My siblings were able to update and send me photos of our grandmother’s birthday through social media.
She turned 97 years old. Ancient wonder.
From World War I and II to this day of Internet and ever-changing gizmos, my grandmother witness it all.
Her resilience inspired me to ponder about health, longevity, relationship, and personal finance.
Getting to Know My Lola
Lola is a Tagalog word for grandmother. My father’s parents were the only grandparents I’ve met.
My lolo (grandfather) passed away in my mid primary school days. He was a war veteran. As a widow, my grandmother gets a monthly pension from his husband’s service. That’s a retirement income that the next generation will not be able to access. (Have a look at ETF index investing instead.)
She will continue to benefit from the pension in the next few years. But it all depends on her health.
My co-worker mentioned to me about Filipino centenarian receiving Php 100,000 (Republic Act No. 10868) from the Philippine government.
In Canada, centenarian will receive a letter from her royal highness, Queen Elizabeth II.
Not Slowing Down
My lola can speak in Bisaya and English. Surprisingly at her age she can still do a lot of things on her own.
- Walk without aid (eg. walker, cane).
- Enjoy any food including desserts like cake and ice cream (we are two peas in a pod).
- Remember dates and family members. Unsurprisingly, she’s familiar with currency even US or Canadian dollars.
- Share her blessings to her apo (grandkids) and relatives.
- Express herself well in Bisaya and English.
We had a brief conversation in English when I visit her during my vacation in the Philippines, before leaving for Siem Reap, Cambodia. “When are you coming back?” After three years or less.
Gratitude and kindness must have been the key to her longevity.
If only I had more time, I want to know more about what she eats. At her age, she loves eating anything and immensely relish food. I gave her Goldilocks cake before I left. It’s our habit to get our only living grandparent with dessert.
The Healthy Lifestyle
I’m going to make an assumption of her diet in the old days.
She doesn’t spend her younger years eating Jollibee or any fastfood. The house she lived in together with her ten offsprings is closed to the sea.
From here, she must have spent her time walking in the beach. In mealtime, Filipino cuisine with fresh seafood from the ocean were served.
She was living a simple life, devoid of technology and pollution.
I wish someday I could live in a sustainable house and coexist with nature and with a Wifi so I can keep on blogging and learning.
My grandmother has lived my dreams. I am more confident knowing that my desire runs in our family. We love nature. My parents were fisherman and farmer who didn’t go to college but my siblings and I were able to have college diplomas.
And there daughter turned into a wanderlust with fascination to personal finance, minimalism, and desserts.
But I am the opposite of my grandmother.
In my younger years, I spent my time eating all the classic Filipino junk foods. Raise your hand if you’re familiar with Snacku, Piattos, Pritos Ring, Granny Goose, Cheesedog. Which one is your favourite? Mine is Chocobot.
And in every meal, I set the table (what a student would learn in Home Economics class minus table napkins). My meal at the center, cutlery, and a glass of juice to upper right corner of a plate.
If I’m not having sugar-rich drink which also include sodas (or pop in Canada), I would have a cup of coffee. Exams were the best alibi for caffeine intake.
The unhealthy habits went on for years until I graduated from college. I will never write theses again.
Make the Right Choice
I was not proud of the food choices I made. Slowly, I cut back on coffee and went cold turkey with sodas.
Today, I am a vegetarian and contemplating to become a vegan. (I need to learn how to bake because bread is my weakness.) Transitioning requires mental and emotional preparation. And discipline.
I would love to reach my lola’s age only if I can do daily activities. Imagine with so much time, I might be able to learn and play Fur Elise on piano.
Why not? I came across these super grannies online.
Annette Larkins is a vegan and author of Journey to Health.
Ernestine is a bodybuilder who started lifting weights at 56 years old.
Sister Madonna Buder is famously known as Iron Nun because she is the oldest woman to finish an Ironman Triathlon. She’s the author of The Grace to Race.
It only goes to show that healthy lifestyle is the best asset for us to have. You can invest more instead of paying hospital bills. Spend time outdoors instead of nursing home.
A few years from now, I’ll look forward of meeting my lola again with a cake as pasalubong (treat).
As always my lola will always be my inspiration to stay fit, healthy, and compassionate caring for all beings.
Growing up, what’s the fondness story you had with your grandparents?
Hi PP Gal,
Congratulations to your centenarian grandmother. It is great milestone achievement as a lot of Filipinos are unable to reach such age. Living longer is a choice in my opinion and can be achieved by lifestyle changes.
Pwede Padala Gal says
Thank you. I hope I inherited the healthy genes of my grandmother. It’s hard to stick to a healthy lifestyle but procrastination is the hardest. So this year, to keep following through, I’ll take care of my future self at the present.