Superstar Nora Aunor could no longer count the number of times she transferred residences.
A news team visited her home last Christmas Eve. The visit turned out into a sentimental journey for Ate Guy.
In one corner of the house, a framed photo was hanged where Nora, waving from the second-floor window of a nondescript apartment.
That was the first pad she rented with her family, in Natib, Quezon City.
That was their first home after they left Nichols Air Base, she looked back.
Boyet (Christopher de Leon) was their neighbor. Nora always see him, playing basketball.
Antique Santo Niño and images of Virgin Mary, a picture of Mater Dolorosa and framed album covers and photographs from the 1970s. All these are the stuff of showbiz legend and lore.
She recounted that her family had moved to Natib because it was near the places where director Artemio Marquez shot their string of potboiler hits in the 1970s.
From that humble flat in Natib, she later moved to mansions in La Vista, Greenhills, Valencia, Balete and Corinthian Gardens, just to name a few.
Chinese jar, china and lacquer ware collection, Advent wreaths were also her collections. The ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ trophy, started it all.
Nora said that she is living now in a small house compared to her previous big houses.
She recounted that her first big property in La Vista was 3,000 square meters. Another home in Jackson, Greenhills, was just as sprawling.
Her Valencia home was a lucky charm, she recalled, because some people believed it harbored a white dwarf but she had to sell it, to produce movies, she remarked.
On at least two occasions, she had to sell her home, in order to produce such classics as Gerardo de Leon’s ‘Banawe’ and Mario O’Hara’s ‘Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos.’
She always sells her houses before because of big reasons, to produce films.
Even though it is modest in her estimate, her latest Quezon City address, however, is special because it also serves as home, a veritable museum, for her ever-growing collection of trophies and other memorabilia.
This time, she allotted an entire room to her numerous industry awards—local and foreign, for television, theater, music and the movies, from critics and academicians.
Before, she scattered her trophies in her small condo unit, the singer-actress said. Now, she made sure that they are all in one place.
Nora has won at least 66 acting awards.
There are still a few missing ones, she recalled.
She lost some of the Patas trophies (for her TV shows ‘Superstar’ and ‘Ang Makulay na Daigdig ni Nora’ because she kept transferring homes.
Two of the eight best actress trophies from the Metro Manila Film Festival are nowhere in sight.
It is a good thing that she was able to save her best performer award for ‘Atsay’ in 1978, because it was the first and only time such a recognition was given to her by the MMFF.
She also cannot find her citation from The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service (Towns), along with a similar honor from the Quezon City government.
She is asking the help from the award-giving bodies. She wants to have replicas of the missing trophies made, she said.
Fortunately, she was able to retrieve from Music Museum her trophy as grand champion in the singing tilt, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan,’ which she topped in 1968 with the song, ‘Moonlight Becomes You.’
Who would have known that this wisp of a girl from Iriga would win not only the hearts of the judges of ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan,’ but also charm critics and the film industry from all over the world?
Occupying special places of honor are her various international awards: Best actress from the A-list Cairo film fest for ‘The Flor Contemplacion Story” (1995), and her triple whammy for ‘Thy Womb’: Bisato d’Oro in Venice, Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong and Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane (2012).
Also stored in the trophy room is an extensive music collection—tapes of songs she recorded for the musical-variety show, ‘Superstar.’ The show was on air for 22 years, she reported.
Other souvenirs from her storied life are displayed in the house—including two portraits by painter Peck Piñon, who was also known as comedian Tugak.
One of the paintings depicts Guy’s winning moment as a Princess of Philippine Movies, while the other shows a young Guy wearing a traditional terno.
Hanging on the walls are paintings by Guy’s friend, John Rendez—most of the art works portray superheroes and other pop culture icons, but one features angels and is displayed next to an ivory Santo Niño.
The child Jesus figure is one of two that she was able to keep through the years.
She has lost many antique images. A warrior Santo Niño was borrowed by a friend for a procession, but it was never returned to her.
She maintains a healthy attitude toward worldly possessions.
Displayed beside another Santo Niño figure is a photo of Mater Dolosa, a weeping Virgin Mary.
For the holidays, she put up a Christmas tree, spruced up by her assistant Lgee Navarro, while the gifts underneath were wrapped with the help of John’s daughter, Anacain Porter.
She remembered past Christmases that she spent all by her lonesome—with only John and his family as her companions for noche buena.
It was in stark contrast to previous holiday seasons, when her parents were still around.
When she was still new in show business, they always had a Christmas party at home, she reminisced.
Her mother took care of the food and the gifts for the guests.
Everyone was welcome: friends, fans, reporters, costars and relatives from Bicol.
They also had a singing contest for the staff of NV Productions.
Since her home in La Vista had a swimming pool, the revelry always ended with guests wading in the water.
How she misses those halcyon days of her youth.
Those were happy memories. She hopes to throw another big party before she retires from show biz.
But retirement is in the far-off future, as far as the Noranians are concerned.
This year, her fans are organizing a mammoth convention, to mark the Superstar’s 50th anniversary in the entertainment industry.
Fans from here and abroad are attending and even fans who are not members of any organization are expected.
She acknowledged that she is clueless about the convention’s details because the fans are the ones preparing everything.
Nora will just attend the event.
She has another big dream, to build a vacation home in the province, a rest house in Bicol.
She is eyeing a 6,000-sqm property, where she can raise turkey, chicken, pigs and several head of cattle.
It can be a good business someday, she pointed out, she wants to start it small as long as she has a business.