Dreaming to live as a centenarian seems an unlikely idea here in the Philippines, especially since only around 3,500 of the country’s population of 100 million are aged over 100.
With this data, it reveals how only seven out of every 200,000 Filipinos have reached or are over the hundred year milestone, thanks to our love for adobo and all the oily food that we eat.
On the contrary, Spain, which has the second longest life expectancy next to Japan, easily has thirty times this number with over 100,000 centenarians.
An article from Reuters lists some tips from these centenarians on how they managed to breach the hundred year mark.
1) Love the arts and music
A lot of the Spanish centenarians that were interviewed had a passion or liking for drama and music.
Among them was 106-year-old Pedro Rodriguez who makes it a habit to play the piano each day. “The nuns taught me how to play the piano as a child,” he said.
2) Keep an active lifestyle
This doesn’t mean that you still have to hit the gym or run a marathon with a frail body. According to the interviewees, they kept doing mundane routines like farming and taking care of children.
3) Say no to nursing homes
Being with old people makes you feel old. At least this seems true with 112-year-old Francisco Nunez, who avoided nursing homes like the plague.
His daughter Maria Antonia who is three decades younger has instead been taking care of her father ever since. “He hasn't had to leave his home. I'm single and I live here with him,” she said.
4) A bowl of soup a day, keeps death away
Now this doesn’t mean you should stuff yourself with bulalo or other delicious but unhealthy Pinoy soups each day.
The soup that most Spanish centenarians gulp down is gazpacho, a healthy and traditional option filled with vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers. Perhaps sinigang can be a great local alternative?
5) Get in touch with nature
For 101-year-old Gumersindo Cubo, being born and raised in the woods was the key to him reaching a hundred years of age.
He lived most of his life in a house located in the forest where his father was a ranger. “It’s from inhaling the pine resin from the woods where I lived as a child,” he said.
6) Be with family
Last but definitely not the least, being with family or at least keeping in touch with them regularly seems like one of the best formulas to keep on going.
Most of the Spanish centenarians were still with their loved ones or were in touch with relatives on a daily basis.
At least this is something that we can do since Filipino tradition promotes a culture where adult life is mostly shared with and at times lived with our parents through thick and thin.