[PHOTO - Actress Nora Aunor arrives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on Tuesday where she was welcomed by long-time confidant German Moreno and Gov. Ramon Emilio Ejercito 3rd of Laguna. PHOTO BY JAE MARYANOL]

MANILA, AUGUST 5, 2011 (TIMES) She’s finally back.

Despite arriving just a few hours earlier, Nora Aunor did not show any signs of jet lag as she graced her very first press conference at the Boracay Ballroom of the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) on Tuesday.

Wearing an off-white pantsuit, a pair of pearl-studded earrings and necklace and what appeared to be a Burberry scarf, one of Philippine cinema’s best actresses looked every inch like the “Superstar” that endeared her to her legion of loyal fans.

As she made her way toward the presidential table, there seemed to be a collective feeling of awe as the usually agitated members of the press looked “starstruck” by her presence — a probable mixture of relief and disbelief that after months of anticipation and postponed trips, “Ate Guy” was finally back home.

For the next two hours, Aunor gamely answered questions from a surprisingly reserved press, revealing that she would only be in the country for three months to do a movie with Gov. Ramon Emilio Ejercito 3rd of Laguna province, and a miniserye for TV5, which will serve as her official home studio during her stay.

She expressed her excitement to return to work, and thanked TV5, Ejercito and German Moreno for trusting her and making her return possible.

“Matagal-tagal din akong hindi nakakaarte at ‘yun ‘yung nami-miss ko talaga. Kaya masaya ako kasi magagawa ko na naman yung gusto ko talagang gawin — ang pag-arte [I have not been acting for quite some time and I really miss that. That’s why I am happy because I would be doing what I want to do — acting],” Aunor said.

The superstar, however, admitted that she could not sing anymore.

“Gusto ko sana ring kumanta, pero hindi pa talaga puwede [I want to sing, but I can’t for now],” she said.

Aunor also assured TV5 that she will do her best and promised to complete all her commitments.

“Gagawin ko po kung ano ang naka-schedule at tatapusin ko lahat ng kailangang tapusin dahil ayoko naman mapahiya si Kuya Germs [I will do all of what has been scheduled and complete what has to be done because I do not want to embarrass German Moreno],” she said.

Moreno defended Aunor from the negative publicity and accusations about the superstar’s gambling habits.

“Nagpupunta lamang si Guy sa casino kapag niyaya siya ng mga kapwa niya Pilipino at sila pa mismo ang nagbibigay ng puhunan sa kanya. Pero wala naman pruweba o litrato na may hawak siyang baraha o tumataya ng malaking halaga. Nahuli ko lang siya minsan sa slot machine pero sabi naman niya sa akin na five cents lang naman ‘yun at ‘yung puhunan ay bigay lamang sa kanya [Nora only goes to the casino if she is invited by her Filipino friends and it is her friends who give her the money to play. But there is no proof or photographs of her holding cards and betting big. I caught her once in front of a slot machine but she said that was only worth five cents and the money she used to play was given to her],” he said.

After shooting the movie El Presidente, TV5 head of creative and TV production, Perci Intal, said that Aunor will be starring in another pioneering series for the Kapatid Network.

“This miniserye is going to be another first for Philippine television since it will only last for one month,” Intal said during an interview with The Manila Times.

The miniserye, which will be shot in full HD, will be helmed by veteran director Mario O’Hara and is slated to air in October.

Intal said that they were still completing the script and cast and would even be open to a possible pairing of the famed Christopher de Leon-Nora Aunor tandem.

Besides the movie and television series, Moreno, Ate Guy’s confidant, disclosed that Regal Films matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde was also interested in producing a movie for the superstar.

In a commendable gesture, TV5 even allowed reporters of rival networks ABS CBN and GMA7 to the press conference, but Aunor quickly clarified that she will only be appearing on TV5 shows during her stay.

Grand fans’ day

To celebrate the return of Aunor, TV5 will be holding a grand fans’ day celebration on Sunday at the Broadway Centrum in Quezon City (Metro Manila).

While many voiced out apprehensions about the size of the venue, Intal assured that this was just one of the series of fan’s day events TV5 would be holding for fans of the superstar.

According to organizers, admission will be on a first come-first served basis.

The venue could accommodate up to 1,000 people.

Aunor arrived in Manila before dawn on Tuesday on board Philippine Airlines Flight PR 103 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 at about 4:30 a.m. from Los Angeles.

She was welcomed by Moreno and Ejercito.

Reports said that fans and airport employees patiently waited inside the airport as early as 1 a.m.

Some fans even brought flowers and food as welcome gifts for her.

Aunor said that she was very happy to come home and that she missed her fans.

She apologized to her fans for the cancellation of her supposed homecoming on July 21. WITH REPORT FROM MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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