Chiz and Heart: We're Back

At the birthday dinner she threw for her closest friends at Blackbird, Heart Evangelista looked dazzling in the arm of lost-and-found escort—Senator Chiz Escudero

Images Justin Louise Soriano

REUNITED Senator Chiz Escudero joins Heart Evangelista for a birthday dinner she threw for her closest friends

To celebrate her 38th birthday, Heart Evangelista threw an intimate dinner at Blackbird for some of her closest friends, and I was happy to be seated next to her husband, Senator Chiz Escudero. I wasn’t very comfortable seeing Chiz for the first time since his birthday dinner at their house in October 2021. When the breakup between them was abuzz in the rumor mill, I also neglected to reach out to Chiz, or even to send him a birthday greeting last year. Well, when we used to hang out a lot, and I would go to Sorsogon sometimes and spend the weekend with the Escudero couple, he would always tease me over drinks that I was 100 percent Team Heart and his goal was to get even just one percent of me on his side.

Of course, I root for Team Heart and Chiz! I’ve been somewhat privy to the ever-changing dynamics between the two of them and it’s lovely to watch them grow as a couple as well as individuals. These changing dynamics, after all, are a sign of a healthy, growing relationship. No one in his right mind or hers should expect that whom they are marrying today will be the same person 20 years later or, in the case of Heart and Chiz, even just seven years later.

SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMANTÉ Heart Evangelista wears a limited edition (only three have been produced) diamanté mesh dress from YSL Couture

In fact, as Chiz entered the room, though I wasn’t sure if I should feel awkward or not, I gushed, “Chiz, ang guapo mo na (You’re looking so good)!” He shook my hand, a little coldly, and then instead of sitting next to me, on his assigned seat, he switched places with Heart. 

“Wait, Chiz,” I said. “You’re supposed to sit next to me.” 

He smiled, still coldly, and said, “No, tabi ka na sa bestfriend mo (No, just sit beside your bestfriend).”

Senator Chiz Escudero looked perfect beside his wife, who wore a limited edition YSL couture, a crystal sheath, only three in the world, made of diminutive YSL diamantés, in which she glowed, sparkly, shiny, and shimmering.

But I thought I knew Chiz enough to assume he just needed a little time to warm up to me, like maybe 15 minutes. And I was right. In no time, not even 15 minutes, even with Heart between us, Chiz and I were as we always are whenever we are together, with him part teasing me and also sharing with me his opinions and feelings about the burning issues of the day. It’s never small talk with Chiz, though there is always banter, when we are together, even when I met him for the first time when he and Heart were just dating. He said to me, after we were introduced, “You must be feeling under siege because, you know, the bloggers are taking over.” I thought he came on too strong, but as soon as we sat for dinner, I noticed how attentive he was, personally making sure I had enough rice or wine or water or whatever he felt I needed. So I liked him right away. This was in 2014.

But Chiz does look good now that he is more mindful of his diet. He has also been going to the gym more religiously. At this birthday dinner, he looked perfect beside his wife, who wore a limited edition YSL couture dress, only three in the world, whose three buyers the YSL team handpicked. Made up of diminutive YSL diamantés, the crystal sheath looked more like body jewels that made Heart look sparkly, shiny, and shimmering, a flash of blinding beauty, a vision of gold, exactly like the superstar she has become in world fashion.

Emotionally, Heart is in a place as good as the front row of a Chanel show at Paris Fashion Week. Gone are the aches and pains she used to undergo, but that’s also because over the past few months, she too has basked in the healing power of self-love. Only a few months ago, when she also threw a gettogether at Blackbird before flying to Paris to spend the Christmas holidays, she was telling me about feeling alone in Paris, “when it’s so cold taking a shower is such a torture,” as she put it. I told her to embrace the opportunity, to walk around the wintry streets, to spend long afternoons by herself at the cafés, to buy herself a baguette at a boulangerie in the morning and ease herself into the day. After all, this is a rare opportunity for someone like Heart. Those were things she couldn’t do in Manila.

In love so much giving and receiving are required. But look who’s talking—I’ve never been married. But a little fight does spice things up, though the fight stretches torturously over months. It’s par for the course when two people decide to become one. Expect some resistance on either side, but treat them as lessons in the art of compromise, in the balance between standing your ground and yielding. Though every relationship may be a handful every now and then, lucky are those who have found the one. Not everyone does.