Nora Aunor was born in Barrio San Francisco, Iriga, Camarines Sur in Bicol Region. Her parents are Antonia Cabaltera and Eustacio Villamayor, she has 9 more siblings including Eddie Villamayor a former actor. When Nora was growing up, it was her grandmother (Lola Theresa) who taught her how to sing and the first song she learned was The Way of a Clown. Mamay Belen (aunt) on the other hand, taught her the right diction, interpretation and expression while singing and took her under their custody and from whom she got her screen name. Nora became a Champion at the Darigold Jamborees Singing Contest singing her winning piece You and the Night and the Music and after that she won another singing contest, The Liberty Big Show. Nora entered the national singing contest Tawag ng Tanghalan where she was defeated on her first try and became a champion on her second try. The Grand National Finals of Tawag ng Tanghalan was on May 29, 1967 where she sang Moonlight Becomes You.
Nora went to Mabini College ['59-'60] when she was in Grade I and transferred to Nichols Air Base Elementary School ['60-'62] when she reached Grade II and III. She then entered Iriga Central Elementary School ['62-'64] as a Grade IV and V student and went back to Mabini Memorial College ['65-'66]. She then transferred to Centro Escolar University-Parañaque where she became a student on her second and third year high school and again in ['70-'71] as a fourth year high school.