"Tatanda at lilipas din ako, nguni't mayroong awiting iiwanan sa inyo, dahil minsan tayo'y nagkasama..." (mula sa awiting HANDOG). Itong artikulong ito'y handog ko sa mga kabataan ngayon. Lagi niyong tandaan na darating ang panahon, at sana darating ka nga doon na ikaw ay isang senior citizen.
We commemorate this week as Elderly Week. Is there really a need for it? Caring for the elderly must be 24 hours in 365 days. Somebody thought of this, maybe just for emphasis and to focus on the role of senior citizens in our lives.
I was once invited by my friend Gloria Salas Tanhueco, head of the Office of the Senior Citizens (Osca) of the Angeles City government as one of the speakers together with Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan in a ball and fellowship meeting of the elderly of Barangay Sto. Domingo.
I wanted to share here the inspirational messages I extemporaneously delivered because I was too inspired upon seeing many of my long time friends and ka-barangay still sporting big smiles though many of them were gray haired and some lost all of it.
I remember one Thursday breakfast meeting with newsmen at Annabels restaurant at Tomas Morato in Quezon City and the late Felipe Cruz, more popularly known as FF said, "Siyanga pala sa Sabado birthday ko, imbitado kayo lahat, (On Saturday it is my birthday, you are all invited)."
So curious, I asked: Tay ilang taon ka na sa Sabado? (How old would you be in Saturday). Sporting a wide smile, 92 pa lang, he answered. (I am 92 years old ONLY). That tells a lot on attitude. As we often hear, age is only a number.
I often tell audiences whenever I address assemblies of senior citizens that there are 35,000 centenarians in the United States who were interviewed what could be the secret of their long lives, and the answers were not the stereotype ones, like I sleep early, I don't eat meat, I don't smoke etc. etc.
The common denominator of all the answers on the survey was attitude. One old lady even wrote on the answer column of the questionnaire: "I don't lie, and I am like the Miller of the Dee, I envy nobody, and I don't care about people who envies me."
Isang tao na todo hanga ko sa kaniya ay si Senador Manny Pacquiao. I remember reading sometime ago the Lifestyle section of a newpaper. It featured the love story of Aling Dionesia, mother of the boxing champ. Mommy D, as she is referred, was in her sixties and her boy friend Michael Yamson, a seaman from Iloilo was in his late thirties. Love bloomed between the two, and Manny was all support because he love his mother that much and wanted her to be happy. How many kids are like treating their mothers in that fashion.
Remember singer Freddie Aguilar, also in his late sixties whose love life is also one for the books. Some years back he met a 16 year old girl from Mindoro and he married her and maybe just like in the fairy book tale "they lived happily ever after."
This is a line from the movie Splendor in the Grass: 'And tho nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, the glory in thy flower, we should grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind'.
- I am proud of this. When I was a councilor I principally authored the Senior Citizens Code for Angeles City. I added more benefits and privileges for the seniors over and above what is mandated by the national law.
- I always get angry when going to any food chain when they don't provide a special lane for seniors and PWDs.
- To seniors, if any establishment would refuse to extend the mandated discounts you can report them at your respective Osca offices. Every LGU has one.