Susan Roces: Little-known facts about the movie queen as a mom
Susan Roces is such a credible endorser. Tita Susan’s rendition of the catchy jingle of her RiteMed commercial for Unilab is so effective. It makes us feel like singing that familiar tune every time we’re in a drugstore.
Even at 76, everything is still coming up roses for Madame Roces.
Let’s get to know more about the Queen of Philippine Movies through the eyes of her unica hija, Grace Poe. Their mother-daughter tandem is a celebration of woman power, indeed.
Here’s my chat with Grace:
During your younger years, what were the home remedies and comfort food that your mom gave you when you were sick? My mom would insist that I eat pospasor lugaw. I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but she was unrelenting.
She would rub manzanilla on my belly when I had stomach ache. She would call for a hilot and a magtatawas when I had high fever.
She hardly left my side when I was hospitalized. If I had a bad cold, she would apply a gooey pink substance on me. She would spread the paste evenly on a mesh of cloth, stick it on my back, and I felt better afterwards.
Maybe it was all psychological, but it was really about having a loving mother that truly mattered.
You and your mom are always so poised. Any deglamorized moments? She’s very down to earth. We ride our old Sarao jeepney to the farm, with our mattress tied on top of it. On our way back, we would be sharing the ride with sacks of buko and bananas harvested from our farm.
How did your mom spoil and discipline you? My mom didn’t spoil me, materially. On the contrary, she was generous with her time and undivided attention. She still is. She’s the best listener. When I am done pouring my heart out, she’ll share her thoughts on the matter, which are always spot-on. She is wise and insightful.
Her favorite line is “Papunta ka pa lang, pabalik na ako.” She tells me to always remain humble. She detests any pasosyal attitude, and shows this by saying, “Ang langaw, nakatungtong lang sa kalabaw.”
Disciplined? You bet. She may seem meek and patient, but if she gets mad, it’s best to stay away. She would ground me, but she was also quick to forgive, as long as she saw that I was truly remorseful.
What ticks her off? My mom is pleasant, but if you provoke her, she will stand her ground.
When she was writing her speech (on index cards) in response to the “I am sorry” statement of GMA (former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo), she seemed very serious and calm. In fact, when she read it to me, she said it quite monotonously. So, we were all shocked when she finally delivered the speech with such fire and passion.
What don’t people know about Susan Roces? She seems poised, but she can be fiery. She hates spending on anything luxurious, but she will not scrimp on food and a good education.
She loves roughing it out. She is a weekend farmer and is most comfortable in the province, close to nature, where she eats with her hands.
When I was a child, I will never forget the best picnic I’ve ever had. She propped a rectangular table across a shallow brook, and we ate adobo and salted eggs laid out on banana leaves.
My mother is probably the wisest and most intelligent person I know. She’s realistic and practical, but she is always guided by a deep sense of conviction.
She told me once, “Sometimes, the best way to fight your battles is with silence.”
She instilled in me the importance of independence, being self-sufficient and developing a strong work ethic.
She encouraged me to express my views. Early on, she would remind me: “Huwag mahiyang magtanong.”
Sounds familiar? (Laughs)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.