Heart Evangelista on dating Chiz Escudero

WILL SOON FLOURISH - Wilson Lee Flores -

Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame. — Henry David Thoreau

One of the most beau tiful and intelligent actresses in the Philippines is 27-year-old Heart Evangelista of GMA 7. She is single, yet persistently linked to celebrity suitors like actors and top politicos. Educated in California and at Colegio San Agustin in Makati, the part-Filipina/part-Spanish/part-Chinese actress is granddaughter of the founder of the Barrio Fiesta restaurant chain and also great-granddaughter of an ethnic Spanish businessman who once served as a Bicol governor.

Excerpts from our interview:

PHILIPPINE STAR: Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago told me you’re like her foster daughter, any plans to go into politics like her?

HEART EVANGELISTA: Well, it has crossed my mind… I like doing civic projects and I’d definitely want to someday do something outside showbiz. Tita Miriam has been very good to me. She brought me to the United Nations in Yew York with her to campaign for the International Criminal Court, and I was able to talk to different ambassadors. It was a different world for me.

Any advice given by Senator Miriam?

She has been encouraging me to go back to school, but the problem is my hectic schedule. I’m planning to go to college, but we’ll see….

What are the secrets behind your sexy physique?

(Smiles) I work out. Kung kaya ng schedule ko (if possible with my schedule), I work out every day, if not, every other day. I do the treadmill for 40 minutes. I also take a lot of vitamins such as multi-vitamins, vitamin C and others.

Miriam is a good friend of your mom Cecille, you’re really also close to her daw?

Tita Miriam is like my mom. She is very kind and caring. Sometimes we’re on the phone talking for three hours. I talk to her when I’m depressed. She cracks jokes with me, I talk to her about my friends, about my being single, my love life, etc. I’d also sleep at her house. She describes me as being “like a waif,” that I’m very helpless and very naïve about a lot of things.

I’m sure your rumored suitor Senator Chiz Escudero was introduced by Miriam?

(Laughs) Yes, Senator Chiz talaga was introduced by Tita Miriam, but our going to dinner doesn’t mean we’re romantically imvolved.

How many times have you had dinners with Chiz?


What did you talk about?

My God, nothing…anything and everything under the sun.

Your impressions of Chiz?

I think he’s brilliant yet he’s also a down-to-earth guy.

So your foster mom Miriam already approves of Chiz as your possible boyfriend?

Hindi naman (not really). She introduces me to different people, to good, eligible men… I don’t want to think that way pa with anybody. At this point of my life, I’d like to give myself a chance to be alone, to be independent.

You’re not like some girls who might want to be First Lady, either through Chiz or P-Noy?

(Laughs) No.

Your TV series Legacy just ended, what will you be busy with next?

My next TV soap with GMA 7 is Luna Blanca, where I’ll work with Lani Mercado and Bianca King. I’m going to travel to Europe in June, to cities like Rome, Paris. There’s so many nice things about being single; you have yourself really present with you like 100 percent.

That’s a positive outlook, because critics see President Aquino’s being single as a negative. Do they?

Yes, his critics think so.

Any advice to P-Noy on how to better handle being single?

I can really relate to his being single. One thing I’m sure of is that it’s not easy to find your lifetime partner. My advice to P-Noy? To take his time, to choose wisely.

Lea Salonga told me P-Noy should choose a girlfriend and wife after his presidency, so he could be sure the woman is sincere. Your views?

Puwede rin, so he can be more sure of his choice. Anyway, P-Noy has so much on his plate already now as leader of the country, so it would be wise for him to choose someone after his term, but it’s also all right to be inspired from time to time.

Her impression of Sen. Chiz Escudero?: He’s brilliant yet he’s also a down-to-earth guy.

Would you agree to go out dating with P-Noy, if invited?

Ah… Ah… I think dating the President would give you so much pressure. Di ba there’s the saying: Behind a man’s success is a woman… At this point in my life, I’m still trying to find… trying to grow into the woman that I will become. Every time I’m identified with somebody famous… I just know the feeling of people always talking about one’s private life and I really treasure my privacy. It just so happens also that I’m in showbiz and I can’t be snobbish to my friends in the press.

Miriam told me she really wanted to match you with P-Noy, you know that of course?

She was… Tita Miriam is always joking…..

When P-Noy was best man and you stood as his partner in Miriam’s wedding anniversary, what were your impressions of him?

He was very quiet, ‘yun lang. We weren’t given time to really talk, and then I heard he had to leave due to an emergency. He no longer made it to the reception.

Showbiz stars like you or politicos like Chiz and Koko Pimentel seem to have problems sustaining romantic relationships. Is it due to lack of privacy or time?

It’s very complicated, especially for me… But at the end of the day, we’re all public figures, so it’s inevitable for our private lives to be talked about.

Can your Tita Miriam’s match-making hopes on P-Noy and you progress?

Nothing to do with the President; one thing though, at this point in my life, I don’t like to be romantically linked with anyone. For once in my life, I just really want to stand alone.

How many boyfriends have you had before?

Three, pero huwag na nating i-enumerate.

I heard actor Jericho Rosales was your most serious relationship?

Sort of… I did go against the world for him. We were together for three years, but to cut it short, all is fair in love and war (smiles).

Both your parents were against Jericho daw as your boyfriend?


How old were you at that time?

I was about to turn 21.

Why were your parents against Jericho? I heard they were also against your last boyfriend Daniel Matsunaga, why?

They’ll always be against anyone. I think they want somebody for me who doesn’t exist, a guy who is above perfection (laughs).

I think all parents think that way and often they’re wiser than us kids?

Yes. My parents are very unique, that’s why I’ve decided to have a second mom in Tita Miriam.

I heard a young politician named Ian Dy was your ex-boyfriend? How is he related to the former governor of Isabela?

Ian is nephew of the governor, he is now a vice-mayor in Isabela. He was my first ever boyfriend, and after Jericho, I went back to him. His dad was a one-time mayor, Paul Dy.

You went back to him, but why did you end your relationship?

I was too busy with my work, my career, but he’s such a good guy.

How are you now with your fellow GMA 7 star Marian Rivera, are you friends?

We don’t talk. I think things are just better that way.

Chiz Escudero has a bright political future and might run for vice-president, do you think he can pass your parents’ high standards to be your boyfriend?

Oh my gosh! (Laughs) Let’s just say they just want someone perfect for me.

With several senators maritally separated like Chiz, Enrile, Koko, Pia, Loren, with Kiko and Ralph married to wives who’ve also separated, do you think our legislators might pass a divorce law? We’re the only country on earth without a divorce law.

I’m not against divorce, but I do believe it’s really not a joke to find a life partner. In fact, better be alone and take your time rather than complicate things.

Apart from persistent rumors of romance with Chiz which you deny, another name being linked to you is actor Sid Lucero. Is he also courting you?

We’re really good friends. We can relate to each other well, because we’re both going through a break-up. Sid, Alessandra de Rossi and Lovi Poe, I met all of them on the GMA 7 TV project Legacy, and I can say I’ve met my lifetime friends.

Who started your family’s Barrio Fiesta restaurant chain, your grandfather?

No, it was our grandmother Chit Evangelista who started Barrio Fiesta, she had Chinese blood and liked to cook. Our grandfather Gen. Bonifacio Ongpauco had a film production company called Everlasting Pictures. My lola (grandma) was fond of cooking, so she catered the shootings and became famous because the stars would crave her crispy pata, that’s how Barrio Fiesta started. Later, family members branched out into Isdaan in Tarlac and Laguna, the Bakahan at Manukan restos, Pamana in Tagaytay, the Singing Cooks & Waiters restos. They’re all related.

Your family members sold something to Splash Corporation?

Yes, the famous Barrio Fiesta bagoong was recently sold to Splash.

Do you cook?

Yes, I cook, but not very well (laughs). I cook steak, pastas and the Spanish croquetas dish.

I heard you had a Spanish ancestor who was a politician too?

My maternal great-grandfather Don Juan del Gallego was a Spanish adventurer from Asturias, Spain. He sailed on a galleon ship to the Philippines. He then went to the Bicol region to build a town that eventually became known as Del Gallego. He had copra plantations and cattle businesses. He also built a Spanish-style house in Albay overlooking the sea. He had 16 children, all from one Filipina wife who was my great-grandmother. He was assassinated in front of his house. His son — my grandfather’s brother — also became governor.

What is the favorite food of your ex-boyfriend Jericho?

Bicol Express, which I don’t know how to cook (laughs).

What would you like to cook for Chiz Escudero?

My God (laughs)! He’s very in love… with the country… I’d probably take all of my friends to Barrio Fiesta.

How old is your lola now who founded the restaurant chain?

My lola died cooking. I think she had a heart attack while cooking in her house. It was because of her cooking so she got tired. She died doing what she likes to do and cooking for someone she loved, yung second husband niya, kasi widow na siya noon (which was her second husband, because she was already a widow then).

Your lola’s life story could be made into a movie.

Yes, it’s a colorful saga. In fact, I plan a cookbook someday with all her delicious concoctions. No matter where you go in the world or fancy the restos you’ve been to, people will still come back and look for our traditional foods like kare-kare and crispy pata, with matching singing cooks and waiters. That’s how I started my love for the arts. I was then seven years old and wearing Filipiniana attire, singing songs like Basta Kailangan Kita and Pangako Sa Iyo in our Barrio Fiesta restaurant in San Francisco.

Like Sharon, Kris and Anne Curtis, you’re one of the showbiz stars who love to read. What book are you reading now?

My first book when I was 12 was Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Right now, I’m reading a book on Princess Diana and also trying to finish a book given by Tita Miriam entitled World History. No matter how busy my schedule is, pinipilit kong magbasa (I force myself to read). I don’t go to school now, so I read, choose my friends and enjoy good conversations.

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