TABUK CITY – Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Tabuk City honored five centenarians who attribute their longevity to healthy food including a vegetable-heavy diet.
Tabuk City and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recently released P100,000 to Andres Tangkiya Wansi, Catalina Dauping Gebgeban, Ganggang Tiwang Macad, Agcopa Combit and Ginsay Siblagan.
Wansi, 101, and Gebgeben, 102, were the latest honorees after DSWD and Tabuk City staff visited them at their respective homes to give their cash rewards that include a P50,000 cash incentive from the city.
Vegetebale heavy diet and sweet potatoes, were the secret to the long lives of these two centenarians, their family shared.
Mayor Darwin Estranero was on hand to give the city’s cash incentives for the two who also urged their family members to put into good use the money given them.
Macad of sitio Binongsay in barangay Malin-awa, meanwhile, said he will use part of the P100,000 cash incentive he received from the DSWD to help in the schooling expenses of his great-grandchildren and to support his grandchildren whose parents are impoverished.
Macad who is unable to work the past six years has been living with his loved ones who provide him with his needs. The money he received amounting to a combined P150,000 will allow him to share in the expenses.
Macad, who was born on Jan. 1, 1920, credits his long life by eating vegetables and emphasized on munggo, non-oil dishes, as well as deer and wild boar meats.
In purok Maledda in barangay Ipil here, two centenarians who are originally from Sadanga in Mountain Province also give credit to healthy diet for their long life.
Combit, who was born in May 1, 1920, said that poverty is not a hindrance to achieving a long and meaningful life.
Combit was 89 when she moved to Tabuk from Sadanga in 2009 in search of a better life.
The eldest of five children, Combit was forced to work at a young age to help provide for her family and had to forgo schooling.
To survive, she had to farm, she said through her interpreter and niece Jane Alib-on.
She was married three times but did not have any child.
A younger brother Mike, 92, visits her occasionally.
During World War II, she was forced as a slave by the Japanese soldiers.
The money, she said, will help pay for her needs and her upkeep.
“Dakkel a tulong daytoy kaniak isu nga agpasalamat tak kadakayo ito daytoy tulong nga inted u kaniak (This is a big help for me and I thank you for giving me this help),” she said.
Siblagan, who was born on January 15, 1920, is also originally from Sadanga and moved to this city in 1982.
Poverty also forced him to work at a young age and was forced to stop schooling.
His fourth child who he live with, Rosalyn Abbacan, said that her father worked as a construction worker in various places to support them.
He has seven children, 51 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild. She said that his father wishes to live for few more years, even if he feels frequent body pains that come with aging.
His secret to long life: a vegetable-heavy diet.
His greatest accomplishment, according to Abbacan, was being a hardworking and passionate father who did not give up despite the difficulties he had in life.
He added that to survive in life one has to be a good person.
Growing up, their fatger used to tell them: “Madi ti agtakaw ta uray nu marigatan ta. Nu ada alaen ta nga bagi sabali nu masasapol, inta ibaga uray awan nakakita. Mayat nan mabiag nga awan inaramid ta nga dakes (Stealing is not good even if you are impoverished. If one wants something, ask and not get it even if no one is watching. It is good to live if one does not make an evil act),” he said.
He also expressed his appreciation for the money he received from the DSWD and the city which he will use it to buy “coke” and eggs for his viand.
Passed in 2016, Republic Act No. 10868 or the Centenarians Act mandates the granting of cash incentives to centenarians.