MANILA — National Artist Nora Aunor marked her 70th birthday Saturday with a rare family reunion and prayer for extended life and good health.
All of the film icon’s five children were present at the '70s-themed party at Seda Hotel Quezon City, namely Ian de Leon, his wife Jennifer Orcine and their kids; Lotlot de Leon and her husband, Fadi El-Soury; Matet de Leon and husband, Mickey Estrada, and their kids; as well as Kiko and Kenneth .
Previously estranged from their mother, Lotlot, Matet, and Ian all expressed their unconditional love for Aunor, who also thanked her children for standing by her, most recently when she was under critical care for her respiratory illness.
“Good health always lang ang birthday wish ko kay mommy,” Lotlot told ABS-CBN News. “Kahit tawagan mo ako ng alas dos, alas tres ng madaling araw, babangon ako I will be there for you! Andito ako dahil sa ‘yo.“
All’s well that ends well, Lotlot agreed with her mother’s intimate guests who have witnessed how their family drama played out in public through the years.
Ian also spoke about the unique love expressed by her mother. “Sometimes, we, and even she, cannot comprehend it. But she sees beauty and goodness in everyone despite the darkness,“ he said in his tribute. “This, I humbly accept and embrace without judgment.”
Matet elicited the loudest laughter after she admitted she was the most vocal in her misunderstanding with her mother. “Ako na lang po ang laging may pinakamaraming nasasabi tungkol kay mommy,“ she said.
“Lagi kasi kaming nagcha-chat ni mommy so nasasabi ko sa kanya ang lahat-lahat,“ added Matet,who was embroiled in a now-resolved issue with Aunor involving their supposed competition in selling bottled tuyo or dried fish. “Pero mommy, mahal na mahal po namin kayo! Forever!”
Aunor is only thankful for the extended gift of life after her health issues. “Andiyan pa rin ang Taas, pinangalagaan ako. Ang wish ko lang, humaba pa ang buhay ko, makagawa pa ng ibang proyekto at makatulong tayo sa ibang nangangailangan,” she told ABS-CBN News.
After finishing the Adolf Alix movie “Pieta” with Gina Alajar and Alfred Vargas, Aunor is slated to do another movie thriller in Siquijor about the life of a healer. She is also travelling to Japan to receive an achievement award from the Filipino-Japanese entertainment advocacy group headed by Emma Cordero in Fukuoka October this year.