Apr 25
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Assunta de Rossi lashes out at husband's family

Author: The Manila Bulletin

Sexy actress Assunta de Rossi is at it again, in a fighting mood, that is, as she lashed out at her husband's family when we asked how she was at the moment. Her smile switched to that of anger and bitterness as she claimed that her husband, former congressman Jules Ledesma, is being harrassed by his own family this time. (The last time Assunta was in a fighting stance was when she wanted out of her contract with ABS-CBN because she claimed the network has neglected her, even cutting to 80% her talent fee.)

"Eversince my mother-in-law died, they've been harassing my husband and I'm afraid this might affect him so much, baka atakihin siya sa puso at baka ikamatay pa niya. Kawawa naman ang asawa ko. Kawawa naman kami ng mga anak niya, mga anak namin." It's been three or four months now that Jules is being "harrassed" by his family, Assunta said.

"Sabi ko, pag hindi natuloy ang honeymoon ko, that's it, I'm going public..." She and Jules have wanted so much to go to Europe, in particular to Italy to visit Assunta's family, and who knows, the long-delayed "honeymoon" may finally bring forth a child to start their owh family. But with the problems beseiging Jules, "cancelled na ang honeymoon namin."

The still sultry actress, now going freelance (after ABS-CBN with whom she has a contract finally let her go after fighting it out hard of course) said she's currently working on the movie "Sycujor."

We chanced upon Assunta (sans Jules) at the well-attended despedida de soltera of Gina de Venecia's daughter Carissa Cruz at the Harbour Garden Tent of Hotel Philippine Plaza last Wednesday night.

Speaking of the despedida de soltera, it was a mix of the powers that be in both government and the private sector. Spotted among the well-dressed and well-heeled guests were political opponents but all friends of the de Venecias and Cruzes.

Leading the guests were President Gloria M. Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro. Also spotted were Senator Loi Ejercito and her MARE group, top government officials, congressmen and their spouses, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, former Senator Loren Legarda, personalities from the movie industry including Marichu Maceda, Gretchen Barretto, Eddie Gutierrez, Annabelle Rama and many others.

Yes, he may be famous and we may think we already know everything about him, but there's still a lot of things we don't know or seem to put importance to about pop icon Rex Smith, who Steve O'Neal Productions brought to town for another show last night at the Araneta Coliseum (where he did two very successful Valentine concerts in 2000) and at Hard Rock Cafe (tonight).

Over coffee Friday afternoon at the Gloria Jean's Coffees at Glorietta 3 (beside Tower Records), Rex charmed us with his warm personality and love for his Filipino fans while he told us of things seemingly not so well-known about him in the Philippines. For instance, he told us his sixth CD "SimplyRex" was recorded in Manila and was first released here. "I recorded it here, with talented Filipino musicians giving me support." Rex dedicated the album to his legions of fans in the country.

What's also not so well-known about him here, he said, is the fact that he is also an established movie, TV and theater actor, having done a lot of Broadway musicals, among them "Grease," "The Pirates of Penzance," "West Side Story," "Anything Goes," "Sunset Boulevard" Canadian production; "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Godspell," "Kiss Me Kate," "They're Playing Our Song," "The Human Comedy," "Grand Hotel," "Oklahoma" and many others. "Working on Broadway musicals is what keeps me in shape too," he said when we commented on how youthful-looking he is at age 50. He's been in the business for 25 years, he said. "If you turn 50, you can stop complaining about your problems and just enjoy life," he philosophized.

On TV, Rex hosted some shows and starred in some series and TV movies including "Sooner or Later" which was also the title of his platinum album which contains among others his song "You Take My Breath Away."

This is Rex's third time to come over to the Philippines and when asked what makes the country special to him, without batting an eyelash Rex said "the people, they're just warm and caring." He said he also enjoys the language. "I'm really so Filipino-oriented," he added.

Anyway, that Friday afternoon, good music and good coffee did blend really well as Rex spent the afternoon chilling out, trying what Gloria Jean's Coffees could offer, and indulging the customers' request for him to render a few of his hit songs. As a way of showing its passion for the fine things in life, Gloria Jean's Coffees helped make Rex Smith's two-day Manila gig possible.

By the way, Latte Art is what Gloria Jean's Coffees is promoting these days. "Because we our passion into your coffee," reads an inscription on a wall in a Gloria Jean's Coffees shop. And this doesn't just refer to their passion for the taste, flavor or the way they process their coffee.

If you haven't notice it yet, they're invented an amusing new art form when it comes to serving coffee. Now, a cup of latte is just as good a conversation piece as any there is. Not to mention, the drinking just got more enjoyable. Latte Art is another proof of the Australia-based coffee company's passion for anything that has to do with coffee. And as stressed by Ramon Balingit, Jr., business development manager, and Ms. Chichi M. Madrid, marketing manager, Gloria Jean's has been delivering you the most delicious coffee possible by using the top 1% of the world's finest Arabica beans and roasting them in the best and most advanced techniques there are.

"So when you order a cup of hot latte, take a moment or two to appreciate the little spectacle of curlicues of froth formed in varying shapes and designs before you enjoy it fully, Chichi urged.

Balik-Samahan draws more members

"Balik-Samahan," organized originally to foster camaraderie and fellowship among former Sampaguita Pictures' stars, is getting stronger, drawing more and more members to the delight of Ms. Pempe Rodrigo, organizer.

Now, the monthly "Balik-Samahan" events are being attended not only by the veteran stars of Sampaguita but also the other big production companies of the past like LVN and Premiere. Also attending enthusiastically "Balik Samahan" gatherings are former beauty queens like Myrna Borromeo and veteran writers like Norma Japitana.

Pempe, who spearheads the group, acting as the one-woman secretariat whenever there's an important gathering in addition to the usual dinners, is also very happy that every year their Holy Week recollection is drawing more and more attendees. "It makes me feel so fulfilled everytime magkaroon ng recollection ang grupo at maraming nag-aaten," Pempe said. They also conducted recently a recollection among the staff of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay upon the request of the mayor himself.

Usually seen in "Balik Samahan" dinners include the former movie queens: Gloria Romero, Susan Roces, and Amalia Fuentes; Liberty Ilagan, Amparo Lucas, Bella Flores, Delia Razon, Lilia Dizon, Marita Zobel, Nova Villa, Pepito and Ramil Rodriguez, Charlie Davao, Helen Cruz, Minda Morena, Anna Ledesma (she hosted a dinner-dance for the group at Mowelfund on her last birthday), Boots Anson Roa, Gloria Sevilla, and many others.

Last March 27, the "Balik-Samahan" dinner held at the Orchid Garden Suites along P. Ocampo St. in Malate, was hosted by balikbayan Romy Protacio who writes an entertainment column at the Pilipino newspaper Planet Philippines.

Before the night was over, Pempe has invited everyone to their Holy Week recollection to be held on April 12 at SM Megamall.

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Tidbits: Happy b-day greetings today, April 2, go to Geneva Cruz, Ms. Vilma Valera, Danita Paner who turns 17; Maria Victoria Sanchez, Tina Leeman, Mary Jane Cabanizas, Francisco Diga, SPO4 Angel Lucas, and Jorge Marcos...Happy anniversary to David and Carmie Romula...

Source: The Manila Bulletin