Official movie poster
Directed byGil M. Portes
Produced byAntonio G. Dulalia
Written by
Music byWilly Cruz
CinematographyEly Cruz
Edited byEdgardo 'Boy' Vinarao
Adrian Films
Distributed byTri-Films International
Release date
  • September 24, 1984 (1984-09-24)
Running time
102 minutes

'Merika is a 1984 drama film directed by Gil Portes and starring 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]



Awards and recognition[]

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


  1. ^ "Three by Nora: 'Merika (Gil Portes), Condemned, Bulaklak sa City Jail (both by Mario O'Hara)". Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  2. ^ "'Merika (1984) Review". Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  3. ^ "REVIEW: 'Merika: Emmanuel A. Reyes Tempo, 1984". Retrieved 2013-05-02.

External links[]