Sunday, January 28, 2007


Superstar Nora Aunor made TV Drama a household name in the mid 70's when she starred in the weekly drama anthology Ang Makulay Na Daigdig Ni Nora which served as a training ground in honing her acting prowess. In the 80's, the Superstar enthralled us once again with with La Aunor. In the early 90's, she top billed yet another weekly drama anthology, STAR Drama Presents NORA. For an entire season, the Superstar played various roles opposite some of the seasoned performers in Philippine television. In what's probably the show's best episodes Dagok, written by Gina Marissa Tagasa, La Aunor reunites with estranged husband Christopher de Leon where they play Purita and Ernesto, a mentally challenged couple who are both being haunted by a dark past. They meet in a local carinderia and soon after finds solace in each other. The Superstar's brilliance is showcased in a couple of highly dramatic scenes while de Leon matches her fiery performance with much intensity and intelligence. Nora and Christopher may not have the onscreen chemistry he has with erstwhile rival Vilma Santos but what these two have is magic. Their artistic bond is unparalleled. I remember Ate Guy saying Takot si Papa Boyet sa akin... then I asked why and she responded coyly with Akala kasi lagi kong lalamunin sa eksena, to which I said Kasi ho, masyado kayong magaling kaya minsan nago-overacting siya. She then said Oo nga!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


The recent VCD release of Superstar Nora Aunor's acclaimed entry to the 1978 Metro Manila Film Festival Atsay was a huge disappointment. The original theatrical release runs at 2 hours and 31 minutes while the VCD was just a little over two hours. I was surprised to find out that Solar Entertainment edited the film therefore affecting it's narrative. Some very important key scenes are nowhere to be found. It was exciting news for Noranians everywhere when this Eddie Garcia directed film classic is finally released on video. The transfer is less than impressive as well. It doesn't give justice to Romeo Vitug's excellent cinematography. The colors are mostly faded and washed out. This proves the poor state of film preservation in the Philippines. I'm just thankful that I have the complete version of Atsay on VHS so I can savor the Superstar's superlative performance in this film where she was honored with the Best Performer Award.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Last Saturday, I went to the surprise birthday party for one of my closest friends Vincent Nebrida at actress Dindi Gallardo's apartment in Manhattan. At the aforementioned occassion, I had the pleasure of talking with Gil Jose Quito, one of the writers of my most favorite film 'Merika. I asked him how he and co-writer Clodualdo Doy del Mundo, Jr. came up with the screenplay for the movie. He told me that Gil Portes wanted to make a movie to be shot in the United States which will star Nora Aunor. In a couple of weeks time the two writers came up with a sequence treatment which the director approved right away. The trouble was that Ate Guy had to fly here earlier than scheduled. She has prior commitments in Manila at the time. A week before the Superstar arrives, Gil and Doy locked themselves in a motel room in New Jersey for ten days so they could finish the screenplay. Gil said that it was easy for him to write the character of Milagros Cruz because he had Ate Guy in mind, that he could actually hear her singing in his head. Immediately after, they gave the first draft of the script for 'Merika which Gil Portes loved so much. I asked if he visited the set often, only a couple of times he said. Since his co-writer went back home to the Philippines, Gil was the one who added the last scene where Milagros Cruz was on top of the Empire State Building. I told him it's one of my two most favorite scenes in the entire film. The other one is where Mila was reading her friend Cora's letter afterwhich, Ate Guy slowly tilts her head up as tears slowly well from eyes. Gil mentioned that Ate Guy practically directed herself in the movie. So Gil Portes didn't give her any instructions on how she should act in each scene in the film, I asked. He said pinabayaan lang siya ni Gil (Portes). 'Merika was great for the simple reason that director had a briliiant script to work with. Apparently, Gil Portes shot the movie using the first draft of the screenplay. Gil said that he met Ate Guy twice during the shoot and she was extremely warm and accomodating.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Dearest Ate Guy,

I would just like to thank you for all the great films and music you've shared. All of which still continue to give me immense joy. I've long been relieving what others call your glory days. The important films you've made during the 70's and the 80's. I wallow in the pleasure of watching these classics over and over again, and I do consider myself to be very lucky to have most of those important films on video. I still get excited whenever I watch Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos and marvel at your genius in Himala and Bona. But there's this certain connection between me and your films which has played a huge part in my life when I was growing up. As a young boy, I would ditch school, go to the theaters and spend the whole afternoon watching your movies. The images on the silver screen resonates with me and to my surprise, after all these years it still does.

I consider myself to be among the fortunate few who was given the chance to spend time with you. How can I forget the Power Of Two Concert Series with Kuh Ledesma three years ago? I even flew to San Francisco to witness this event first hand. You weren't feeling well the very first time we've met but you graciously accommodated all of us. You even allowed us to accompany you during the rehearsals for the show. And sitting next to you while having dinner, I was starstruck! Along with other Noranians I followed you to San Diego, then here in the East Coast. The sleepless nights I spent driving back and forth to Atlantic City just to be near you. I never felt exhausted even once! You've always been a constant source of strength. But I guess like any other, I'm just human and when we were in Virginia Beach I got sick and you were there inside our hotel room, nursing me to health. You never left my side until I fell asleep. I was genuinely touched by your thoughtfulness, it made me cry... I cannot believe that the one person I admired my entire life was sitting next to me, taking good care of me. How can I forget all those memories? It's one of those special moments I'll cherish and forever be greatful for.

I know things haven't been easy for you this past year, what with the drug charges and all, but like any other problem that came your way, you were still able to rise above it all. You have proven not just to us your followers, but to your detractors as well that you can pull yourself together and still be triumphant at the end. On this New Year's day, I wish you good health, happiness and inner peace. May the Lord Almighty continue to shower you with all His love and Abundant Blessings! Things may not always come your way like they used to but always remember that no matter what, I'll be here to love you unconditionally and continue to support your future endeavors. As I listen to Superstar, your latest compilation CD I was reminded of how much I loved one particular song which the late great composer George Canseco wrote espcially for you, I was suddenly reminded of all the journeys in life that I took with you, (well, you weren't physically there but you know what I mean). I always listen to this song with much fondness.


Sung By: Nora Aunor

Words And Music By: George Canseco

Arranged By: Amado Trivino

Minsan ang ngiti,

Sa wari'y kay tamis

Di mo alam na sa likod pala,

May nakatagong hinagpis.

Dangan ay dapat kang humalakhak,

Sa ngalan ng pakikisama

Huwag kang pahuhuling, umiiyak

Kung di mo nais mag-isa.

Kapag ang tagumpay,

Ay nasa iyong kamay

Marami ang sa iyo'y nagmamahal

Mailap ang pagkalumbay

Subalit ang talunan sa daigdig,

Walang kasing kaawa-awa,

Iniiwasang parang may sakit

Na nakahahawang pagluha.Ang buhay nga naman,

Walang iniwan sa dalawang maskara ng sining

Isang humahalkhak at isang lumuluha,

Ikaw, ano ang maskarang naitakda sa iyo?

Luha o halakhak?Dangan ay dapat kang humalakhak,

Sa ngalan ng pakikisama

Huwag kang pahuhuling umiiyak

Kung di mo nais mag-isa.

Kapag ang tagumpay,

Ay nasa iyong kamay

Marami ang sa iyo'y nagmamahal

Mailap ang pagkalumbay

Subalit ang talunan sa daigdig,

Walang kasing kaawa-awa,

iniiwasang parang may sakit

Na nakahahawang pagluha,

Nag-iisang lumuluha,

Isang kaibigan may wala.

A Very Happy New Year!

With Much Love And Admiration,