Ilocanos declare Nora Aunor as adopted daughter of Paoay

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PAOAY: Noranians are not just rooting for a premiere dramatic actress of the Philippines; Ilocanos take pride of Nora Aunor as well.

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Municipal officials led by Mayor Dolores Clemente and Vice Mayor Jessie Galano handed Aunor a copy of their resolution making her part of Paoay’s family.

It took sculptor Gerry Leonardo of Philippine High School for the Arts 30 days to build the statue of iconic actress Nora Aunor’s character in the award-winning 1982 film “Himala.” Leonardo said he hoped the sculpture would soon become a pilgrimage site in this municipality.

The life-size, fiber glass statue of Aunor was unveiled on Saturday night at the sand dunes where “Himala” was filmed.

The unveiling of the statue, which depicts Aunor’s character Elsa deep in prayer and kneeling in front of a withered tree, capped a day of tributes for the country’s premier dramatic actress that also saw this town conferring on her the title of “adopted daughter” of Paoay.

Municipal officials led by Mayor Dolores Clemente and Vice Mayor Jessie Galano handed Aunor a copy of their resolution making her part of Paoay’s family.

The teary-eyed actress thanked the town and narrated her experience when she filmed “Himala,” one of the highest-grossing Filipino films in the 1980s directed by National Artist Ishmael Bernal and produced by Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, in sleepy Barrio Cupang, which is more known today as the home of the Paoay sand dunes in Suba village.

The Bernal movie bagged major awards at the Metro Manila Film Festival in 1982. It received even more success and world accolades from the 1983 Manila International Film Festival. It also won the 2008 CNN Pulse Asia award.

In 2012, Aunor and the film helped give birth to the province’s “Himala sa Buhangin” Festival, which takes a current generation of Filipinos back 30 years.

This resulted to a number of movie producers now lining up to have Ilocos Norte as their next film location as the desk works on the needed arrangements by a network.

Reports in the past few years have shown a steady increase in on-location shooting in the province which expands to Ilocos Norte market for the arts and media production industry.

Among the recently filmed movies in Ilocos Norte include an international Thai actor Mario Maurer for the film ‘Suddenly It’s Magic’ and the Metro Manila Film Festival Entry of actors Vic Sotto and Bong Revilla for the movie ‘Si Agimat, Si Enteng at Si Ako’.

“Suddenly It’s Magic” was a film produced by Star Cinema, where 70 percent of the movie was shot in Ilocos Norte, particularly in the towns of Paoay, Burgos and Pagudpud.

According to Marcos, the publicity and the exposure we can get from these movies result in savings for the advertisement for purposes of tourism.

On the other hand, locals could also get an extra income since the production look for “extras” to play in the project.

Other movies that were shot in Ilocos Norte were the classic Filipino film “Himala” and segments of Hollywood films such as those of “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Mad Max” shot on location in the La Paz Sand Dunes of Laoag City. PNA

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