Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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Not Quite There

The secret of longevity

By: - Columnist
/ 03:23 AM April 09, 2017

Sooner than later I have to stop postponing trips and dyeing my hair. Why shouldn’t it be okay to finally look and act my age?

Indeed, it might be time to start looking at travel brochures to check out those cruises as though we could afford them, and should take them now—or never. Smart thing to do, but still against my grain.


I know I have nothing to save for anymore. It’s just that, brick by brick, I’ve built a wall precisely to protect myself from such reckless self-indulgence. I’ve managed all my life on passive income; real estate, bought or inherited, has always been my rock.

That is not to say I’ve not taken some risky steps, like selling property to gain liquidity; as soon as I did, I remembered dad’s argument: “You know how liquid flows, seeps and even evaporates, that’s what cash will do, kiddo, even while it’s sitting in the bank!”


Well, I could put some in one little piece of property to rent, in case we live to a hundred.

Government recognition

More and more people do live beyond a hundred, it seems to me—and the ones I know have kept all their marbles, too. If I make it, I expect some government recognition—a Chit Roces-Santos Day!

Most municipalities award P100,000 for a citizen’s hundredth year of life and every year lived after that. It will hardly turn the world around for the beneficiary, but it’s big enough for those who take care of us.

For collecting, a birth certificate should be enough requirement. But not so; the small print requires a five-year continuous residency. And that’s precisely the snag Tita Naty Lopez-Rizal Francisco has hit. She has not received her P100,000 because she moved municipalities to live with her niece Bea in Parañaque City after the family compound in Mandaluyong was sold.

A longtime widow, she celebrated her 100th last year, but she will have to live on another three years to become eligible. But she should be honored not only for surviving a hundred years, but how she lived those years.

Tita Naty was a teacher and had been active in civic and charity work for parish and community in Mandaluyong, where the Lopez-Rizals lived, on Narcisa Rizal Street. Oh, she will make it to 103—she’s quite alert and ambulatory, works crossword and Sudoku puzzles like a pro, and continues to be gracious at home parties.


Some consideration from the new or former barangay should be forthcoming in a case like hers; she is a relative of Jose Rizal, for Pete’s sake!

Stem-cell magic

I better make sure this doesn’t happen to me or anyone else. For me, that’s 23 years away, a considerable future. Just the thought of it already tires me; it’s not going to be fun unless, along the way, stem-cell magic gets perfected—the magic performed by cells taken from you and reintroduced in you to find their own way into the deteriorating tissues and organs that need them to work on.

I don’t see how the procedure should be expensive; they’re using one’s very own cells on one, after all. It should not be unlike me bringing my own hair dye to the parlor, and there’s only labor to pay.

I just hope it could be done without pain. For I suppose there’s pain that has to be endured in the process of extraction and reintroduction by injection.

I guess I should be content with the hope, raised in me by much older and experienced seniors, that the naps one falls into as a matter of age allow for self-repair in a limited way. I’ve been getting my own involuntary naps after lunch, if I don’t fight it for something I need to do awake.

Those naps supposedly increase in number as you need it. Age 80 entitles you to two a day, says Aunt Marietta. “Malapit ka na!” she tells me, as though it were the best thing yet to come.

Happy hour

Her second nap comes at mid-morning and she calls it “the happy hour.” She and my non-drinking uncle, Marquitos, 87, have pretty much established a routine incorporating the naps: They wake up early, hear daily Mass, have breakfast at a mall, and walk around in the coolness and safety of the mall before going home around 11 for the nap.

When their eldest daughter, busy-busy Ginny of the Restaurant Tilde, who lives next door, first walked in on them in their happy hour, she felt scandalized. “It’s already 11, and you guys are still asleep?”

Marietta tried to explain, but Ginny, not yet a senior, couldn’t be convinced.

“Con todo kumot?” she asked.

Apparently, blankets have no place in naps.

Naps were, in fact, a family thing, but, until they began to happen to me, I thought they were something one seizes, not the other way around. At any rate, we in the family are convinced that naps are the secret behind my paternal grandparents’ longevity.

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TAGS: Long Life, Longevity, Stem-cell magic
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