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Nora to young people: Love God and your moms

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:30 AM May 15, 2019

Nora Aunor

Nora Aunor knows a thing or two about failure—and rising above it.

The rags-to-riches tale of the country’s one and only Superstar, as relayed in exciting detail to us by avid Noranians, Nestor de Guzman and Cinema One best supporting actor awardee Andy Bais, deserves nothing less than a cinematic rendering like “Bohemian Rhapsody” (on Freddie Mercury) or “Rocketman” (about Elton John).

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And knowing how many of her exceptional films and portrayals have helped shape Philippine cinema, we’d even go out on a limb to say how happy we would be to see her conferred the coveted and elusive National Artist Award. Her filmography is nothing to scoff at, after all: “Himala,” “Ina Ka ng Anak Mo,” “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos,” “Bona,” “‘Merika,” “Thy Womb,” “Atsay,” “T-Bird at Ako” and “Minsa’y Isang Gamu-gamo.”

To say the least, it hasn’t been an easy climb for her. The first time Nora tried out for “Tawag ng Tanghalan” in the mid-’60s, she aced the preliminary round by singing “You and the Night and the Music,” but she failed to edge out then-defending champion Jose Yap.

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The diminutive singer, who will turn 66 on May 21, sang Barbra Streisand’s “People” on her second try and bested 11-week defending champion Oscar Antonio. This was followed by a long run of wins that culminated on May 29, 1967, when she sang “Moonlight Becomes You” and was declared grand champion.

Even her legendary recording career didn’t start out well. Reception to her recordings of “Moonlight Becomes You,” “There’s Just Forever,” “No Return, No Exchange,” “You are My First Love,” “I Almost Called Your Name” and “I Only Came to Say Goodbye” was either cold or lukewarm.

But Nora’s cover of “The Music Played” signaled a sweet reversal of fortune that would eventually change the course of her career—and that of Philippine show biz!

She launched her first LP “Nora Aunor Sings” in April 1969, acted in her first movie “All Over the World,” got her first starring role with Tirso Cruz III in Carling Marquez’s “D’ Musical Teenage Idols!”—and the rest is fabled show biz history.

Ate Guy was feeling a bit under the weather when we talked to her for this article last Thursday.

But she said she couldn’t let the opportunity to share her thoughts about her mother, Mamay Tunying Villamayor, pass. “Pasensya ka na for the late reply,” she told us. “Hindi naging maganda ang pakiramdam ko nitong mga nakaraang araw—at hanggang ngayon.”

The Superstar said she couldn’t have risen above those initial debacles on her fairy tale-like climb to movie queendom without the doting love and support of Mamay Tunying—and she said she wanted the young generation of fans to know how her mom helped see her through their humble beginnings.

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For her followers to fully appreciate her recollections, we’re printing Ate Guy’s message in Filipino.

Aunor —Krist Bansuelo

Here is the Superstar, in her own words:

Bagaman huli na ang aking kasagutan sa katanungan mo, gusto ko pa ring sagutin ito para ipaabot sa lahat ng mga anak na unahin natin sa lahat ang Diyos, tapos ang ating mga magulang—lalo na ang ating Nanay, sapagkat sila ang nagluwal sa atin. Walang magulang na natitiis ang kanilang mga anak, lalo na ang mga ina.

Ang aking ina ang nagmulat sa akin ng magagandang aral … Nakagisnan ko ang pagsasama-sama ng pamilya sa pagrorosaryo tuwing 6 p.m. bago kumain ng hapunan. Pagkatapos kumain, magkukuwentuhan sandali at magkakantahan.

Pagsapit ng alas-otso ng gabi, sabay-sabay na kaming magpapahinga at matutulog. Tuwing Linggo nang alas-kuwatro ng madaling araw, ginigising ako ni Nanay para magsimba.

Naalala ko noong elementary ako, pumapasok ako sa eskuwelahan namin nang nakayapak. Malayo ang bahay sa eskuwelahang pinapasukan ko, kaya ’pag mainit ang panahon, masakit sa paa kapag naglalakad. Kaya ang ginagawa ko, sa pilapil ako naglalakad pauwi.

Minsan, sa aking pagtulog, narinig ng nanay ko na nagsalita ako ng numero. Nagbakasakali siyang tayaan ito sa huweteng. Minsan, sinuwerte siya at nanalo, kaya ibinili niya ako ng bakya para daw hindi na ako mahirapang maglakad kapag pumapasok sa eskuwela.

Kaya lang, ’pag pumapasok ako sa school, bitbit ko lang ang bakya at hindi ko ito sinusuot. Ang dahilan ko, ayokong mapudpod kaagad ang bakya!

Naalala ko ang nanay ko noong unang araw ng pagpasok ko sa Kinder. Pinaghanda niya ako ng champorado, at nilagyan niya ito ng ginupit-gupit na mga letra, saka inihanda niya para sa akin. Ang sabi niya, para daw maging matalino ako. Ito ang isa sa mga pamahiin sa probinsiya.

Itinuro niya sa aming magkakapatid na dapat maging matulungin ka at magkaroon ng respeto sa mga tao. Huwag kang sasagot, lalo na sa mga nakakatanda sa ’yo. Pero kailangang mangatwiran ka kapag alam mong tama ka.

Oras, respeto, pagtitiwala, paniniwala, tiyaga, pagtulong, pagmamahal sa Diyos at sa kapwa—meron ka lang ng mga katangiang ito, alam kong magkamali ka man, konti lang. Wala namang perpektong tao sa mundo.

Ito ang mga natutunan ko sa nanay ko noong nabubuhay pa siya. Wala ang isang Nora Aunor kung wala ang pinakamamahal kong nanay!

Happy Mother’s Day, Ate Guy—and happy birthday!

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