‘Life well lived’: Late supercentenarian inspires Filipinos to live healthy

November 23, 2021 - 6:02 PM
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Francisca Susano
Francisca Montes in this photo shared by the government of Kabankalan on its Facebook on Nov. 22, 2021. (Photo from Facebook/City Government of Kabankalan)

It could be in the genes. It could be her lifestyle.

The longevity of the life of late supercentenarian Francisca Montes Susano, also known as “Lola Iska/Isca,” inspired Filipinos to take care of their health and well-being to live long lifes.

The city government of Kabankalan in Negros Occidental announced that the 124-year-old Filipina passed away on Monday night.

Susano was considered the oldest living person in the province and in the Philippines as a whole.

As of September, the Guinness World Records was still reportedly verifying the documents needed for her to be officially named as the world’s oldest living person.

“Lola Iska will always remain as our inspiration and pride,” Kabankalan said on its Facebook page.

Former House of Representatives deputy speaker Mercedes Alvarez, whose jurisdiction in the province’s sixth district includes Kabankalan City, said Susano “brought so much inspiration to many.”

“Her story, her life, will always be remembered. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family,” she was quoted in a Facebook post.

Jonathan Susano, one of the supercentenarian’s great-grandsons, said in an interview that she did not have any illness at the time of her death.

The elder Susano was a native of the southern Negros city’s Barangay Oringao.

She was born to Isabelo and Sabina Montes on Sept. 11, 1897, a year before the Spanish Colonial Period ended in the country.

It was also during that year when the Republic of Biak-na-Bato was established, a second revolutionary republican government led by first Philippine president Emilio Aguinaldo.

1897 was also the year when revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio died at 33 years old.

Susano got married when she was 14. She was blessed with 14 children, including a 101-year-old daughter, and over 400 grandchildren.

She has outlived the Spanish influenza, the Philippine Revolution, the Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, World Wars 1 and 2, Cold War and Martial Law.

On her 124th birthday, the supercentenarian was given a plaque recognition by Franklin Quijano of the National Commission on Senior Citizens, as well as a bouquet, P10,000 cash and a manager’s check amounting to P24,000.

The plaque was given to Susano “for being the oldest living person in the world,” according to SunStar.

Meanwhile, Filipinos expressed their awe for Susano as she managed to live a full life not attained by many.

“Mahahaba buhay ng generation nila. Generation na walang fast food at may malinis na kapaligiran,” a Twitter user noted.

“We really have to take care of our health and the environment. RIP [Rest in peace] Lola Isca. Life well lived,” he added.

“A truly life well lived. RIP lola Isca,” another Twitter user said.

According to reports, Susano had a nutritious diet packed with vegetables that were cooked without additives.

Her family is into farming and she only ate the vegetables that they have grown.

“Iyong sikreto talaga ni Lola, kumakain sila ng gulay na walang mga spray,” her granddaughter Merlene Susano was quoted as saying in a GMA interview in 2019.

“Kagaya ng mga kalabasa, okra, talong. Lahat ng mga gulay doon sa bundok, walang mga spray,” she added.

“Walang mantika, at saka low salt, at saka walang betsin. At saka parati rin silang kumakain ng honey din—iyong fresh na honey,” Merlene further said.

The elder Susano previously attributed her long life to a healthy diet, abstinence from alcohol and having a positive outlook in life.