‘Our queen’: Ex-husband Christopher, son Ian, daughter Matet on Nora being named National Artist
For the children of Nora Aunor, “words can’t express” the happiness and gratitude they feel about their mother being proclaimed National Artist.
“We have been waiting for it for a couple of years. It was long overdue for our mother. You know, when the official announcement naming her National Artist was made, we felt so ecstatic. Proud na proud kami bilang mga anak for our mom,” Ian de Leon told the Inquirer at a press conference for the upcoming GMA 7 primetime action series, “Lolong,” which airs on July 4.
The “Superstar” unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the conferment ceremony at Malacañang Palace on June 16, because she was advised by her doctor to stay at home while recovering from an illness. She was represented by Ian, Matet, Kenneth and Kiko de Leon— Nora’s children with ex-husband Christopher de Leon.
They likewise received the National Artist insignia—the Grand Collar—on their mother’s behalf. “Of all the awards she has received, this is one of the most prestigious. We’re very happy and grateful to the Lord that this award was granted to her. To all her fans … to the people who love her and take care of her, thank you for being there for mom,” Ian said.
Matet, on the other hand, called Nora “our queen.” “Muli, maraming, maraming salamat po. Congratulations to our mommy … Our queen. Our superstar. Our national artist,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
Christopher pointed out that Nora is only the second actor to be named National Artist for Film, after Fernando Poe Jr. (Manuel Conde also worked as an actor, but was recognized primarily for his work as a director and producer.)
“She has done a lot of meaningful movies, like ‘Himala’ … ‘[The] Flor Contemplacion [Story].’ And she was considered the best actor in Asia,” he said of Nora, who has won numerous acting trophies from Asian award-giving bodies, like the Asian Film Awards and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards … Those are the basis that earned her the award,” Christopher said.
“I did a lot of films with her (‘Banaue: Stairway to the Sky,’ ‘Ikaw ay Akin,’ ‘Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos’)” he told the Inquirer.
Meanwhile, Bembol Roco, who’s also part of “Lolong,” extended well-wishes to Nora whom he has worked with numerous times in the past. Some of their most memorable collaborations include “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos,” “Merika” and “Thy Womb.”
“It’s about time. She has given her share of good performances,” he told the Inquirer. “She deserves to be a National Artist.”
Established under Proclamation No. 1001, The Order of National Artist Award is “the highest recognition conferred on Filipinos who have made distinct contributions to the development of Philippine arts and culture.” It’s awarded by Malacañang upon the recommendation of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
After being shortlisted two times in the past, Nora was finally given the honor, and joined this year’s batch of National Artists who include: screenwriter Ricardo “Ricky” Lee and filmmaker Marilou Diaz-Abaya for Film and Broadcast Arts; coloratura soprano Fides Cuyugan-Asensio for Music; stage director and actor Antonio “Tony” Mabesa for Theater; writer and critic Gemino Abad for Literature; designer Salvacion Lim-Higgins for Fashion; and choreographer Agnes Locsin for Dance.
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