According to the Republic Act 10868 or Centenarians Act of 2016, all Filipino citizen who reaches the age of 100 and above are eligible to receive a 100,000php cash gift from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Republic of the Philippines. This is the country’s way of celebrating and giving honor to those Filipinos who have reached 100yrs old and above. Nanay Florentina Lapitan, a 102yr old widow living in Brgy. Liwanag from the Municipality of Tumauini, Isabela Province, also received her Centenarian Award last July 29, 2022 from the DSWD and Municipal Mayor of Tumauini, Isabela.

Unfortunately, Nanay Florentina died on July 31, 2022. Just two days after receiving her cash gift check. Nanay Florentina celebrated her 102nd birthday last March 20. It took at least 2yrs for her family to fix all the requirements necessary for the Centenarian Award brought about by the covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic was at its height when she turned 100 and people with old age, like her children, weren’t allowed to go out because of the ECQ so the process for her award had to stop. Despite the challenge, her family sends their deepest gratitude to the DSWD and Municipal Mayor who personally went to their house to give her the Centenarians Award before she died last Sunday.

Nanay Florentina has been living with her youngest and only son, Noblito Lapitan together with his wife Concepcion Lapitan and their family. Needless to say, they took care of her when she got older. It is a common Filipino tradition that parents often lived with their youngest male sons as women in the family are expected to live with their husbands. Her daughter-in-law, Concepcion Lapitan, shared how they had to wait at least 2yrs to finally process Nanay Florentina’s papers. Thankfully, when the covid-19 protocols in Tumauini started to get better, they were able to proceed with fixing the papers.

She also says that Nanay Florentina has been widowed for more than 50yrs. Noblito said he was only 5yrs old when he lost his father, she continues. But their mother never remarried. She said that Nanay had 6 girls (1 already dead) and 1 boy. Nanay Florentina grew old to be a happy and loving mother and grandmother to her kids and grandkids instead. As the only daughter-in-law, Concepcion also continues to say that Nanay Florentina was the kind of person who never nagged anyone. She would never complain and she would eat anything they bring to the table. She was the kind of mother who appreciated what is in front of her. When asked what is Nanay Florentina’s secret to a long life, her children said she lived a healthy lifestyle. She would eat vegetables and would exercise even until before she was bedridden. They said that Nanay Florentina didn’t have an underlying condition but died simply because of old age. Her children continued to say that they will always remember their Mother as someone who lived happy and embraced a simple life.#