In Pangasinan town, being 100-yr-old common
BANI, Pangasinan—In this western Pangasinan town, at least three residents have breached the century mark, and their long lives have fascinated their children and relatives.
Nine other residents are in their 90s and would celebrate their 100th birthday in a few years.
Their stories have pricked the interest of Bani resident Josefina Eugenio, 55, who looked for them and came up with a list that she posted on her Facebook account.
Eugenio, who had compiled a list of student achievers in her town, said she came up with the list of Bani’s elderly residents so she could honor them.
There is nothing common among these elderly, except that those born before 1914 have gone through two world wars. But their children and other relatives believe that their big ears meant long lives.
The oldest in the group is Eusebia Valdez Plandez, who turned 104 on March 7. She was born in 1907 in Ballag, the village where she still lives.
Other centenarians are Juan Natividad Queliza, who turned 101 last week, and Barsalisa Galzote Credo, who turned 100 on April 15.
Isabel Ochotorina Ortaliza, who was born on Oct. 12, 1912, is next to turn 100 next year.
The other nonagenarians in the town are Emilio Dizon Nino, 97, born on Jan. 22, 1914; Rufo Oxino Bacod, 96, (July 23, 1915); Consolacion Calima Odero, 95, (April 16, 1916); Brigida Catabay Caranay, 95, (Oct. 8, 1916); Lozano Dollaga Velos, 93, (Aug. 25, 1917); Antonio Rativo, 94, (June 17, 1917); Feliciana de la Cruz, 92; and Josefina Camba Tadeo, 93, (June 11, 1918).
Eusebia Plandez’s son, Gregorio, 80, says his mother has no secrets to long life as her lifestyle is typical of her village mates in the farming community of Banlag.
Eusebia is the oldest of nine siblings. She has outlived all of them except her youngest half-sister, who is now 70, Gregorio says.
“Maybe it is her diet, with her meals usually consisting of vegetables and fish, and rarely has meat. That is her secret,” he says.
He says his mother has been smoking since he can remember. “We have been telling her to stop smoking, but when we refuse to buy her a cigarette, she would get angry,” he says.
His mother used to smoke rolled tobacco leaves, but has since switched to the cigarette brand “Balasang.”
Eusebia still washes her clothes, walks around the house but hardly visits her neighbors.
While her eyesight and hearing are poor, Eusebia’s memory is still sharp. Gregorio says his mother still remembers the names of her children and grandchildren. Plandez has six children (her eldest child had died), 29 grandchildren and 57 great grandchildren.
“She has no more recollection of World War I, but she loves to tell stories about World War II, like the time when we evacuated to the mountains and when my father dug on a mountainside so we can have a cave to hide,” says Gregorio, who was in his teens during World War II.
Revelinda Cortez, 60, youngest daughter of 101-year-old Queliza, says her father doesn’t need help eating and walks around without aid.
She says her father eats plenty of vegetables, even as a boy. His meals still consist mainly of rice and vegetables, with the occasional fish and meat.
“My father says he is already very old. But he never tells us anything about dying,” she says.
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