Oldest person, 74 centenarians, honored in Negros Occidental

OLDEST PERSON. The eldest son of 118-year-old Francisca Susano is 99 years old. Photo by Marchel P.

Espina/Rappler

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The oldest person in Negros Occidental and 74 other centenarians were honored by the provincial government on Thursday, November 5.

The ceremony was held during the 117th Cinco de Noviembre commemoration at the provincial capitol grounds in this city – an event that is 14 months younger than the province's oldest person, 118-year-old Francisca Susano of Barangay Oringao, Kabankalan City.

Each centenarian, or those at least 100 years old, received a P100,000 ($2,121)-cash incentive from the provincial government.

There were 9 centenarians from the first district, 3 from the second district, 18 from the third district, 15 from the fourth district, 13 from the fifth district, and 17 from the sixth district, according to the records of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.

Susano, who is still responsive and can walk on her feet, was born on September 11, 1897.

She got married at 14 and bore 14 children. Her eldest child is 99 years old and is still alive. She has 70 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

She said that she never had a chance to go to school. But she and her husband were able to sustain their needs by working as farm laborers.
She said her husband passed away a long time ago.

What's the secret to her long life?  “I always eat vegetable. I also eat meat when there’s meat," she said.

She said that she’s very thankful for the program of the provincial government.

Last week, the provincial board unanimously approved the P10 million ($212,149) supplemental budget for the centenarians, upon the request of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr.

Earlier this year, the provincial board approved the Negros First Centenarian Act, which provides a one-time cash incentive, worth P100,000, to each centenarian. 
Under the ordinance, beneficiaries must be a resident of Negros Occidental for at least 3 years, while those living in Bacolod City are not qualified.

Aside from recognizing the 75 centenarians, the provincial government also honored 7 outstanding Negrenses.

This year’s recipients of the Pasidungog Award are couple Reynaldo and Ma Lomer Villan for entrepreneurship, Edith Villanueva for public service and health promotion, brothers Ricardo Yanson Jr. and Leo Rey for youth and sports development, Elsie Coscolluela for education, and Modesto Sa-onoy for journalism.

Cinco de Noviembre, a special non-working holiday in Negros Occidental, commemorates the historical event that happened on November 5, 1898, when the Negrenses bluffed the Spaniards to gain their freedom.

The marching revolutionists, led by General Juan Araneta from Bago City and General Aniceto Lacson from Silay City, brandished fake weapons – "rifles" carved out of palm fronds and cannons made from rolled bamboo mats that had been painted black. The Spaniards decided to surrender upon seeing the armed troops. – Rappler.com

US$1 = P47