“Ang sinungaling ay kapatid ng magnanakaw!”. These were the sharp words unexpectedly uttered by the usually prim and proper First Lady of the Philippine Movies. Susan Roces appeared to be in a fighting mood on that Wednesday of June 29 when she boldly declared her refusal to accept the apology of the President of the Philippines. The press conference came as a surprise to many but her statements which she herself composed proved to be another box office hit.
According to Bing Manalo, a loyal follower, Susan Roces was born a Leo, the zodiac sign of born leaders. Although Susan shunned the limelight when she assumed a full housewife role to Fernando Poe, Jr., that leadership trait cannot be denied in the face of the political turmoil besetting our country at the present time.
Susan Roces can be likened to Rocky Marciano, the Italian heavyweight who retired undefeated as a world boxing champion. But unlike Marciano who perished in a plane crash, Susan continued living a contented life behind the scene. And latest developments indicate a career move on her part, from the wild world of movies to the more intrigue-laden realm of Philippine politics.
photos courtesy of Mr. Bing Manalo
Susan gained fame with her portrayal of an “api-apihan,” reminiscent of FPJ’s characters who gets the goat early in the game but eventually resurrects to win the battle in the end. Her cherubic face never fails to extract fluid from the tear glands of the audience in contrast with her strong personality that clearly personifies the determination to thwart the evil schemes. She was also tops in comedy as per the recollection of Pablo S. Gomez who wrote Susanang Daldal.
Susan’s undying rivalry with Amalia Fuentes stirred the movie industry to life in those halcyon days of the movie industry. Besides her charming face, it is a fact that Susan has the innate strength and charisma that can soften one’s heart to submission. Among Susan’s contemporaries, she is the only one who retained the Queenly stature. She still commands lead roles and hefty talent fees. Her closest competition, Amalia Fuentes, has failed to prevent the widening gap in terms of popularity and star magnitude. Though they are mag-kumare and good friends, Susan zoomed way up while Amalia faded into oblivion. But in fairness to Amalia, aside from gaining excess baggage in her waist, she preferred a quiet life with her family.
Amalia in mourning with Susan over the untimely death of FPJ. (photo courtesy of Mr. Bing Manalo)
The strong statements that Susan made at noon of that Wednesday showed her true character. So many write-ups, articles, comments, TV features, etc, have been said of her one-of-a-kind strength. Despite the torrents of fate, she remained elegant, beautiful, graceful, full of substance and, of course, no doubt on her superb intelligence and wit. The last two traits clearly showed in the open forum with media people during her “political” press conference. Who could forget the question on what Susan wants to tell Garci? And who would forget Susan’s retort: “Alam mo ba kung nasaan siya?”
When Susan speaks, everybody listens with obvious respect and admiration. Her mere presence in any occasion makes it a big event. She is a perpetual stand-out and ever radiant that she outshines even the biggest of stars. That’s why even if Susan has less acting awards than other stars, her contributions and recognitions in show business surpasses almost everyone in the movie industry.
Susan’s latest movie is her portrayal of an abandoned first wife of a philandering Chinese in Mano Po 2. Despite the irrationality of her role – considering the “actual” age gap with Christopher De Leon as her leading man – the audience didn’t mind at all simply because it was Susan who played it. Sans the award, the said movie gained public recognition simply with the inclusion of Susan Roces. Admittedly, Mother Lily Monteverde is one producer who has the knack for a casting coup.
“It’s in the eyes,” as she said about the sincerity of the one asking forgiveness, as if to remind us of her dedication to her craft. You will know if one is play-acting or if one is true to his/her words by looking and searching for the truth thru the eyes. In one of her rare TV appearances, Susan shed off her glamour to play the part of a poor woman taking care of a retarded daughter. And she played the role convincingly! Truly an actress of the first caliber.
Susan Roces with Joseph Sonora and Boots Plata during the Luna Awards
Jesusa Purificacion Levy Sonora Poe , who will be turning 64 on July 28, may be encountering unimaginable challenges in the foreseeable future. But with her natural born leadership qualities, inherent charisma, and gift of gab, Susan will definitely overcome all obstacles.
Susan Roces has two official websites dutifully maintained by Bing Manalo, incidentally a winner in the Name the Statuette contest of the recent Luna Awards: