April 14, 2024
ABREÑO CENTENARIAN — Concepcion “Nanang Ancing” Castañeda Astudillo, who reached 100 years old, pose with fa-mily members and friends as well as team from DSWD and SWAD-Abra, led by Asec. for Specialized Programs under Operations Group Florentino Y. Loyola, Jr. and DSWD-Cordillera OIC Director and ARD for Operations Enrique H. Gascon, Jr. — DSWD photo

Bangued, Abra – For this centenarian, age is just a number.

Fondly called “Nanang Ancing” by family and friends, Concepcion Castañeda Astudillo beamed in her pale purple dress while four generations of her family surrounded her, as she celebrated her 100th year on March 6.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, led by Assistant Secretary for Specialized Programs under Operations Group Florentino Y. Loyola, Jr., and DSWD concurrent OIC-Regional Director and Assistant RD for Operations Enrique H. Gascon, Jr., the local government of Bangued hailed the milestone of nanang and honored herremarkable journey with the conferment of Certificate of Recognition, P100,000 cash gift, and a Letter of Felicitation signed by the President of the Philippines.

This is in accordance with Republic Act 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016.

To many who have come to know her, Nanang Ancing is a living testament to a century of faith, love and resilience. After the simple birthday party, Nanang Ancing reclined at their living room, joined by her daughters, Juliet and Estrella – both now in their 60s – to help relate her remarkable life story. Though unable to fully articulate thoughts and ideas through speech, Juliet, a retired school nurse, said nanang makes up for this through gestures and recollections of her hobbies and routines that her children have also taken to heart.

Having experienced the hardships of the Japanese occupation period of the country during World War II in the early years of her life, Estrella, a retired medical technologist, related how their mother, along with their late father, told them tales of survival and making do with the restrictions.

As teenagers of the “Greatest Generation” during those years in Abra, they said nanang, as the fifth of eight siblings, helped out in any way she can for their family’s needs, including selling kamote (sweet potato), tagapulot (sugarcane muscovado), and even jewelries to help make ends meet.

“She is a very caring and loving mother to us,” said Juliet, the fifth of Nanang Ancing’s eight children, adding that her character has already made an indelible mark on her family, with 16 grandkids, and 8 great-grandkids.

As a housewife, she doted over and built a family with her husband, who was a WWII veteran recognized by the United States Army Forces in the Far East.

In her younger days, Nanang Ancing was active serving in their local church and ultimately serving as a mother butler in her later years.

According to them, as long as she lived, they remarked that she had no vices, but only enjoys playing board games – especially a friendly game of bingo, with the family. Estrella added that they still bring her newspapers to read, as she enjoys keeping up to date with the news and updates in the community.

Nanang Ancing is used to be referred to only as a senior citizen, owing to the vibrant aura about herself. However, they recounted that when Nanang Ancing was 92 yrs. old, she had to undergo a hip replacement surgery after a fall at their house, going through therapy for three to four months in Manila then going back to Abra to fully recover and stay healthy as ever. Recently, she joined a road trip with her intergenerational kith and kins to Vigan, Ilocos Sur and Baguio City, reveling in the opportunity to go out with the whole family as well as to eat her favorite foods.

Although currently Nanang An cing faces no health issues, her family always carefully looks after her. – Christian Robert M. Sandoval