After announcing that they are now engaged, TV personality Kris Aquino and former Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento finally shared on Wednesday, October 27, how their love story started.
In an interview with the actress youngest son Bimby, the couple revealed that they first met at Bahay Pangarap at the Malacañang Palace, through Kris's brother, the late former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.
“It’s in Bahay Pangarap, the first time. Of course the former President introduced me to her. Siyempre nag-aalangan ako dahil andyan si Sir. [Na-starstruck ako], sobra," admitted Mel, who served as the DILG Secretary under the administration of Noynoy from September 2015 to June 2016.
“We would ride in the same helicopter. And then sabi ko, kwento naman ako nang kwento sa kanya, but how come hindi niya ako pinapansin?" recalled Kris. "And it was so weird because most people ‘pag kinekwentuhan ko and I ask questions, parang they’re natutuwa naman to talk to me. And then siya talaga would ignore me. ‘Yung parang one question, and one [really short] answer. So I had to ask the staff na shy ba siya talaga? Or ano ba talaga? But then I said I don’t think naman he’s gay, kasi if he’s gay, ‘di natuwa na siya sa akin."
Sarmiento admitted that he had a crush on Kris.
“Siyempre admittedly, crush ko siya," he said. "Napapanood mo sa TV tapos biglang nasa harap mo. Tapos boss ko pa kuya niya. So nung nasa tabi na siya, hindi ako makapagsalita... She would start talking to me but si Sir nandyan, eh. Baka magalit.”
HOW THEY RECONNECTED
According to Kris, she and Sarmiento got close in early 2016, when there was a kidnap threat against Kris and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.
“Okay, kasi parang [I was told] that he had a presentation that he had wanted to show. Remember there was a kidnap threat against us? That was 2016, and my agenda was to find out the real details because I felt like Tito Noy had given us a cleansed version," said Kris.
"So I felt, kung ma-befriend ko siya, he’ll spill the beans… I will not go into details because that’s a matter of national security but yes, he did give me the truth," she added.
Kris said Sarmiento would often visit her at her house since then, although it took three dinners before she finally got him to talk.
“Balik nang balik, siyempre nakakasama na kayo. Takbo ng panahon, parang iba na ‘yung nararamdaman ko," admitted Sarmiento. "So parang, teka. Siyempre naiisip ko, baka magalit si Sir, eh, multuhin ako…"
When Noynoy died earlier this year, Sarmiento admitted that he went to his grave to "talk" to him about his feelings for Kris.
“After ng libing niya, I went to the cemetery. Just, like, talking to him, telling him about what’s going on. I wanted to, of course, control myself pero wala eh. Siyempre naiisip ko siya (Noy) eh. Naiisip ko na siya, baka magalit sa akin pero wala, eh," he said.
When asked if he felt his late boss' spirit, Sarmiento answered in the affirmative, but when pressed for details, it was Kris who said: “No na. No more na. Basta he said sorry. Parang he was saying sorry to Tito Noy. I don’t know why he was talking to a tomb, but, you know, parang nagso-sorry siya."
It was last Sunday, October 24, when Kris announced her engagement to Sarmiento through an Instagram post where she referred to him as her best friend and "the man I said yes to spending the rest of my life with." She also said that while she is proud to be an Aquino, she is looking forward to becoming a Sarmiento.
In her post, the former actress also thanked her brother, who passed away last June, for paving the way for their love story.
"It’s been exactly four months since we so unexpectedly lost our brother. Sure ako, ayaw niya talagang iwanan si 'bunso' na walang magbabantay at mag-aalaga na siguradong pinagkakatiwalaan niya," she said.
"Somehow I believe there really was a matchmaker in heaven who must be smiling now. I can almost hear his voice telling me, 'Kristina, tama na, respect the fact na gusto ni Mel ng tahimik na buhay.' And finally, 'bunso' has learned to obey," she added.