Understanding Nora Aunor


AUNOR. Insights into what makes the Superstar tick—and click. ARNOLD ALMACEN

Throughout her decades-long career, Nora Aunor has been misunderstood by many—including herself! Since we’ve worked with her and think the world of her as a genuinely Filipino screen icon, we’ve taken the time to arrive at a number of insights into what makes her tick—and click.

Since she’s made her latest successful comeback to the big and small screens, we hope that our notes will make it easier for a new generation of film lovers to get to really know, understand and appreciate her and her unique gifts and contributions to the local entertainment scene—flaws, scars and all!

First, it’s key to remember that Nora was exceedingly poor and unheralded when she became a singing star, thanks to the pioneering radio-TV talent search, “Tawag ng Tanghalan,” in the early ’60s.

Other strengths

At first, it was her “golden” singing voice, so rich and “mature” for the little slip of a girl she was then, that captivated the public. Soon enough, however, her other performing strengths emerged, including her expressive eyes and subtle and intuitive acting.

Initially, people derided her because she was small and dark-complexioned—but, her kayumanggi coloring was what made her stand out as far as I was concerned.

Early on, I lauded Nora for being able to believably represent and vivify the aspirations of most “real” Filipinos, unlike the many Caucasian-looking local stars who could never be believable in “ordinary” roles.

In time, more people agreed and hailed Nora as the Filipino star, and millions of fans seconded the motion and made her the country’s first real female superstar!

In those early days, Nora was so popular and in-demand that she once confided to us rather shamefacedly that she was shooting four or five films at the same time—in the same big house!

She became exceedingly rich and was ardently idolized by millions of fans—and this is where her problems began.

Since she was unschooled and was tasting great wealth and popularity for the first time, despite her best efforts to keep her feet on the ground, it all got to her head and resulted in her taking her obligations as a star for granted.

In addition, she was manipulated by many “handlers” and “yes” people who praised her to high heavens when the going was great—and dropped her like a   hot potato when it wasn’t.

Thus, she began to equate people’s “love” for her with financial “persuasion”—and, when the “persuasion” ceased to work, she took the wrong psychological turn and concluded that it meant that she was basically unlovable!

In turn, this made her a cynic. It could also have led her to her vices, in a move to compensate for her perceived limitations and unsuccessful liaisons.

This was the time when Nora sometimes became her own worst enemy, turning producers off with her unprofessional and “ungrateful” behavior.

For our part, we saw all of her many failings, but we held on to the conviction that she and her talent were worth believing in, and that she had (many more?) great performances left in her.

Well, Nora’s current local and international success with “Thy Womb” has proven that conviction right, and even better, it looks like Nora in maturity has finally become a focused and responsible performer. —So, the worst may finally be over for her—and the best is yet to come!

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  • fuctore

    This writer still believes that Nora is still and will always be the greatest actress of Phil cinema.
    that is a no brainer considering his strong fanaticism( idolatry?) to this ” once upon a time ” superstar. Let’s give it to him.
    But Mr .Torre seemed to forget that her marketability as a celebrity was no longer as lucrative as compared to her earlier years. And that was in the 70’s and early 80’s. Nora’s star power had diminished significantly thru the years on account of several factors, both internal and external. Her long hiatus from the local scene and involvement with drugs, casino etc. had tarnished her reputation strongly as a commercially viable talent in this era of television and mainstream entertainment. It’s also hurting that her age had become her that the modern crowd find visually unappealing. These are hard hitting facts and should be taken objectively.
    The new generation of audience can not be forced or dictated upon by these so called ” film intellectuals” who keep on blaming the pinoy audience for what they’re worth. a
    200 peso ticket is a lot of money esp. for a regular Juan delaCruz. He just wanted to enjoy and have fun with it and escape the harsh realities of everyday stress.
    Let’s also give it to them.

  • Oscar H. Halamani Jr.

    Nora’s current local and international success with “Thy Womb” has
    proven that conviction right, and even better, it looks like Nora in
    maturity has finally become a focused and responsible performer. —So,
    the worst may finally be over for her—and the best is yet to come! 

  • selinaKyle2012

    Sa nagsasabing hindi kumita ang Thy Womb, think again. Hehehe. I should know. Magkano na gross niya so far? Almost 10 million? I cannot divulge anything here, but Thy Womb might be the highest grossing art film in local cinema. Long Live Art!

  • selinaKyle2012

    Sa nagsasabing, tapos na si Nora nung 70’s at 80’s pa. Napanood mo na ba ang Thy Womb? Nakita mo ang performance niya doon? Or dahil Vilmanian ka Fuctore kaya hindi mo kakayanin at hindi mo matatanggap na wala sa kalingkingan ang kakayahan ng paborito mo sa tunay na alagad ng sining na si Nora? Kung makapagsalita ka akala mo ikaw ang magsasabi kung dapat nang tumigil si Nora or hindi. Kung ganyan kagaling hanggang kaya – kahit gumagapang na or may tungkod na – dapat magpatuloy. Kung ang acting e tulad nila Kris Aquino at Vilma Santos na labas ang ugat at dilat na dilat ang mata, kung pwede lang, pakiusap — mag retiro na.

    • fuctore

      Pathetic Noranian.
      Porke ba nasabi ko lang ang mga dahilan kung bakit hindi gaano tinatangkilik ang mga movies ng idol mo lately ay Vilmanian na agad.
      Hahaha! Truth to tell, mas na apreciate ko pa nga ang restrained akting ni Nora kaysa sa Over the Top acting ni Vilma.
      Wake up. Hindi na ito ang panahon ni Nora. Lahat ng artista ay lumilipas sa dikta ng panahon at sa klase ng audience na tumatangkilik sa kanila.
      Ang akin lang, hindi mo pwede ipagplitang papuntahin sa sinehan ang grupo ng mga fans ng bagong henerasyon ng mga artista para sa idolo mo dahil napagdaanan nya na din ito noon, And I am sure, alam na alam mo din ito.
      Gaya ng sinabi ko, objective lang ang sakin.
      Para sa susunod, hindi na sya mapull outan ng pelikula sa mga sinehan tulad ng nangyayari ngayon,

    • sanjuan683

      Talagang magaling si Nora at lalo sumisikat di tulad ni Vilma nalaos inuulit ko nalaos si Vilma kaya nagpulitisian na lang. Ganyan ang ginagawa ng mga laos na artista pumpasok sa pulitika. hehehehehe

  • selinaKyle2012

    Teka ulitin ko ha? HINDI LUGI ang Thy Womb. Based sa update ng ABSCBN nasa 22 million na siya. Goodness. Art film sa Pinas naka 22 million?

    • Carvin


    • Pwe Jade

      a true star is not measured by his or her commercial value but the lasting impact he or she made to the lives of many.

      Sige, kasama ako sa matitirang “kakaunti” na manunuod sa mga pelikula pang gagawin mo.

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Isama mo ‘ko diyan. 

  • Piola Pascuall

    nabulabog na naman ang mga anti nora, ha ha ha,, kita nasasapol kayo kaya kayu react ng react. bakit narito kayo?




  • Piola Pascuall


    with the likes of…

    nag tweet sina senator PIA CAYETANO,\\






    and many more…

    • Joel Gonzalez

      And what film did our President endorse?

  • Duke D

    ISince when I was in high school, I have been reading your article about Nora Aunor.  I was and still a fan of her and you’re story about her is so interesting.  I wonder if she read any of your critic and wonder if she ever in a moment assess, what she need to do to control her life, stay away from people that taking advantage of her, etc.  But growing up poor and no education, I felt so
    sorry for her.  Show business is sorrounded by leech and opportunist….Nestor do not stop writing about Nora Aunor whether it is good or bad story about her….To Nora, keep up doing quality films only, your era was over and just keep showing us what we havent seen…..

  • wahleed taula

    Nora for now wants to help and inspire young minds thru her films regardless of its commercial
    value as long as she believes it is good for the development of the art.  She truly is the Artist
    deserving of the most coveted title.  At her level and age, she has nothing to prove, her passion
    and love for her craft matter a lot.

  • Eva

    As a teenager, I grow up ill informed that Nora is for the “atsays, badays” or basically those without class. She is the polar opposite to Vilma whose appeals are to those hightly educated, mestizas & with class.However, as the years gone by and having left my motherland for over a quarter of centuries ago, I become more convinced that Nora is the true star. Whilst, I admire Vilma (who the media portray her rival star), Nora is a first class, fine actress. She’s truly a natural treasure.  Proud to be a filipino!

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