Nora Changes Lives in Tawi-tawi
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
No matter the box office success or lack of it for THY WOMB, Nora Aunor has committed herself to improving the lives of residents in Tawi-tawi and Sitangkay. These are the two main areas that were the shooting locations for the award winning film. For her it’s not just a job. Her role was a loving Badjao wife who had to do it all for her husband. There were scenes when Aunor’s character Shaleha was also a mid-wife. This experience may have driven home the need for medical care in a very remote area to the Badjao who are among the most marginalized and neglected indigenous communities in the Philippines.
Nora Aunor is currently cast in TV5’s NEVER SAY GOODBYE set to be aired January 2013. The show is topbilled by Cesar Montano, Alice Dixson and Gardo Verzosa. Artista Academy winners Vin Abrenica and Sophie Albert will play Nora’s children along with Edgar Allan Guzman as her eldest son. Nora will have a major concert initially scheduled for May 2013 but will depend on the results of her throat surgery. The much-anticipated film with Coco Martin may have to wait until shooting for NEVER SAY GOODBYE wraps.
Speaking during fans day she said, “Gusto kong pagsamantalahan ang pagkakataon na tulungan ang gating mga kababayan. Kung na tatandaan niyo ako po ay nangako na babalik sa Tawi-tawi. Dail gusto ko pong makatulong sa pagtayo ng kanilang (health) center hanggang ngayon ay di ko pa na gagawa. Maliban sa aking maaring i-contribute sa pag gawa ng center sa Tawi Tawi at Sitangkay. (I want to take this opportunity to help our countrymates. I promised to help them organize and raise funds for their health center but I have yet to actually do it. Apart from my own contribution I want to encourage others to help in constructing the health center in Tawi-tawi and Sitangkay).”
She found out the needs of the people during production. “Kung managnanak kelangan nila ng bangka para pumunta ng bayan para mapanganak. Yung na isip ko ay magpatayo ng center sa Sitangkay at isang center sa Tawi tawi kung saan kami nagshooting ng matagalan. (Whenever they need to give birth they need a boat in order to reach the next town. What I thought of was a health center that could help them in Tawi-tawi where we shot the film for some time.)”
She reminded her fans of previous fund raisers where it was started from her own contribution and efforts but said, “Mas maganda kung tayong lahat ay tutulong tulong at may ibibigay sa ating mga kababayan sa Tawi tawi. Siguro yung aking iniisip na pwedeng ipatayo doon para sa mga kababayan natin ay maisakatuparan. Magmemeeting ang lahat ng president ng fans club. Pagkatapos na ng pasko. (It’s better if we all come together and help our countrymates in Tawi-tawi. Maybe my idea will come to fruition. All the leaders of fans club will meet after Christmas).”
Upon hearing Aunor’s speech Amina Rasul pledged to help build the health centers in Tawi-tawi and Sitangkay, “Nangangako kami sa mga Badjao na kung kelangan niyo ng tulong ay handa kaming tumulong sa Tawi tawi. Maraming maraming salamat. (We promise the Badjao’s that if they need help we are ready to assist them in Tawi-tawi) Amina is part of the Magbasa Kita Foundation started by her mother former Senator Santanina Rasul.
THY WOMB most recently won seven awards during the MMFF awards night: Best Actress (Nora Aunor), Best Director (Brillante Mendoza), Best Original Story (Henry Burgos), Best Cinematography (Odyssey Flores), Best Production Design (Brillante Mendoza) and the special prizes Gat Puno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award and Most Gender-Sensitive Film.
International awards include: La Navicella/Venezia Cinema Prize, P. Nazareno Taddei Award (Special Mention) and Bisato d’ Oro Award for Ms. Nora Aunor during the Venice film fest. Mendoza won Best Director and Aunor won Best Actress at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards at Brisbane, Australia. The film was also applauded at the Toronto International Film Festival 2012, the Busan International Film Festival 2012,) and Dubai International Film Festival 2012.