SAN JUAN, La Union – Now wheel-chair bound, her eyes are still clear as in her younger years and her voice is resonant and full of life as she responded to the birthday greetings of her well-wishers.
That’s Lola Esperanza Jucutan Palacay or “Apong Ansang,” as she is called in her native village of Cabugnayan here, who celebrated her centennial birthday last Sunday.
What is the secret of her longevity? All her life, Apong Ansang has been eating vegetables and fish and even meat, which she does often..
Relatives said she is a vegetarian but her favorite food is the saluyot (jute) vegetable stew (dinengdeng). Saluyot is a leafy and green vegetable that grows in fields and backyards in the Ilocos
provinces. A rare plant, saluyot is anti-cancer, very nutritious and is rich in calcium, iron,protein, vitamins, among others.
“ She just eats food that gives her satisfaction. Mostly, she eat fish particularly sapsap and shrimp. She often eats meat,” a relative said.
“Apong Ansang” was married at the age of 25 to Mariano Palacay, with whom she had six children. She was was widowed at the age of 38.
“She is a simple woman who made a lot of sacrifices to raise her children no matter how hard it was for her to be a single parent,” another relative said.
“Apong Ansang’s” memory is still sharp and shows no sign of recollection loss.Her grandchildren are lending a hand to help her.
Her records were submitted to the San Juan municipal government and the provincial government for verification for entitlement to financial benefits.
Under R.A. 10868 signed into law last year, Filipinos in the Philippines or those residing in foreign countries who reach 100 years old or above are entitled to a cash incentive of P100,000 each and other benefits and privileges. Jun Elias/Northbound Philippines News