Enjoying life in the company of seniors | Inquirer Opinion
High Blood

Enjoying life in the company of seniors

12:26 AM February 16, 2016

THE POPULAR doughnut shop in Makati Square moved out of its enclosed location to just a few steps away, resettling in the lobby. We, senior citizens who hung out in the old location, felt displaced until an area with tables and chairs was set up in a corner, but fully exposed to the public. Passersby from Amorsolo Street take a shortcut through the building, passing right in front of the doughnut shop—many unable to resist its sinful delicacies—to get to the bus depot which recently emerged just outside our building on Pasong Tamo Street. All right, it is now called Chino Roces Avenue.

The most vocal in our senior group, the famous E.R. Tagle, requested a staff member to reserve a place for us seniors where we could hang out as regulars. That is the beauty of being a senior citizen: We have plenty of time to people-watch—and, indeed, we’d better watch all those people passing by as the new location is vulnerable to mobile phone theft by a long-armed, determined felon.


That is where I found out from E.R. Tagle that the movie “Everything About Her” was showing at a nearby cinema house. He was all praises for it, so I told him that any movie starring Ms Vilma Santos was worth watching. I am happy to catch a few on TV.

The following day, I had to drag myself out of bed, fearlessly cross our busy street, risking life and limb to see the movie. It wasn’t the last full show; it was only 12:15 noontime, and the movie was just starting. But already we had to rise for the Philippine National Anthem. I told our “street facilitators” from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (“The joy of being useful,” Opinion, 1/29/16) that anyone who can sing our national anthem and not choke up with emotions rising from their breasts and leaving a lump in their throats do not love their country enough. They agreed with me, but I have my doubts about the last sentence—about dying for my country. Well, if push comes to shove, maybe.


As expected, the movie was excellent despite a few things, but the main thing was I enjoyed the movie, was fully entertained even if more than half of it had tears rolling down my cheeks and, to top it all, I didn’t have any tissues with me. I must say, the cinematography was something to rave about; the acting was superb, the leading man was handsome as he should be, and the two leading ladies’ acting skills were flawless. Some credit must go to the makeup artist whose skilled hands transformed Ms Vilma’s character into a tough and uncompromising business person. I regretted it had to end, and I stayed for the credits to find out who performed the theme song and to give a chance for the crowd in the ladies’ room to clear.

Next day, I ordered black coffee as recommended by Art L., a resident at the Makati Cinema Square Tower. An antioxidant, which means antiaging (daw), as if at this time in my life there is still something I can do about aging when each day I feel myself falling apart—disintegrating is the word—ever so slowly but surely. Well, the coffee worked! I felt so alive! I was awake the whole night.

Senior citizens who, by reason of maturity, are sitting and waiting in the departure area, should be passing our remaining short time with nary a thing to worry about, but we do worry, sometimes—even alarmed. Shouldn’t we be? With not a single, really qualified presidential candidate to lead our country to greater heights?

I still wonder why the financial capital of the Philippines has only three hospitals: One high-end for the rich, another for women and children, and the third, government-owned, where a senior can get free hospitalization but it is located at the end of the world. Some say that another hospital will be coming up soon somewhere in Malugay Street. That’s good news, but it is still up in the air and no one knows how long it will stay there. Pearlie of Barangay “Sanlo” shook her head and remarked: “NEGK!” Meaning, not even God knows!

The best we can do with our lives now is to enjoy it as much as we can. But all that “enjoyment” costs money which we have very little of. We have to rely entirely on Jesus to provide for our needs and, luckily, He never fails us. The bread ration I get from Mila A., our laundry-shop lady, is more than enough to fill our needs. Amazing what miracles we receive each day that we take for granted.

Some of us are still very fortunate to be doing absolutely nothing—with time on our hands, a few coins in our pockets and some very interesting people in our midst to pass the time. One thing I noticed about being a senior citizen is, we are more relaxed, rarely feeling the need to rush here and there and not caring about issues that used to get our dander up, if not our goat. We accept what comes, grateful for what the Lord provides, and happy to have friends who are enjoyable to be with and for the wisdom they impart.

Shirley Wilson de las Alas, 77, claims she is happily living in Makati City and feels guilty staying in bed reading “True Crime” books instead of enjoying “the little time left of what God has given her” with senior citizens, who she finds “indeed wiser and more knowledgeable and interesting to be with.”

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