Guam’s centenarians recognized by legislature in virtual ceremony

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Guam's centenarians were recognized in a virtual ceremony. (PNC photo)

From a survivor who personally experienced the atrocities of war, matriarchs who placed family above all else, a doctor, and a businessman — one thing that connects these seven individuals is that they are all centenarians who were recognized for this year’s “Senior Citizens Month” celebration.

The legislature organized the virtual event.

Senator Amanda Shelton, who has oversight over Public Health’s Division of Senior Citizens, spoke about the event.

“This year, the United Nations estimates that there were 573,000 living centenarians worldwide. As life expectancies are increasing all over the world and the world population has also increased rapidly, the number of centenarians is expected to rise more in the future. I personally hope that more Guamanians will live to be centenarians like our beloved manamko here with us today,” Shelton said.

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Public Health Director Art San Agustin, who formerly led the Division of Senior Citizens, says the centenarians have interesting stories to tell.

“Some of them are already a hundred. Some are going to be a hundred and we have one that is 102. So you have all been given the gift of longevity and as the senator said, many times I have had the opportunity to read the bios of our centenarians, and they all have a strong sense of faith, family values, hard work, and taking care of their families,” San Agustin said.

Some of the centenarians and their families attended the virtual ceremony.

At 100 years of age, businessman Jose Aguinaldo Peralta spoke about looking forward to more years.

Meanwhile, GHRA President Mary Rhodes — who is the granddaughter of Rosario Flores Leon Guerrero, a war survivor — also spoke on behalf of their family.

“Hafa Adai. I am glad that we are still alive despite the hardships that we have gone through,” Peralta said.

“We continue to be blessed with her as she celebrated 101, For anyone who knows her, she continues to lead our family. She is a very strong lady and comes from great genes and a long legacy,” Rhodes said.

Here are the centenarians recognized at the virtual event:

  • Epifania Dulay Tabilas (101) was born on April 7, 1920, in Pangasinan,  Philippines, and presently resides with her daughter Edith T. Cruz in Dededo for the past 10 years. Epifania was a homemaker and also worked in the food and beverage industry. Epifania and her husband were one of the founding members of the NCS Family Association.
  • Rosario Flores Leon Guerrero (101) was born on March 14, 1920 in Hagatna; and is the daughter of Ignacio Guerrero Flores (Familian Cabesa) and Susanna Lujan Garcia. Rosario is fondly known as “Charo” and presently resides with her daughter Lola Leon Guerrero Paulino in Chalan Pago, where she has resided for the past ten 10 years; Charo personally experienced the atrocities of war.
  • Teodora P. Andrada (101) was born in Hawaii on August 29,1920. Teodora was an active senior center member for a number of years.
  • Amalia Yokoi Farfan (102) was born on June 27, 1918 in Hagatna, and presently resides with her son Pedro F. Farfan in Mangilao. Amalia is the matriarch of her family.
  • Josefina Liberty Villanueva Sancianco Ragan (100) was born on October 28, 1921 in Angeles Pampanga, Philippines, and presently resides with her daughter Regina M. Ragan in Piti. She was a doctor, a business owner, and an avid reader who was drawn to mystery/crime novels.
  • Felecisema Alcira Montalban (102) was born on February 8, 1920.  Felecisma is the matriarch of her family, and has 14 children. Felecisma was a housewife who enjoyed a simple life.
  • Jose Aguinaldo Peralta (101), formerly from Pangasinan, Philippines and currently lives with his wife Juanita Sevilla Peralta in Dededo where he has resided for the past 20 years. Jose established Star Press General Printers in Tamuning. As a small business owner, he took pride in the small family-owned business.

A proclamation signing was held earlier this month to declare May as Senior Citizens Month. At the same event, a new center that will help our manamko with their legal needs was officially opened.

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Louella Losinio
Louella Losinio is PNC's News Director for TV and Digital Media. She was a former reporter for the Marianas Variety (Guam Edition) and the Guam Daily Post, former editor-in-chief and co-founder of the Pacific Island Times, As a freelance writer, she has contributed content to various regional and local publications such as the Marianas Business Journal, Guam Business Magazine, The Guamanian, and Island Times. Aside from her decade-long experience in the media and print industry, Louella has experience in technical writing, education, and nonprofit management.