Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan

Educator, Business Writer, Industry Expert and Entrepreneur

Live a Hundred

Published at: The Manila Standard Today 

August 30, 2010 Issue

Proposed House Bill 834 motivates senior citizens to live a hundred. This bill also will honor, grant benefits and privileges to Filipino centenarians by declaring September 25 as National Respect of Centenarian Day. Indeed we must honor our centenarians because even when they were retired early and permanently retired, in many institutions, at the age 70,  they continue to peak and remain productive. There are many evidence that septuagenarians, octogenarians and nonagenarians show the way to non-retirement.  I know of three senior citizens who are productive members of society, heading towards their centenary.

Septuagenarian Civil Engineer
Br. Crisanto Moreno FSC is 75 years old and is the oldest living Filipino De La Salle Brother in the Philippines. 

Though he is retired he continues to be active in the service of the De La Salle University by signing checks and looking after the many buildings of the De La Salle Philippine schools, the construction of which  he supervised years ago.  He also continues to practice his profession as consultant to non-De La Salle Schools.  From his consultancies, he has set up an educational fund for the education of the young Brothers in the Philippines. I take this to mean that he is ‘fathering’ the young Brothers as a matter of legacy.In 2009, he was recognized by La Salle Greenhills for his architectural concept and design and engineer-n-charge of the St. Benilde gymnasium, a landmark likened to Araneta Coleseum in Cubao and a historic site of Namfrel that led to EDSA I, and more recently the wake of President Cory Aquino.  Born in Oton, Iloilo, Br. Cris has a sister who is with the Daughter of St.

Paul de Chatres. She and her other siblings are managing the Maria Mediodia Moreno Foundation, a channel of the Moreno Christian charity and social responsibility.

Octagenarian Pre-school Supervisor
Eugenia ‘Gene’ Agravante is an 81 year-old supervisor of San Antonio Community School at Singalong. She travels everyday from Antipolo to Manila to be with the nursery teachers Alma A. del Mar, Gina D. Ferreras, and Cynthia D. Batungbakal who teach some 300 pupils.

According to Gene, she got involved with the nursery school in 1998 as a social worker of St. Scholastica’s College, as catechist and a natural family planning advocate of St. Anthony parish church.  The San Antonio Community school was founded in 1973 by Sr. Francoise of St. Paul  was later turned over to St. Scholastica’s College. The school then had a feeding program, catechetical program and Rosary circle with Bible study.  Later, she broke the ‘culture of silence’ by actively teaching human rights based on biblical principles.  Today, Gene ‘dreams’ of being lawyer, defending the poor and the oppressed.

Nonagenerian Directess
Mamang Luz, my mother, is 94 years old and she is the directress Haven’s Learning School, Bacolod City. On schooldays she stands at the gate of Haven to say “Good morning” to the pre-schoolers.

Once they are settled down with their teachers, she goes back to her room to rest; by noontime she stands again by the gate to say goodbye. Two pre-school teachers and a registrar-administrator (my sister Jo) help her manage the school she founded in 1993.  Jo tells me that she observes her teachers and she sometimes takes over the class to demonstrate her time-tested teaching methods.

An ETC graduate (elementary teacher’s certificate), and later a master’s of arts in teaching agriculture (MATEA), she retired from the public school with a rank of Principal 3.  Her love for learning and  passion for teaching  inspired me to follow her profession.  At her school I witnessed her closeness to her faculty – at  meal time and in time of personal and professional crises.  Above all, I saw how their dedication as educators.  The love and care they have for their pupils and the empathy for the parents.

My mom comes from a strong bloodline of feminine DNA: her mom, Lola  Profetessa “Tesang” Clavel vda. De Torrecarion, who named me after her husband, Emiliano, died at the age of 88 and my moms’s grandmother, Lola Putot,  “Shortie” Rodregaso died at the age of 101.  Her teaching profession has connected me to the babaylan DNA of old.

In the Philippines, most corporations and educational institutions would no longer entertain professional who reach their ‘peak retirement’ at 70.  However, it is a fact that there are septuagenarians, octogenarians, and nonagenarians who are productive senior citizens.  It might be worth looking at the Singaporean model which encourages and provides employment opportunities for their senior citizens, so that they do not burden the State by being productive citizens.

As our nation matures, it is gratifying to note that senior citizens whose lifetime contribution is being recognized by the Philippine government through the proposed  HB 834 and business establishment through acts of kindness.

To the senior citizens and service providers of senior citizens, may they all Live a Hundred!

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