A look back at Susan Roces’ beginnings in Bacolod
BACOLOD CITY — Unbeknownst to many, veteran actress and “Queen of Philippine Movies” Susan Roces hailed from Bacolod City.
Roces, who died Friday evening, May 20, was born Jesusa Purificacion Sonora in Bacolod City on July 28, 1941 to Dr. Jesus Tonggoy Sonora and Purificacion Levy.
It was at La Consolacion College (LCC) Bacolod where the seed of her acting career was planted and where her deep faith in God grew.
In an earlier interview, Roces said it was while she was in third year high school that her teacher Luisa Medel taught a new course on speech and drama.
“Miss Medel said, Jesusa I think you have a skill for public speaking and acting. I suggest that in preparation for a career, why don’t you try and take up the same course I took. So I took her advice. That’s why this award means so much to me because it was at LCC that my acting talent was taken notice of,” Roces said, referring her to Centennial Legacy Award for Excellence in Culture and the Arts from LCC.
Roces said she went to Manila after graduation to enroll in the course Medel suggested for her. There was an open house at Sampaguita Pictures that summer, and she went there because she wanted to see her favorite actress, Gloria Romero.
While she admired Romero, Roces said Dr. Jose Perez, Sampaguita Pictures’ producer, took notice of her and when she mentioned that she was in Manila to study speech and drama to teach, he said “So you are interested in acting.”
Roces said she did not know Perez was a producer and that she thought he was one of the villains in the movies.
He offered her a screen test, and the rest is history, Roces said.
Roces’ faith in God
“It is faith really that brought me to this career that up to now is enduring,” said Roces, who became one of the most popular actresses of her time.
As to her deep faith in God portrayed by her character, Lola Flora, Roces attributed it in part to her upbringing at LCC.
“What else can you do when you’re pinned against the wall, when your enemies are so powerful, maybe you cannot fight physically. But there is a power who is stronger, and that is God,” she said.
“Faith in God and prayer is very important in one’s life,” she added.
Susan Roces, popularly known as Lola Flora on the long running “Ang Probinsyano” television series, passed away on Friday evening, her daughter Senator Grace Poe confirmed.
Her husband, actor Fernando Poe Jr., passed away on Dec. 14, 2004.
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