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Official movie poster
Directed by Gil Portes
Produced by Antonio G. Dulalia
Written by Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr.
Gil Quito
Screenplay by Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr.
Gil Quito
Story by Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr.
Gil Quito
Starring Nora Aunor
Bembol Roco
Music by Willy Cruz
Cinematography Ely Cruz
Edited by Edgardo Vinarao
Distributed by Adrian Films
Release date
September 24, 1984
Country The Philippines
Language Filipino

'Merika is a 1984 drama film directed by Gil Portes and starred by Nora Aunor and Bembol Roco. Aunor portrayed the role Mila, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who works as a nurse in America. Mila is in effect living The American Dream, or at least the Filipino's idea of the American Dream[1] On the contrary, Mila was struggling to fight loneliness and homesickness in the foreign land. The film also tackles the story of Filipino illegal aliens who will do anything just to get a Green card.

Portes tells the story (written by Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr. and Gil Quito) of the Filipino émigré without the usual embellishments of trite melodrama or vapid sensationalism. Instead, he paints a picture of loneliness in a foreign land that is both moving and memorable.[2]


We see a fairly representative sector of Filipinos living in America through the eyes of Milagros Cruz (Nora Aunor), a nurse working in a New York City hospital. It is her fifth year on the job and life for her has become a predictable routine of quick meals, subway rides, Caucasian patients and late night TV. To augment her income, she holds a second job at a nursing home. Although her two jobs keep her well-off, Mila harbors a secret wish to come home to the Philippines. And while her wish is not an impossible one, the decision involved is a difficult one to make.

For Mila, her decision to come home or to stay is largely shaped by a circle of Filipino friends and acquaintances, all of whom have changed in outlook and attitude towards their native land and their adopted country. For the most part, knowledge of events back home has become speculative while knowledge of the new land has become increasingly material and resentful. An aging Filipino whom Mila befriends at the nursing home becomes her surrogate father. The old man is angry at the manner in which his generation was received by the Americans in the years before the war. Mila's younger friends, on the other hand, are luckier in terms of present-day opportunities. While some have remained honest, others have become callous, even rotten, in adopting the American way of life. All have moments of pride in terms of achievement but no one cares to admit the degradation one goes through to earn that better life, Mila's final decision comes with much pain but it's one deed that's a tribute to human courage and determination.[3]



  • What is clearly admirable about "'Merika," is its affecting portrait of loneliness, so thoughtfully realized by Nora Aunor's touching performance, Gil Portes's direction and Doy del Mundo and Gil Quito's homely screenplay. The film does not emphasize a single, urgent cause for Mila's wanting to go home precisely because such loneliness cannot be quantified. - Emmanuel A. Reyes, Tempo, 1984 / “Tender Effort: One from the Heart” Notes on Philippine Cinema (Manila: De La Salle University Press, 1989), 118
  • As expected, Nora Aunor breathes life and feeling into her lead character… - Mel Tobias, One Hundred Acclaimed Tagalog Movies: Sineng Mundo Best of Philippine Cinema (Vancouver, B.C.: Peanut Butter Publishing, 1998), 163
  • Nora Aunor proves once more that she is an accomplished actress and the camera understandably lingers close-up on her face in many scenes. Changes in her moods and feelings can be expressed very effectively by subtle eye movements and almost imperceptible twitches of the lips. - Film Ratings Board

Awards and recognition[edit]

Year Group Category Nominee Result
1985 Star Awards for Movies (Philippine Movie Press Club) Best Actress Nora Aunor Won
Gawad Urian Awards (Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino) Best Actress Nora Aunor Nominated
Best Picture Nominated
Best Director Gil Portes Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Cesar Alipio Nominated
Best Screenplay Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr.
Gil Quito


External links[edit]