Love and a pinch of kilig.
Ask any couple you know what their favorite thing to do is and you’re guaranteed to hear “eating” as a recurring hobby of theirs. Actress Iza Calzado and Ben Wintle, co-founder of the Booky app, are no exception to that, only they did a little more with the shared pastime of eating.
In a way, the Booky app is the love child of the newly engaged couple. We sat down with
mom and dad Iza and Ben and asked about their love story.
What does it feel like to be engaged?
“To be honest, it’s… kilig,” Iza gushes. “It’s fun to be the center of attention,” adds Ben.
“After 6 years, it’s like our relationship has a fresh spin but at the same time it’s so overwhelming because everybody knows; like MMDA officers are greeting me with congratulations. It’s a little random but it’s also nice. It seems like people are really happy for us so I’m happy too.”
“I’m just happy Iza’s happy.”
One fateful day in 2011
Six years is indeed a long time so let’s refresh your memory and take things back to the very beginning when the two lovebirds first met.
“I first saw Ben in 2011 after I hosted the Esquire Ball at the Peninsula Ballroom. I remember seeing him with another cute guy, who happened to be Ralph [Ben’s brother], but really seeing Ben. He caught my eye and I thought, ‘Who is that guy? There’s two of them, but who is that?'”
“I first saw Iza on TV when I was living in Shanghai but the first time I saw Iza in real life was at the Peninsula.”
“O, and then?” Iza is waiting for her fiance’s answer.
“And then? What did you think when you saw me?”
“I thought what a beautiful, confident woman. I’d like to say hello.”
Ben and Iza sitting on a tree, e-a-t-i-n-g
When asked what they love doing together, Ben readily answered, “Kain… We love to eat because we’re both piggies.” At this point, he lets out some gas that doesn’t slip by Iza “Omg, you just farted!” to which he gives a sly ‘hehehe’ and moves on.
“We love to eat and then…”
“Travel!” Iza says excitedly.
“… to eat,” he agrees.
“We also work out together.”
“So that we can eat more,” finishes Ben.
With their shared love of eating out but not having a singular platform to turn to when deciding where to eat, they appropriately birthed the Philippine food app, Booky.
The couple that eats together, stays together.
“I love that Iza doesn’t mind the smell of my farts. I love that we like the same poods. I love that Iza has a lot of ways to express herself. She adds a lot of color to life,” he says shyly, “Okay your turn.”
“Well, I love that Ben balances me. He pulls me back to the ground when I’m flying too high up and getting lost in the stars which I tend to do. And I love that he’s good at the things I’m not good at… and he’s gwapo.”
At this point, the couple has completely taken over the interview. Ben asks the next question, “What’s your favorite pood… poods… that the other person cooks for you? … I love Iza’s chili. Turkey chili, my favorite,” he sings.
“Because it’s one of the only things I can cook,” says Iza with a laugh, “Hmm, from Ben—sweet potato fries that I learned to make from you and banana pancake.” Turkey chili with sweet potato fries and banana pancake for dessert sounds like dinners at home are pretty colorful for the couple.
From dining tables to diamond rings
We wouldn’t be the first ones to say that we’ve been waiting a long time for Ben to put a ring on Iza.
“I put a date on the proposal day, maybe two months ago. My mom was part of the plan because I knew she was going to be here around this time. And that’s it. I booked the venue maybe 3-4 weeks ago and asked friends to save the date.”
“Funny thing, the ring was hiding in my work bag which Iza was kind of hovering over the night before.” Good thing Iza didn’t go any further than hovering because that would have ruined the surprise of a lifetime.
“Super total surprise. I had no clue whatsoever because I thought it would just be family Sunday, maybe a little more special because there would be more family attending. All I wanted was a photo at Sonja’s.”
“If not now, when?”
Since first laying eyes on each other back in 2011, the couple has seen and eaten their way through the world. When you think successful couples, Ben and Iza are definitely up there. One half comes with the limelight while the other dives head first into the ever-growing tech industry. And yet, they’ve emerged, as Iza puts it, “Happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.” One can’t help but wonder, why now?
“No, we waited 5 years because we both weren’t ready,” Iza admits.
“Career wise, there were some questions on timing and Booky is going super well now and so there’s definitely a lot more certainty in that area in my life,” says Ben.
“For me, I wasn’t really ready before now. Winning [the Yakushi Pearl Award] in Osaka was a thing for me. Like a sign. I guess early this year, things were more definitive. And you kind of reach a point in your life when you just say, ‘Hey, I’m ready… If not now, then when?”
“Better late than never.”
Better late than never, indeed. And for all you wondering, we asked the burning question…
Who is in charge?
Their dogs, Hugo and Chloe, bark loudly in the next room. “… the dogs,” Iza answers right as one of the dogs barks in agreement. When it comes to their travels, they share the responsibilities; Ben takes care of tickets while Iza does the packing. It’s a similar situation in the kitchen with Ben doing the cooking and Iza doing the dishes.
“But generally, who’s in charge?” Iza re-asks.
“Me,” Ben answers matter of factly, but she’s not having it.
“NO, me! Huh!”
Our biggest, sweetest congratulations to you, Ben and Iza!
For more stories of (the food you) love, The Booky Report is going to bring you more on all things sweet and edible!
Make Ben & Iza happy by downloading Booky and discover 900 of the top restaurants in Metro Manila and just watch as your foodiverse explodes!