Jericho Rosales Image Credit: Supplied

Jericho Rosales has had a bit of everything that every actor wants — fame, fortune, a fancy lifestyle. At his prime, he was one of the most sought after matinee idols in the business. He wasn't just a pretty face. He was considered at one point to be the best young actor of his generation.

His credits include memorable TV drama hits such as Pangako Sa Yo ( (A promise to You) and Esperanza. He gained further critical acclaim when he essayed the role of Manny Pacquaio in the boxing champion's biopic.

Though Rosales remains one of the most important stars in the industry, his star has somewhat dimmed since his separation from Kristine Hermosa in 2004. Sweethearts on and off screen, the two had one of the most successful TV and movie team-ups in the beginning of 2000.

‘Learning experience'

"It was a hard break-up, and it affected me in so many ways," said Rosales. "But it was a great learning experience, every relationship is."

Rosales' career didn't nose dive after the separation, but "my career became less of a priority. I turned inward and found solace in God", he added.

Though not as visible lately as five years ago, Rosales' career has had a resurgence of late. His new album Change has already been certified platinum. "And I am embarking on a new phase in my career, a step which is just a natural progression of my growth as an artist," he said.

Rosales left for New York last week to complete a professional programme in acting and direction. "I'm excited. I feel like I'm at a crossroads in my career now, and I'm looking forward to taking a new direction in my professional life. I've always dreamed of becoming a director, so maybe that's something new I can explore."

The award-winning actor says in his profession, "we're only as good as our last performance. So we need to improve always. Kailangan yan, eh [That's essential]".

Honour and challenge

He is also setting his sights on a possible career in Hollywood. He was part of a Hollywood B-movie, I Love You Virus, which had a successful premiere at the Long Beach Film Festival in California early this year. "If there's an opportunity to pursue my career abroad, that would be a big honour and challenge. So maybe this course that I am taking can also lead to that opportunity," he said.

Though he feels like his life is now at a crossroads, from Rosales' perspective the pasture can only be greener in whichever direction he takes his life and his career. "I have high hopes, and wherever life leads me, I'll just make the most of it."

Aragon comes home

Last week, YouTube sensation Maria Aragon arrived in the Philippines for the first time to sign a contract with Star Records, the music arm of ABS CBN. The Filipino-Canadian teenager gained fame when Lady Gaga praised the aspiring singer for her rendition of Born this Way posted on YouTube. Aragon has performed live with Gaga on stage; she also sang Canada's national anthem at a ceremony attended by Prince William and Kate Middleton. Aragon counts Pinoy singing superstars Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano as some of her favourite artists.

Peace, at last

Claudine Barretto, one of the country's best actresses, celebrated her birthday last week. The actress tweeted that it was one of her memorable birthdays since she has finally made peace with her sister Gretchen, with whom she had problems for several years. Barretto is also excited about her newfound motivation for work — she just finished a mini horror series on TV and is currently filming a full length series, Iglot, which will be aired in September.

Looking for love

Fast rising star Alden Richards admitted he has his eyes set on Sam Pinto, this year's Sexiest Pinay according to a poll by a popular magazine in the Philippines. Richards admitted this at an interview for his upcoming movie Tween Academy: Class of 2012. The young actor even went as far as inviting Pinto on a friendly date on national TV, to which she agreed. Romance is unlikely to blossom between the two as Pinto is reportedly seeing a non-showbiz guy. Or is the whole thing just a publicity stunt for Tween Academy?

Just friends

Diether Ocampo denied he is dating popular TV host Kris Aquino, who presented him a watch worth five million pesos on his birthday. "A lot of people misunderstand our closeness; we really are just good friends," the actor said. Ocampo admitted he has asked Aquino for help for his KIDS Foundation, an organisation that provides educational and medical assistance to marginalised children. Aquino, known for giving away expensive gifts, gave comedienne Pokwang a customised trailer bus last year.