By Carmel Sanchez
I enjoyed last week’s feature story here on “Bisdak” singing superstar Yoyoy Villame and agree that he is Visayas and Mindanao’s jewel of a talent. I am also glad that the author mentioned Susan Fuentes, who was Butuan’s lone and only singing sensation and was acknowledged for all over the country, from Batanes to Jolo in 1970s to 1980s.
Susan had recorded numerous Visayan and Tagalog songs played on radio and appeared on prime time TV before Kapamilya and Kapuso networks were born. I remember seeing her on a lunch time variety show, “Student Canteen” and she brought the whole studio down as she performed on stage and the audience area.
She was a total entertainer, like a junior Nora Aunor. Susan was then a newcomer that time but her fame rose quickly because the “masa” love her songs.
It was a proud reflection of who she was and her social class. Dubbed as the “Queen of Visayan Songs”, her songs became hits and Butuanons and Bol-anons who knew where she came from were cheering and rooting her. Her records were produced by a music company whose one owner was Jim Paredes of Apo Hiking Society, a respected and sensible music band that time.
It should be mentioned here again that Susan was indeed a Butuanon whose family lived in Durano Street. The only Butuanons who honored her was a small group of local artists-performers, writers and painters and you wonder why government don’t care to honor its creative sons and daughters national achievers.
No one knows how she was discovered but it is assumed as she was in Manila singing professionally in night clubs and evolved as a legitimate singing recording idol. She became a star in her own right. Hurray to an ordinary Butuanon lass turned singing sensation.
Susan had her famous time but after a while she disappeared in the public eyes and ears. She got hitched in romance and rumors spread she was forced to chose to stay at home to take care of her children.
But who can forget her songs and beautiful voice? Not Butuanons now of junior and senior ages who still long to listen to her on YouTube. Susan who brought honor and pride to all us, our very own “Ato Ini!”
But why is she not officially honored?