Oldest Zamboangueño can be found in Limpapa PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 August 2011 16:11

“Si puede pa yo alcansa 200 años mas bueno.(If I can reach 200, that would be good)”.
Thus said 115-year-old Ongonan Gumandao believed to be the oldest resident in Zamboanga City when recently interviewed by Discovery Zamboanga.

Gumandao, a farmer from Barangay Limpapa, the last barangay of Zamboanga City which is about 47 kilometers west bordering Zamboanga del Norte, could be feted as the oldest man in the world through the World’s Guiness Book of Records if properly documented.

Discovery Zamboanga, a local group of development communicators headed by chairman Prof. Jose Maria Bue, recently visited Limpapa and one of its discoveries is Lolo Ongonan, who belongs to the Subanen tribe.

The Subanens, who are the first tribe in Zamboanga Peninsula before the coming of the Spaniards, are also known for their longevity.
Bue said Lolo Ongonan may be one of the oldest men in the world as the oldest woman, a 114-year old American woman, reportedly died in US last year.
Lolo Ongonan’s father reportedly died at the age of 120.

Asked what could be the secret of his long life, Lolo Ongonan said: “Ta come lang comida de kaingin. (I just eat food—mostly vegetables— from the farm.)”
At present, Lolo Ongonan is being taken care by his youngest son in Limpapa, a Subanen-dominated village.

The son told Discovery Zamboanga that their father was born on March 19, 1896. However, this date is based on testimonial accounts. Older family members as Subanens in the past were not keen on registering births.

The only complaints of this 115-year-old Subanen kainginero are his poor eyesight, could hardly hear one talking and that he cannot walk anymore.
But the family members said Lolo Ongonan still eats regularly and spends most of his day sitting in the veranda watching people passing by in their neighborhood.