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THE "PEARL" OF THE PACIFIC FESTIVAL
by Dalisay Bocobo-Balunsat
San Francisco, California
Phililippines Free Press, October 11, 1958
The Philippines In General And Movie
Star Susan Roces In Particular Shone At
San Francisco's Pacific Festival.
GATEWAY to the East, San Francisco, where West meets East, fittingly celebrated an international fiesta -- the Pacific Festival -- in honor of the countries of the Pacific Ocean. In behalf of the residents of this great, friendly metropolis, Mayor George Christopher extended welcome greetings to representatives of such countries as the Philippines, Japan, China, Hawaii, Mexico, the Latin-American group, the Pan-American countries, and others. He opened the 10-day affair (September 12 to 21) at the City Hall, where he called for the formation of a Pacific Union, similar to that of the Pan-American Union: "The many diverse nations surrounding our ocean have found a way to live together successfully in peace and commerce. One way to make our influence felt in world affairs would be to create a Pacific Union. . . What better place to initiate a Pacific Union than here in San Francisco -- the West's great center of international Pacific activity for more than 100 years and the birthplace of the United Nations?"
To brighten up the festival, Pan American World Airways flew in six Oriental beauties, including our own Susan Roces, that sparkling pretty young star of Sampaguita Pictures. With Miss Roces reigning as Miss Philippines and with a lavish show of Philippine dances, music, and costumes, presented by Filipino residents here, the Philippines easily became the "Pearl" of the Pacific Festival.
The other foreign beauties who arrived with Susan were: Mitsuyo Hosaka, a leading fashion model of Tokyo; Ting Ning, a dainty cinemactress from Hong Kong; Zaiton, dark-eyed movie star of Singapore; Julie Wu, a shapely film star from Formosa (Nationalist China); and Kokeo Na Chiengmai, a vivacious office girl from Bangkok. Seventeen-year-old Susan Roces was the youngest among them and therefore they "babied" her. Once, their manager, Bob Dickson, jokingly said to her: "We ought not to take you with us when we go night-clubbing. Susan, we ought to leave you at a lollipop stand!"
Cita Trinidad, Philippine Travel land Information Office manager, was appointed official chaperon of the girls; they were all registered at the Canterbury Hotel. From the time of their arrival to their departure, the Oriental ambassadors-of-goodwill were kept busy by a round of fashion shows, festivities, meetings, programs, dances, television interviews, sight-seeing and shopping sprees.
Susan told us: "It seems I am in Dreamland! I have been enjoying every minute of it." In representing our country, I have been proudly modeling the eight beautiful ternos (created by top Philippine designers Valera and Moreno) that I have brought along with me."
On the first day of the festival, there was a fashion show held at Union Square (a plaza displaying a monument in honor of Commodore Dewey, who captured Manila Bay), which was sponsored by big department stores like Macy's, Emporium and H. Liebes. Among the Pacific lovelies and comely American professional fashion models, our Susan stood out, and she enchanted the crowd as she gracefully modeled a breath-taking terno. For this, she was played up very prominently in the San Francisco dailies.
On Youth Day, youngsters from the Pacific were invited to perform at the Pacific Festival program of the Ted Randal Show. We were appointed coach and chaperon of the young participants representing the island republic. "Tinikling" dancers Carmencita Valdehueza (her father is a retired Philippine Scout) and Adilon Galan and bamboo players Edgardo Valdehueza and Norma Agpasan thrilled thousands of American TV viewers with their adept and cute performance of the Bamboo Dance.
On Philippine Day, there was a Philippine Show presented at Union Square on an open-air platform. The program was under the auspices of the Philippine Travel and Information Office, with the participation of the Filipino communities and Filipino students of the Bay Area. A variety of Philippine folk dances formed the first part of the program. Mrs. Cora Delfino-Beloy, a sister of Manila orchestra leader Clod Delfino, and her American-born Filipino husband, Santos Beloy, danced a picturesque Sampaguita Waltz. Other dances were "Pandanggo sa Ilaw," "Planting Rice," and "Abaruray." Two sets of "Tinikling" dancers danced simultaneously, to a loud ovation from the audience. The second part consisted of a pageant of Philippine regional costumes, with 35 ladies doing the modeling. The show was climaxed by the dramatic entrance of Susan Roces, who reigned as Queen of the Day.
At the Grand Ball at the City Ball Rotunda on September 19 (which was attended by foreign ambassadors and consuls, by high government officials, by princes, princesses and lords and ladies, and by other social and civic leaders of the West led by Mayor George Christopher, Hawaii Governor William and Alaska Gov. Mike Stepovich), Susan impressed the guests when she was presented as Miss Philippines, surrounded by her court: Miss Luzon (Teresa Francisco-Hampton); Miss Visayas (Pacita Boncan); and Miss Mindanao (Caridad Concepcion-Vallangca).
Through all these hectic, exciting activities, Susan Roces always remained as fresh-looking and lovely as when she first arrived. As an ambassador-of-goodwill, she was game. In the words of an American-born Filipino admirer: "She is the most!"
After playing her role in the Pacific Festival, Susan Roces, at the time of this writing, was on her way to Hollywood . . . not for a screen test but "to relax, to go star-gazing and to see my favorite star, Tony Perkins."
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