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Living to be 100


Jejomar C. Binay Former Vice President

Jejomar C. Binay
Former Vice President

By Jejomar C. Binay

Former Vice President


Longevity and health experts now agree that 70 is the new 50. My generation, referred to as baby boomers, are living longer and still mentally and physically active at our age. Paul McCartney of the Beatles will embark this year on a concert tour of the United States. Not bad for a 75-year-old.

Then you have the late Washington Sycip, who until his death last week at 96, kept a work schedule that put younger people to shame. He had seen the country rise from the ashes of war, and personally witnessed the rise and fall of companies, governments and presidents. Wash Sycip not only had a front seat to Philippine history but lived it and made it.

So if 70 is the new 50, then 100 may be called the new 80. In Makati, we have 20 centenarians as of this year, and some of them continue to live happy, productive lives.

In 2012, the Makati city government initiated another first in a long list of benefits and recognitions to the elderly: It began giving P100,000 cash gift for centenarians.

Since the program began, 42 centenarians have been honored by the city. For this year, P326.2 million has been allocated by the city government for its yearly cash gifts to seniors and centenarians.

Four years after the Makati program began, in July, 2016, a national law granting a P100,000 cash incentive and additional benefits and privileges to Filipino centenarians was signed.

Republic Act 10868 grants Filipinos who reach the age of 100 a P100,000 cash gift and a congratulatory letter from the President of the Philippines.

They will also be awarded a plaque of recognition and additional cash gift from their respective city or municipal governments. The law sets September 25 of every year as National Respect for Centenarians Day.

An estimated 3,500 Filipinos aged 100 and older are expected to benefit from the Centenarian Act. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) were signed earlier this month.

Again, Makati is thankful that one of its exclusive benefits for the elderly are now being extended to senior citizens nationwide.

For centuries, man has searched for the secret to longevity. It has become a cottage-industry of sorts, with all these books, fad diets, vitamins and supplements being peddled to people above 60 years old. For some, longevity has turned into an obsession, fuelled by a longing to continue living their years of easy-going youth while trying to defy the physical toll that ageing takes on their bodies. This reminds me of the words of actor and comedian Woody Allen: “You can live to be 100 if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be 100.”

An online article written by Tony Dearing for NJ.Com cited recent research that shows “a significant number of older adults continue to enjoy good health and quality of life well into their 80s and beyond.”

“Some decline occurs as we age; that’s inevitable. But research is showing that the decline can be less acute than previously thought, less tied to chronological age, and well within the ability of all of us to slow down the decline, based on the lifestyle choices we make,” the article said.

It quoted Dr. Thomas Cavalieri, a founder of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging at Rowan University, as saying: “People can age well… People can live into their 80s and 90s and beyond and be active and functional.”

But is there a secret to long life? Has the mythical fountain of youth been found? If you listen to Makati centenarians, there is nothing magical or mystical behind their longevity. Just plain and simple habits. They are examples of “succesful aging,” elderly people who remain mentally sharp and physically active even at their advanced age. And here are some of their secrets:

Margarita Ugarte, who will turn 102 in November, said she has maintained a healthy lifestyle all throughout her life by eating a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and fish. On special occasions, she enjoys a glass of wine.

Romarico Vitug attributes his long life to having an active mind and healthy body. A lawyer and accountant, Vitug keeps his mind alert by computing the taxes of all his family members up to this day. He is also an avid reader and solves crossword puzzles.

Avelina Gil, who turned 100 last May, said she continues to write daily. During the prime of her life, she was an educator, a writer, and an author.

Other Makati centenarians attribute their longevity to daily exercise like walking, having a positive outlook and cheerful disposition, and living a vice-free life.

With these simple habits, added with advances in science and medicine, expect the number of centenarians to increase in the coming years.

And Makati will continue providing them the pampering they deserve. As I have said in my previous column, we make no excuses for pampering our elderly. They deserve it, especially our centenarians who were there when Makati was still a sleepy, small riverside town. They have seen Makati grow from a “worthless swampland” to the country’s financial center extending to its citizens the benefits and services they deserve as taxpayers. And during their youth, they have been part of this growth as taxpayers and citizens.

Why live to be 100, you may ask? If you are a citizen of Makati, why not?

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  • Parasa Bayan

    a senator should be thinking of making laws for the good of the country. this senator is only focused on destroying the credibility of our president. this only shows that he is only full of politics and not for the good of the country. he does not have any other agenda to help the country and the people,,

    • maka pili

      this so called senator does not know how to be a senator. all he does is make noise and press release. he does not know the true work of senator and instead only want political considerations given to him. he speaks out against the government but he himself does not know how to run anything. /

    • Liwanag Para sa Bayan

      this senator will always cry and make noise whenever he does not get what he wants. he is proven to be a rebel with no clear cause and no clear direction. he has not really seen he cared for the country but only for himself. he will do everything to make himself in the public for his political purpose,,..


      this senator is proven to be a coward and who has no clear principles. he changes his agenda an is only after his self interest. he is a former soldier who does not have the right discipline to follow his superiors. we cannot expect good things from this senator only noise.,

    • Berdugo Katapang

      this senator does not respect our country as he is always showing his opposition to anything. he has turned against his former commander in chief and he is now doing the same to our president. he is only after his personal ambition and he just wants to make noise if he cant get what he wants.

  • Parasa Bayan

    senator trillanes only won because of pure luck. he does not have the right attitude and credibility to win an election. he is only making noise every time without any real sense in how to help the country grow and the people to be comfortable. he is only after his political ambition at all times

    • maka pili

      senator trillanes is always grandstanding and will do everything to make him in the news. he is only making noise so the people will always remember him. he has not proven anything and yet he has the guts to speak out against the administration. he has not proven his capability to serve and his capability to be a leader,,,

    • Liwanag Para sa Bayan

      this former rebel soldier cannot be trusted. he turned his back on his superiors when he conducted his siege last time. he cannot lead a group of soldiers what more of the entire country. he does not know anything on how to handle and solve the problems of our country. he is just making noise.


      the country will not benefit from this senator. he is only making noise as he knows from the last election that he will not win anymore and get elected. he has been making baseless allegations on the president and is making noise so that the people will notice him. he doesnt deserve our attention.

    • Berdugo Katapang

      noise making is the only talent of this senator. he is known to make noise and to create trouble then he will abandon everything at the end. we cannot trust a man with this reputation. he is never a good leader and will never be in the future of philippine politics..

  • Jeffrey B