Gov. Arthur Defensor (left) pose with two of the 109 centenarians who each received a P100,000 cash gift from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as mandated by Republic Act No. 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016, during the "Launching of Awards and Incentives for Centenarians" held at the Capitol lobby on April 19, 2017. Nineteen of the centenarians were from Iloilo City while 90 were from various municipalities in the province of Iloilo.
Is mahjong the key to longevity? At 105 years old, Maria Jusa Guyos still plays mahjong, a game she has been playing to keep her mind active and relaxed, and which may also be her secret to a long life. Born on 11 August 1911, Guyos outlived her husband Vicente, who died in 1973, and two of her seven children.
On 19 April 2017, Guyos and 108 other centenarians — those who are100 years old or more —each received a cash award of P100,000 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The grant of cash award to centenarians is mandated by Republic Act No. 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016. They also received an additional of P30,000 each from the Iloilo Provincial Government.
Asked what she will do with her money, Guyos said she will save it for a time in the future when it might be needed. Mahjong, a game that originated from China, it was found to cause longevity, along with taking tea and keeping oneself busy, according to a 2012 South China Morning Post report. It is a mentally stimulating game that can help delay dementia, the newspaper quoted ageing expert Alfred Chan of Lingnan University as saying. The complex rules and calculation of scores make mahjong mentally demanding but the social aspects of the four-player game are just as important.
Aside from playing mahjong, Guyos attributes longevity to eating what she likes. "I eat anything. I eat a lot of vegetables but I also eat meat and fish," she notes. "I just eat what I like. I'm not choosy and I don't prevent myself from eating what others think are not healthy," Guyos adds.
During her younger days, she loved attending to her vegetable garden and earned a living by growing tobacco. "She is not yet forgetful and she still can remember the names of all her children and grandchildren," says her son Pepito.
Although the oldest of those present during the "Launching of Awards and Incentives for Centenarians" at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, she was not however the oldest in the DSWD list. The distinction of being the oldest in Iloilo, as of 13 December 2016, goes to 115 years old Soledad Allador who was from Barangay Bakabak, Sara. Born on 19 April 1901, she however passed away before reaching 116.
Despite her death last month, Allador was still entitled to the cash gifts, which was received by her family, because she became a centenarian prior to the effectivity of Republic Act No. 10868 which was approved on June 23, 2016.
Of the 109 centenarians in the DSWD list, 91 are females while 18 are males.