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Nora was here!

The one and only Superstar Nora Aunor was here to attend the special screening of her film “Himala,” the 1982 Ishmael Bernal classic in which she won the best actress award at the Metro Manila Filmfest. She played the faith healer Elsa and her riveting performance is considered one of her best performances. This film was sponsored by the Filipino Ministry of Our Lady Of Good Counsel Church and MOWELFUND Philippines, where Boots Anson-Roa is the Executive Director. Boots and Nora both starred in the memorable drama, “Paru-parong Itim.”(1973).
In 1967, a 14-year-old contestant from Iriga, Ma. Leonora “Nora” Villamayor, entered the then-popular singing competition “Tawag Ng Tanghalan.” She stood out from the other contestants for her powerful vocals, which the judges and the viewers found amazing for someone so young. She also had confidence and poise. During this time, she was living in Manila with her auntie Belen Aunor, the sister of Nora’s mother, Mamay Tuying Villamayor. For fourteen consecutive weeks, she was the weekly champion and she was ecstatic when she was proclaimed the Grand Champion.
The producers of Sampaguita Pictures took notice of her, put her under contract and christened her Nora Aunor. For a couple of years, she was cast in supporting roles in forgettable films. But in 1970, she was cast in a musical-comedy which became a box-office hit, she was paired with a handsome newcomer named Tirso Cruz 111. Their second film, also a musical-comedy, was also a hit. The public took notice of this dusky, diminutive singing sensation and immediately became fascinated with her. A Star was born! Nora Aunor broke the color barrier in the movie industry when before her the tall, fair-skinned mestizas were the leading ladies(Susan Roces,Amalia Fuentes and Gloria Romero).
From the ‘70s to the late ‘80s, La Aunor reigned supreme as the movie queen making one box-office hit after another. She also conquered TV with her long-running musical variety show, “Superstar” and the drama series “Makulay Na Daigdig Ni Nora.” It was in her drama series where she honed her now effortless acting skills. She learned from the masters, Lupita Aquino-Kashiwara, Mario O’Hara and the late greats, Ishmael Bernal and Lino Brocka. She received critical notice when she won her first best actress award for “And God Smiled At Me(1972). She finally won her first actress award from FAMAS for “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos” in 1977. By this time she had revealed that she was an actress of extraordinary depth. Since then she was won countless awards.
In 2004, after she did her highly successsful U.S. concert tour, she fell in love with San Francisco and decided to try living there. She realized that she enjoyed living there, having some privacy and being Nora Aunor, a private citizen, something she hasn’t enjoyed doing since she joined showbiz at a young age. But sh still did a series of concerts for her many U.S-based fans. Last year she became a permanent resident.
When she attended the special screening here in Vienna, Va. on August 13-14, her many fans in the Washington D.C. metro area came to see her. For two nights, she mesmerized everyone with her legendary golden voice as well as her brilliant performance in “Himala.” Her fans was so thrilled to see her since she rarely comes here to perform, the last time she was here is when she had her concert, Nora-Kuh:The Power Of Two, at the Lisner Auditorium.
She recently release her new CD, “Habang Panahon.” This latest album comes at a time when La Aunor has surpassed what could have been the most crippling problem of her complicated life- her arrest and trial for possession of drugs in Los Angeles, Cal. Charges were dropped when she agreed to undergo rehab.
Her iconic presence at the special screening of “Himala” proved yet again that after than more than four decades in the industry, Nora Aunor is still at the top of her game. There hasn’t been anyone like her before her or since.

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