Happy days are here again for National Artist Nora Aunor as she turned 70 last May with a slew of new projects. “Feeling 17!” she quipped at her 1970s-themed party with a rare family reunion and prayers for extended life and good health after her health crisis last year.
“Sa tingin ko parang 17 pa din ako pero sa dami ng nararamdaman sa katawan, 70 na talaga,” she said laughing, merrily welcoming friends like Bembol Roco, Ricky Davao, Alfred Vargas, Marissa Delgado, Snooky Serna, Julia Clarete and many media friends dating back to the 60s and 70s. “Dapat naman talaga, pinahanap ko sila!,” she exclaimed, spotting veteran scribes like Mercy Lejarde, Pilar Mateo and Obette Serrano, among others.
But everyone took a back seat to the highlight of the occasion with the clan reunion of the superstar.
All of the film icon’s five children were present at the 1970s-themed party at Seda Hotel Quezon City—namely, Ian de Leon, his wife Jennifer Orcine, and their kids; Lotlot de Leon and her husband, Fadi El-Soury; Matet de Leon and husband, Mickey Estrada, and their kids; as well as Kiko and Kenneth.
Previously estranged from their mother, Lotlot, Matet, and Ian all expressed their unconditional love for Aunor, who also thanked her children for standing by her, most recently when she was under critical care for her respiratory illness.
“Good health always lang ang birthday wish ko kay mommy,” Lotlot told ABS-CBN News. “Kahit tawagan mo ako ng alas dos, alas tres ng madaling araw, babangon ako I will be there for you! Ikaw ang buhay ko! Andito ako dahil sa ‘yo.“
All’s well that ends well also for Lotlot, who had been most vocal about her disagreements with her mother, particularly a new resolved issue involving their supposed competition in the selling of gourmet tuyo or dried fish “Ako lang po kasi ang may pinamaraming nasasabi,” said Matet to the laughter of the crowd. “Ngayon magka-chat na kami, nasasabi ko sa kanya ang lahat-lahat! ‘Pero mommy, mahal na mahal po namin kayo! Forever!’”
Ian also spoke about the unique love expressed by his mother. “Sometimes, we, and even she, cannot comprehend it. But she sees beauty and goodness in everyone despite the darkness,“ he said in his tribute. “This, I humbly accept and embrace without judgment.”
Aunor is only thankful for the extended gift of life after her health issues. “Andiyan pa rin ang Taas, pinangalagaan ako. Ang wish ko lang, humaba pa ang buhay ko, makagawa pa ng ibang proyekto at makatulong tayo sa ibang nangangailangan,” she told us.
One of her most recent film collaborations that she is most proud of is the Adolf Alix movie Pieta with Gina Alajar and Alfred Vargas. The superstar weaved her magic on Vargas anew in a pivotal moment in the family drama about an ailing mother and her long lost son. “The way she looked at me, I saw my late mom (Atty Susan Vargas). There were quiet scenes with Ate Guy that I really felt she was my mother. Those are moments I will cherish,” Vargas told us, also citing how he struggled to get Convince to say yes on the Alix, Gerry Gracio story.
“This is probably my best and most magical Nora Aunor experience I’ve had during the entire shoot.”
Aunor is slated to do another movie thriller in Siquijor about the life of a healer. She is also travelling to Japan to receive an achievement award from the Filipino-Japanese entertainment advocacy group headed by Emma Cordero in Fukuoka October this year.
Image credits: Mario V. Dumaual