An I-Apayao centenarian shares her secret to a long, healthy life
By Marjorie Gorospe, loQal.ph
ADAMS, ILOCOS NORTE–Most of us in this generation learn history from textbooks and classrooms, but 115-year-old I-Apayao native Rufina Daluyon has seen it all.
Apo Rufina was one of the first to move to Adams in Ilocos Norte and being the oldest resident of this town, she is very popular among the locals as well as tourists who are lucky enough to hear her stories.
She often reflects the healthy lifestyle of the I-Apayao tribe and despite her age, the centenarian shows no signs of serious illness.
Apo Rufina can still talk and can still walk but she only speaks Ilocano. She shares her stories to willing listeners through her great granddaughter Susan.
Susan says being a member of the I-Apayao tribe, Apo Rufina is very fond of vegetables. The I-Apayao tribe is related to Isneg tribe and both tribes are known as good farmers.
In fact, Susan says, Apo Rufina’s husband lived for 126 years; another testimony for the I-Apayao’s penchant for living long, healthy lives.
“Apo Rufina also uses ‘nga-nga‘( a combination of apog, a piece tobacco and leaf of gawed) for her teeth,” says Susan noting that it is the secret of her complete set of strong teeth.
Apo Rufina has three children, but only one among the three is still alive at a still remarkable age of 90.
Although there is a wide generation gap between Susan and Apo Rufina, Susan says she knows the remarkable stories about her great grandmother as these stories are passed from her grandparents to her parents.
“Napakahigpit nya (Rufina) lalo pagdating sa pag-uwi ng maaga sa bahay at tamang pagkain. (She is very strict, particularly on curfews and eating the right food),” says Susan in jest.
However, living more than a century may no longer be a “blessing” for Apo Rufina who lives in her own little house, Susan says.
Although relatives give Apo Rufina her meals from morning to evening, no one has the time to completely look after her.
“Minsan tinatanong na rin nya kung bakit di pa sya namamatay at mukha daw nalimutan na siya ni Lord sunduin. (She often wonders why she’s still alive and that the Lord probably has forgotten about her),” says Susan who often visits her great grandmother and gives her a shower.
For her part, Susan says she is thankful for the life that God has granted Apo Rufina.
But Susan admits that things are getting harder for Apo Rufina. Susan says all they can do is to give her the love that she deserves while she is still alive.