WHEN he turned 75 years old, Antonio Suson quit eating pork, drinking coffee and other less healthy habits.
It was one of the reasons, he said, that he was still around for his 100th birthday, which he celebrated with his family and friends at his home in Barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City last Saturday.
Children, grandchildren and great grandchildren turned up at the party wearing purple shirts that read, “World’s Most Awesome Lolo Turns 100.”
Suson, fondly called Lolo Tonyo, didn’t wish to have a big party, saying he’d be content with a chicken dish for dinner, said Benigno, 63, the youngest of the centenarian’s three children.
“Dili mahimo mag-ihaw lang ug manok. Panagsa ra baya nang muabot og 100 years ang tawo (We can’t just cook chicken. It’s not often a person reaches 100 years),” Benigno said.
At 100, the former farmer remains in good health, afflicted with no illness except for back and joint pains.
He speaks clearly and walks with a cane. Old age has impaired his hearing, however, so that one has to speak in a loud voice to him.
His last visit to the hospital was last November, when he got persistent cough.
“Kay wala man siya’y high blood ug diabetes, giingnan siya sa doktor na kaon na lang kung unsay gusto nimong kan-on (He doesn’t have hypertension nor diabetes, so the doctor told him to just eat whatever he wants to eat),” said Benigno.
His father craves for humba or stewed pork once in a while, he said.
Suson has 15 grandchildren, the oldest of whom is now 52 years old, and 20 great grandchildren. His wife died more than 20 years ago. All his seven siblings have also passed away.
Born and raised in Paknaan, Suson grew up farming. He only managed to finish first grade. He raised his family by planting crops in a parcel of land now occupied by a factory.
During the Japanese occupation in the 1940s, Suson recalled that he took his family to Bohol where they stayed for five months.
His father quit farming when he was in his 60s or 70s, Benigno said, and has since helped run their sari-sari store.
Benigno said his father has been a good provider to him and his older brothers Rodolfo, 71, and Eriberto, 73.
Suson shouldered his sons’ wedding expenses and built houses for Rodolfo and Eriberto. Benigno and his family reside in his father’s house.
Lawyer Mary Ann, Benigno’s daughter, said her grandfather has shared several life lessons to her and his other grandchildren.
“We learned many good values from him and one of those is hard work,” the 34-year-old said.
Even when he was already in his 90s, Mary Ann said, her grandfather would still help in the store, packing sugar and making ice, among other chores.