With deep faith in the Lord and self-discipline in her diet, 100-year old grandmother Rosita “Rosing” Gamboa enjoys a happy and healthy life.
With no diagnosis of any chronic illness at her age, Lola Rosing does not need to take any maintenance medicine.
“Prayers and lots of vegetables and fruits,” Lola Rosing said in a quiet gentle voice and in a mix of Filipino and English when asked by INQUIRER.net what her secrets were to a long life.
Lola Rosing—a mother of two boys and seven girls, a grandmother of 25 children, and a great grandmother of 26—wakes up at 3 a.m. everyday to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet before an altar at her home in Las Piñas City.
After her daily prayer, she drinks a glass of milk to start off her morning. Throughout the day, she mingles with her children and watches television. Sometimes, she sings “Amazing Grace,” one of her favorite songs, to her children.
Lola Rosing always enjoys her meals with her children. Usually, her meals consist of leafy vegetables, fruits, bits of meat and other food with less cholesterol. She occasionally eats rice, and stays away from soft drinks and junk food.
Before sleeping, Lola Rosing would pray in bed or before the altar, and drinks her glass of milk after.
“I make sure I have a very healthy relationship with the Lord. I pray four to five times a day, sometimes after watching television, sometimes during the wee hours,” Lola Rosing said.
“Back then, our family lived a poverty-stricken life. Food that was affordable to us were fruits and green leafy vegetables,” she recalled, adding that she still maintained her veggie-filled diet up to now.
On this day a hundred years ago, June 2, 1918, Lola Rosing was born at Banaoang, Sta. Barbara in Pangasinan.
During her teenage years, Lola Rosing was active in school and in church. With a religious heart, Lola Rosing had always prayed the rosary with her friends. She had also been a member of the church choir.
But Lola Rosing had to help her family make ends meet. Instead of finishing high school and college, she tried out dress-making and selling produce at a local market in nearby Baguio City where her uncle was a market superintendent.
“She (Lola Rosing) was orphaned at one-year old. His dad eventually married (after her mother’s death). They lived in poverty, but she hanged on God. Her total dependence was on the Lord. Her faith made her very strong,” said Mila Gamboa-Macalintal, one of Lola Rosing’s two daughters.
If given the chance to take up college, Lola Rosing said she would take up law.
“I wanted to be a lawyer, so I could help people (in their legal issues) and so that I could give wisdom and advice,” she said.
In December 1941, the Philippines which supported the United States, entered World War II as Japan started its invasion of the archipelago.
After the fall of Corregidor in May 1942, the country fell into the hands of the Japanese. During the occupation, Lola Rosing recalled hiding in caves with her relatives when enemy troops were storming their neighborhood.
Following the liberation of the country by American forces, Lola Rosing said life “became happier.”
“Our life during the Japanese occupation was miserable, but there were good ones, military officers who didn’t hurt us, thanks to God’s mercy,” Lola Rosing said.
“When the Americans came, life became happier. No more hiding in caves, just chocolate, cheese and milk,” she recalled.
When life started to become better, Lola Rosing resumed her businesses in Baguio City, where she met her husband, the late Guillermo Gamboa Sr., a fellow market vendor. They married on November 26, 1946.
Guillermo and Lola Rosing had nine children—two girls and seven boys: Rufo, Teresita, Mila, Ferdinand, Guillermo Jr., twins Policarpio and Efren, Rudolfo and George.
Their children went on to become engineers, architects and physical therapists, Lola Rosing said.
“My children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren always make me happy. During family gatherings, they sing for me, I dance with them, they always embrace me,” Lola Rosing said.
Her husband Guillermo, however, passed away due to ulcer and other complications in the kidney and gall bladder. Her eldest son, Rufo, succumbed to aneurysm.
Turning emotional, Lola Rosing remembered them to be loving and caring men. “I loved them so much. Sometimes, I cry when I think of them.”
Life at 100
Lola Rosing is now one of more than 2,000 centenarians in the Philippines.
In 2017, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) documented about 2,992 centenarians who were granted cash gifts worth P100,000 as provided by Republic Act 10868 or the “Centenarians Act of 2016.”
In enjoying her life, Lola Rosing watches her favorite noon-time shows and soap operas. Her favorite films were those of the late Fernando Poe, Jr., such as “Kapag Puno na ang Salop,” “Ang Panday,” and “Hindi ka na Sisikatan ng Araw.”
Lola Rosing also noted her fondness for the television series “Ang Probinsyano.” She said she was an avid fan of actor Coco Martin.
Likewise, Lola Rosing said she still continues to live a healthy lifestyle despite not being forbidden by her doctor from eating “unhealthy food.”
She also encourages her family, relatives and friends to always pray to God.
“When you talk to the Lord, He listens. I always tell people that. And always eat vegetables, fruits, always drink milk. No vices,” she said.
A birthday bash was organized for Lola Rosing at The Palms Country Club in Alabang, Muntinlupa City to celebrate 100 years of her life. She was joined by her relatives, friends as well as 100 well-wishers.
At the party, Lola Rosing got to sing her favorite lullaby, “Malinak Lay labi” in Pangasinan or Quiet is the night.
Her relatives in the United States also sent video messages of their birthday greetings since they were not able to make it to her party.
But one video appeared to stand out from the rest: A video greeting from Coco Martin, who told Lola Rosing “I love you.” The video message from the actor was obtained by lawyer Romulo Macalintal, her son-in-law, through Senator Grace Poe.
For her birthday wish, Lola Rosing only hopes for the best in her children’s lives.
“I’m thankful to the Lord for giving me wonderful and loving children, and for giving me loving in-laws and friends. They all love me so much. When I see them, I’m already happy,” Lola Rosing said.
“My wish for my grandchildren and great grandchildren is for them to grow well. Before I die, I know that they’re all well-off. I also wish for the Lord to let us (my family) live together in the afterlife.” /muf