TARLAC CITY — A super centenarian (at least 110 years old) who lives in the far- flung village of Moriones, San Jose town, 48 kilometers west of here, could be the world’s oldest living man.
That is, if it can be proven through his birth certificate or any relevant document that shows he is older than the oldest living persons on earth, according Mr. Ver Buan, a local historian based in this city.
Mr. Buan has been tracking Tarlac centenarians since he came to know of the existence of R.A. 10868, otherwise known as the Centenarian Law, granting benefits to Filipino centenarians. It was signed into law by former President Benigno Aquino III days before he stepped down from the presidency.
This writer and Mr. Buan, who also lived in the village when he was a young man, visited the place and interviewed the old man identified as Ambrocio Tomas known as “Apong” Pascual.
Earlier, Mr. Buan disclosed that he had difficulty obtaining records to prove that “Apong” Pascual was born in 1901 as claimed by the old man himself.
There are no available records of live birth certificates from 1901 onward, but Buan is exhausting all means to prove that Tomas was truly born date. “One of my options is to secure a birth certificate of any of his (Tomas) 13 children. One of the entries in the certificate indicates the age of the parents,” he said.
But his first attempt to secure the birth certificate of Avelina, one of the daughters who was born on 1947, from the Regional Office of the Philippine Statistics Authority failed because the PSA has no record of said birth certificate. Buan said he will try to secure records of one of the siblings who was born in 1949.
Mariano, the eldest son who was born in 1929, now 87 years old, said official records of birth certificates for those dates were burned during the Japanese occupation.
The super centenarian Tomas lives with Anastacia, her 79 year- old daughter, in Moriones. She said it was not really hard to look after her old man. “He can go to the bathroom by himself. He doesn’t need much supervision because he is still capable of doing things on his own,” she said.
“Apong” Pascual, 5 feet tall, was a farm hand during his young years but is still sturdy as a tree and his arms have few wrinkles..He doesn’t eat much meat but he loves vegetable as his viand eaten with rice. He doesn’t drink alcoholic drinks including soda.
He doesn’t stay late up night but rises very early in the morning as any farmer in the locality will do and this, including his choice of food and drinks, could be attributed to his long life.
“It is only these days that he drinks coffee every morning,” Ruby Torres, his granddaughter said.
The Tomas family members said they only knew one of one incident that their patriarch got sick. That was sometime in 2014 when he caught a cold and stayed at the local hospital for barely 24 hours. Since then, they said, he was never ill.
“His only problem is that he barely hears. We have to shout close to his right ear whenever we want to tell him something. His eyes are still very good.” Mariano said. “Apong” Pascual can still read magazines (like The Watchtower and Awake!) that the Jehovah’s Witnesses, of which the Tomas family belongs, publishes and distributes worldwide.
Every Sunday, ” Apong” Pascual wears his barong and attends services at their church.
His capacity to recall is still sharp. When asked who he remembers most as President of the Philippines, he promptly mentioned Elpidio Quirino who became President in 1948.
On October 3, on the occasion of Tarlac’s celebration of National Respect for Centenarians’ Day at the Tarlac Capitol Building, “Apong” Pascual will be one of the 47 listed centenarians of Tarlac who will receive cash gifts of Php100,000 each and certificates.
Yisrael Kristal or Israel Kristal, a Polish-Israeli man, who was born in 1903, is 113 years old and is considered the World’s Oldest Living Man, according to Wikipedia. This has been verified.
But Mbah Gotho, with documentation showing that he was born in 1870, is 145 years old and still living could be considered the oldest person on earth, according to a Rappler report published in August 31, 2016. The oldest man whose age has been verified was Jaroemon Kimura of Japan who died at age 116 years, 54 days.
If records show that Tomas was born in 1901 and he will be officially certified as the Oldest Man Alive, he will be the first Filipino to be included in the List of the Verified Oldest Men by Wikipedia. Homer Teodoro-northboundasia.com