Nora is 2014 UP Gawad Plaridel awardee…
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - August 18, 2014 - 12:00am

Just a week ago, Nora Aunor was named Best Actress at the Directors Showcase at the Cinemalaya X for her portrayal of a woman’s descent into evil in the crime world of Manila in Joel Lamangan’s Hustisya. I am sure Nora has already lost count of the number of Best Actress awards she had received these past 40 years or so but I am sure this one feels quite special because it is a vindication of what she was unfairly judged about. And then there is UP’s Gawad Plaridel.

Nora is the recipient of the 2014 UP Gawad Plaridel, the annual media award of the University of the Philippines. According to the announcement from the UP College of Mass Communications, Nora “is being recognized for her unique artistry and versatility as a singer as well as for portraying with keen intelligence and uncommon sensitivity an amazing range of cinematic roles.”

Among these, the citation cites Bona, Himala, Bakit May Kahapon Pa?, Naglalayag, Minsa’y May Isang Gamugamo, Fe Esperanza Caridad, Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Annie Batungbakal, The Flor Contemplacion Story and Thy Womb. She was also commended for producing “movies of notable quality” like Banaue, Alkitrang Dugo and Tisoy.  These films according to the UP CMC, helped raise the bar in Philippine filmmaking.

Aside from singing, acting and producing films, Nora also starred in memorable and long-running TV programs like the Nora Aunor Show and Superstar which “showcased her skills in song and dance and set a trend in Philippine television.” She also had the weekly drama anthologies Nora Cinderella and Ang Makulay Na Daigdig Ni Nora which “brought to the public both fine dramatic acting and relevant narratives of everyday life.”

Also cited was Nora’s use of her “tremendous popularity as an opportunity to (help) the masses…appreciate films and plays that dramatized and analyzed the abject conditions of the Filipino majority and the poor and powerless characters that she played with conviction.”

Nora will receive a trophy specially designed by National Artist Napoleon Abueva, to be awarded by UP President Alfredo Pascual and UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan in ceremonies that will be held at the UP Film Center’s Cine Adarna at 2 p.m. on Aug. 27. Nora will deliver a lecture during the ceremonies.

The UP Gawad Plaridel was established by the UP CMC to give recognition to Filipino media practitioners who have excelled in any of the media, print, radio, film and TV and who have performed with the highest level of professional integrity in the interest of public service. 

The past recipients of the Gawad Plaridel are Eugenia Duran-Apostol, print 2004; Vilma Santos, film, 2005; Fidela (Dely) Magpayo, radio, 2006; Cecilia “Cheche” Lazaro, television, 2007; Pachico Seares, community print, 2008; Kidlat Tahimik, independent filmmaking, 2009; Eloisa “Lola Sela” Canlas, radio, 2011; Florence “Rosa Rosal” Danon-Gayda, television, 2012; and Jose “Pete” Lacaba, print, 2013.

The Gawad Plaridel is named after the journalist and patriot Marcelo H. del Pilar. He adopted the pseudonym in honor of his birthplace in Bulacan. He was the editor of the Spain-based Filipino newspaper La Solidaridad, which gave voice to nationalist sentiments and libertarian ideas in the 1890s. 

Now take note of those words, “for her unique artistry and versatility as a singer” and I am so glad that the citation from the UP CMC has taken it upon itself to remind the public that aside from being a great actress, Nora is also a gifted vocalist.  It was her arrival into the music scene after winning the Tawag Ng Tanghalan TV talent contest that brought the music industry to greater heights. 

It was Nora along with Pilita Corrales, Eddie Peregrina and Victor Wood who brought local talents to the attention of music buyers. Her recordings were simple, mostly laidback collections but her full extraordinarily expressive vocals made every single she released a hit.  For the first time in history, during the late ’60s, Pilipino recordings were selling more or as much as the foreign artists. Among her hits were Pearly Shells, The Music Played, Loving You, My Song, Yesterday When I Was Young, Forever Loving You, Am I That Easy To Forget, The Wedding, Lollipops And Roses, Missing You, Superstar, Tiny Bubbles, A Promise Of Love, Maybe Next Year, Hawaiian Wedding Song, etc.


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