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Gambling addicts

STRICTLY SHOWBIZ – Those gambling addicts mentioned in this column are strictly showbiz.

Let’s start with an actor-politician who, one time, went to a casino driving his luxury car. He went home, intending to take a taxi as he was forced to pawn his car to cover his gambling losses. An entertainment editor who happened to be around offered to take him home. The editor was there not to gamble but to interview a singer who happened to have a gig in the casino.

Another one was a well loved and respected producer and starmaker. He complained that he sold a townhouse in a prime area in Quezon City as he needed the capital to finance his “hobby” (read addiction). “Sayang na sayang ang townhouse,” he sighed time and again.

A starlet used to hang around a casino even if she was penniless. She befriended high rollers who’d throw away a few thousand bucks her way. Which she’d promptly bet on the gambling table. In the same situation, more or less, is a woman writer now seldom seen.

NOT REALLY – They regularly gamble… but not really addicts. More to while away the time…in front of the slot machines.

A woman columnist one time hit the semi-jackpot, nearly half a million pesos. When she claimed her prize, the manager who signed the check was not around, but she was told she could have it in cold cash that very moment. Of course, she agreed and promptly placed the money in her huge bag. She and her companions still watched the show at the casino lounge, but she literally embraced the “loaded” bag all the while.

The wife of a publisher, along with her “amigas,” usually dropped by the hotel casino after having a sumptuous lunch.

More often than not, “Luz Valdez” or “Lotlot de Leon” (losers) the ladies were. But one lucky day, after inserting her bet in the slot machine, the casino bells rang loudly. Yes, she hit the jackpot amounting to a few millions of pesos. Heard she shared the winnings with her “barkada.”

HALF-PINOY – Now on to another topic. We often hear of Filipinos making it in Hollywood as actors or producers or artists (costume, make-up, production design). Well, the international singer from Spain, Enrique Iglesias, is a half-Pinoy. Her mother is a Filipina, Isabel Arrastia Preysler, daughter of a former San Miguel executive and educated in Assumption College.

Dad is, of course, the ageless romantic balladeer Julio Iglesias. Long divorced, Ms. Preysler visits Manila regularly. The last time she was here, Ms. Preysler was with a constant companion, a Nobel Laureate for Literature.

She is Madrid’s top sociallite, often featured in Spanish magazines like Hola, Stilo, and Cuore.