MULTI-AWARDED actress Nora Aunor (Nora Cabaltera Villamayor in real life), who now resides in the Philippines, will celebrate her 69th birthday on Saturday, May 21.
La Aunor, internationally known as the one and only Superstar of the Philippine silver screen, was born in Iriga, Camarines Sur. She was the grand champion of the Darigold Jamboree Singing Contest and represented her province in the Tawag ng Tanghalan Grand National Finals in 1967.
Nora, who fans fondly call “Ate Guy,” started her movie/singing career under Tower Productions and Tower Records owned by movie producer and director Artemio Marquez.
In 1971, she was crowned as the first ever Box Office Queen, an award given to the female actor with the highest box office record for the year given out by the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation. Nora has won the award five times, including in 1973 when she starred in the film “Erap is My Guy” with another movie icon Joseph Estrada, who would later on become Philippine president and mayor of Manila.
Aunor is a multi-awarded actress having won Best Actress trophies in movies and television from many Philippine award-giving bodies – the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts & Sciences (FAMAS) Awards (5), Gawad Urian (7), PMPC Star Awards (8), Metro Manila Film Festival (8), Luna (known before as FAP) Awards (4), and Young Critics Circle (5). Internationally, she has picked up wins in the Cairo International Film Festival, Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Asian Film Awards, Sakhalin International Film Festival and St. Tropez International Film Festival, among others.
In 2015, Nora was conferred the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) Gawad Para sa Sining for her work in film and broadcast arts. This is the highest award that the CCP gives out in different categories.
While her work in film is well-known, Nora’s contributions to the music industry are also indelible. At the pinnacle of her stardom as a recording artist, it is estimated that local records soard up to 60% of national sales, and La Aunor is the only artist in Philippine recording history with more than 260 singles, having recorded more than 500 songs in her career. Thirty of those singles have been awarded gold status.
One of her recordings, a cover of “Pearly Shells” in 1971 is one of the biggest-selling singles in the Philippines, with an estaimted sales of 1 million units.
Other celebrants for this merry month of May are:
May 2: The late internationally-known and multi-awarded actor Eddie Garcia;
May 3: Dancing With The Stars two-time winner Cheryl Burke, Ely-Lyn Beauty Salon owner Lynda Elvinia who is also a talented ballroom dancer;
May 4: Vicky Garcia, a well-loved Registered Nurse of Sequioa Hospital and San Mateo General Hospital;
May 7: Daly City religious leader Brenda Padilla, San Francisco fashion designer Patricia Valera;
May 10: Filipino and international singing sensation Jake Cyrus (known as Charice Pempengco before his gender transition);
May 11: Multi-awarded actress Judy Ann Santos, World of Life at Assembly of Christ administrative officer Tingting Villar Apolinario;
May 12: San Jose singer/songwriter J.D. Charisma, veteran actress and Los Angeles resident Mila del Sol, San Mateo Home Care nursing supervisor Gloria Nielsen, Manteca painter Jessie Marinas;
May 13: Handsome and multi-awarded actor Paolo Avelino, entertainment/concert producer Maribeth Ugalde of Rodeo (California), South city community leader Marc Garvida Jr.;
May 14: Former Philippine Department of Tourism Director Rene de los Santos;
May 15: GMA Pinoy TV’s Jennylyn Mercado, Dionisia Pacquiao (mother of boxing champ and Senator Manny Pacquiao) who turns 71 years old;
May 16: Kapuso Channel actor Dennis Trillo, Teayana Orence (daughter of Ozelle Orence of San Francisco);
May 17: Gerry Sy, co-owner of Saint Francis Square Shopping Center in Daly City;
May 19: Teenage singer Eren Padilla;
May 20: Former Miss Universe 1st runner-up Miriam Quimbao (1999);
May 23: Actor-singer Sam Milby of Star Cinema;
May 24: Dr. Renato (Butch) Calip, a well-liked dentist in Daly City and owner of a nursing school in Manila;
May 25: Young coloratura soprano Amber Paterson of Milpitas, San Mateo religious leader Nenia Iboleon Zarasora, former Mrs. Ilocano Region Maxie Dandoy;
May 26: Former Mrs. World-USA winner Zeny Lutao Sarmiento of Concord;
May 27: Head of Global Corporate Affairs & Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for ABS-CBN Global Nerissa Fernandez;
May 28: Divine Diva of the Philippine music industry Zsa Zsa Padilla, Santo Niño de Praga devotee/Antioch religious leader Pacita Rodriguez;
May 30: This is my very own natal day – I will be celebrating my lucky 85th birthday with the best of health and colorful blessings from the Lord Almighty; multi-awarded actor Ricky Davao, Place One Travel Agency president Conrad Camilosa, successful building contractor Orly Buena;
May 31: South San Francisco real estate executive Cora Manuel Garvida.
To all May celebrants, a very Happy Birthday!!!