Barangay Sta. Teresa, Lopez, Quezon—It’s amazing that until this very moment the name Nora Aunor has been spelling magic and how.
Is it déjà vu or is it the never-ending influence of Nora on the greater number of Filipinos as the symbol of the great unwashed, of the working class, of the masses?
This afternoon’s educational outreach program of Noranians at the Don Rodolfo F. Agra Elementary School in this village is a testament of Nora’s enduring popularity and mass appeal. No matter how her critics would condescend and condemn her as has been and pop star passé should think twice about her supremacy in the realm of royalty in the biz.
As a movie journalist who has been covering and writing about local entertainment people, places and events for more than four decades, I feel goose bumps growing in my whole body as I witness the adoration and the awareness of the young generation on Nora. Imagine, grade school pupils who are more attuned to Kim Chiu or Ryzza Mae Dizon or Daniel Padilla or AlDub are applauding every time the emcee (avid Nora follower Marie Cusi) mentions the name Nora Aunor. The host asks the kids who Nora Aunor is and they know she’s the Superstar.
To think that these children are millennials, miles apart from the Noramania she had wielded in the late sixties and the early seventies. There is no coaching from the audience and these kids are just familiar to Ate Guy as moon is to night.
It’s a blessing “Handog sa Kabataan ng mga Noranians 2018” gift-giving project is done here when I am currently paying an elder sister a visit. According to one of its organizers, Anna Marie Abu, an employee of the Human Resources Department of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), a graduate of Public Administration from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, a product of DUMALO (Dulaang Don Mateo Lopez), a community-based theater group I founded here in 1991, a housewife and a mom, it is the first time that the Noranians have organized and implemented a socio-civic event as this which is noted by Cusi. “In Metro Manila and its key cities, we have already done this but this is the first time we are doing this in the province,” said Marie.
Granting for the sake of argument that Anna Marie is from here but the spirit of Nora spreading her altruism and aesthetics are worth the long travel of Noranians to the far-off barangay. La Aunor should have been here to witness the fervent adulation for her of the kids, seventy of them being fed and given gifts by her fans.
Many things about Nora the kids mostly remember in the contest to recall the existence of the actress especially her pet name, Ate Guy and the role, the name of the character she donned in the hit and iconic film, Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala.” Elsa is is a giveaway answer, though, but the memory of the kids doesn’t harbor much of a long time significant event but they know its importance.
The Noranians must be congratulated for a job well done. It is an independent initiative. I say this and I will say this again—there must be a series of educational outreach projects in the archipelago even to the countryside to bring the Superstar closer, closest to the people, the very audience she represents as a member of the marginalized group in our society—the poor and the underprivileged, the social class Nora originated.