Could This Filipino Grandmother Be the Oldest Person in the World?
Lola Francisca Susano of Puerto Princesa, Palawan is a supercentenarian. She is 122 years old, turning 123 on September 11. She was born in Oringao, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
The oldest person to have lived longest is Jeanne Calment, who lived to the age of 122 years and 164 days. Calment died in 1997. As of this writing, Susano is 122 years and 284 days old, surpassing Calment.
In 2016, volunteers from Puerto Princesa submitted the story of Susano to the Guinness Organization in the hope of her being recognized as the world’s longest living person. At the time when her name was submitted to Guinness, Susana was traveling between Palawan and Negros Occidental to visit her relatives.
Susano was born before the declaration of Philippine Independence in 1898. She survived the smallpox pandemic of the 1900s, the cholera epidemic of 1905, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, and now faces COVID-19 pandemic. Of her 14 children, eight are still alive, the oldest is 99 years old.
According to the Gerontology Research Group, which maintains a list of the 30 oldest people in the world, there are fewer than 300 to 450 supercentenarians in the world or those who are 110 years or older.
To this day, Susana is reportedly still able to speak fluently, walk, and play the harmonica. Her diet consists of vegetables and little meat but no pork. She claims her long life is a result of her positive outlook in life, a healthy diet, and abstinence from alcohol.