Nora speaks out on National Artist issue
- Ricky L. Calderon (The Freeman) - July 2, 2014 - 12:00am

Superstar Nora Aunor fi-nally broke her silence on the controversial snub by President Noynoy Aquino who dropped her from the list of National Artist Awardees despite being chosen by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts which said the actress got the highest votes among those chosen for the honor.

The presidential snub became a big issue that even caught the eye of the international press which ran a story on it. Members of the academe, people from the entertainment sector, national artists, the media, and Nora’s fans took to social media to vent their frustrations.

Nora, the acclaimed actress who is regarded as a national treasure, finally broke her silence by issuing a statement which we are sharing with the readers of The Freeman. The statement follows in full:

“Gusto ko pong magpasalamat sa lahat ng mga taong sumuporta at patuloy na sumusuporta sa akin sa panahong ito ng usapin tungkol sa National Artist Awards.

Inaamin ko pong nasaktan ako sa mga nangyari. Pero ang dagsa  ng suporta na nakita ko at naramdaman mula sa aking mga kababayan — mga katrabaho ko sa industriya, mga fans at mga kaibigan, mga pari at madre, mga guro at iba pang taga-akademya, mga taga-media, mga National Artists, mga pangkaraniwang mamamayan dito at sa ibang bansa — ay sapat-sapat na upang maramdaman kong maski wala mang tropeo o karangalang igawad sa akin ang mga nasa kapangyarihan, iniluklok naman ako ng mga kababayan ko habang buhay sa kanilang mga puso bilang isang artista ng bayan.

Para sa akin po ay mas totoo at mas masarap ang karangalang ito dahil taus-pusong nanggagaling sa mga taong siyang dahilan kung bakit ako nagpapakabuti bilang isang artista — ang mga mamamayang Pilipino. Ang pagsuportang ito ang lalong nagbibigay ng lakas ng loob sa akin, at ng walang kapantay na inspirasyon, upang lalo kong pagbutihin ang aking sining, upang lalo akong sipagin sa pagbabahagi ng kung anumang talento meron ako, at upang lalo ko pang pag-ibayuhin na maging isang mabuti at marangal na mamamayang Pilipino. Maraming salamat po at pagpalain po kayo ng Diyos.”

Nora just finished shooting the Joel Lamangan indie movie “Hustisya,” an entry to the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival which starts in August. The film had its final shooting day on June 28, wherein catching the attention of many was the black t-shirt worn by Nora which had the words “Proud to be Filipino, Ashamed of My Government.”

Gardo Versoza, one of Nora’s co-stars in the film, was the one who gave Nora the shirt. “Naglambing si Nora kay Gardo if she could have his shirt to which the actor obliged,” said one who was present during the shoot last Saturday. The words printed on the shirt seemed to indicate how Nora felt about the disrespect done to her by the Aquino government.

PNoy may have denied Nora the honor, but in God’s perfect time, Nora will get her just reward. Just the same, even without this award, Nora’s place in Philippine entertainment history is firmly in place. No one comes close to what she has accomplished.


After winning the best actress award at the recently concluded 37thGawad Urian for the Lav Diaz movie “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” Angeli Bayani is doing a new movie which is due for international release as well, just like “Ilo Ilo” which garnered acclaim for her.

Her movie is titled “Foreigners” which is being directed by Sam and Tom McKeith and also stars Will Howarth. The  movie is currently being shot here in the country.

Angeli feels proud to have been chosen to be part of this new production. According to the movie’s producer, they got interested to get Angeli after seeing her in “Ilo Ilo” which was also done by a foreign producer.

The actress still feels overwhelmed with her victory in the Urian, where she bested an elite field that included iconic actresses and long-time rivals Nora and Vilma Santos. Her victory was enough to merit her attention not only from movie buffs but also from her peers in theater, as well as from ordinary people.

“I am not used to this kind of attention but it feels good because I consider it as a reward for a job well done and I hope that it will also open the doors for my colleagues in theater to be recognized as well,” said Angeli. In the same manner, she was very pleased that she got the female lead in “Foreigners” where she will play the role of a boxer’s wife.

Aside from “Foreigners,” she is also playing the lead in the Cinemalaya entry titled “Bwaya” which is based on true events. The movie is written and directed by Francis Xavier Pasion, who helmed the award-winning “Jay” and “Sampaguita.” In “Bwaya,” Angeli plays a mother of a teenager who killed by a crocodile. As she goes searching for the body of her missing child, she realizes that not all crocodiles are in the water.

“We were so nervous during our shoot because we found that the marshland that we were shooting in Agusan del Sur was really infested with crocodiles. So we really had to be careful,” she related.


Kapamilya actor Arjo Atayde says he doesn’t know how to court a girl anymore that is why he doesn’t know how to tell Alex Gonzaga, his partner in the new ABS-CBN series “Pure Love” that he has plans of courting her.

Coming from a relationship that lasted eight years, Arjo says he is clueless as to how he is going to approach Alex and make known his intentions. But he didn’t deny that Alex is his crush and in fact, he is vocal about it.

But at the presscon of “Pure Love” last week, Alex said her heart is closed when it comes to love, that’s why she can’t say what are Arjo’s chances if the son of actress Sylvia Sanchez is really determined to pursue her. For his part, Arjo said he is willing to wait until such time that Alex is ready to fall in love again.

After a breakthrough role in “Dugong Buhay” for which he won an acting award from PMPC Star Awards for TV as best supporting actor, Arjo says his role in “Pure Love” is a challenge. This Philippine adaptation of the popular Koreanovela titled “49 Days” also happens to be Arjo’s first primetime series and this adds up to his excitement.

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