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  • Writer's pictureAbrielle Dalilis (intern)

Overcoming life adversary: The Story of Baguio City’s latest centenarian


If there are few people who truly know what it is really like to be at the top and at the bottom of the wheel, Petra Lukingan is one of them.

 

Petra is the latest centenarian honored by the Baguio City Council through Ordinance No. 45, series of 2013, amended by Ordinance No. 53, series of 2016; Ordinance No. 84, series of 2019; and Ordinance No. 10, series of 2022.

 

The 100-year-old was granted the benefits and privileges of said ordinances on March 5, 2024.

 

Lola Petra's Life

 

The centenarian, who is fondly called 'Lola Petra', was born on January 24, 1924, and grew up in Data, Sabangan, Mountain Province. She is the youngest of four siblings born to farmer parents who faced several hardships in life.


Lola Petra was only able to complete Grade 1 due to financial difficulty. Instead of attending school, she had to work in the fields to help provide for their food and daily expenses.

 

In 1948, she met the love of her life, her husband Leoncio. The two had four children: Henry, Harry, Manuel, and Novel.

 

While Leoncio, who was a soldier, had to serve during the Korean War, Petra cared for their children and held their family together despite being away from her spouse.

 

Tragedies

 

While she experienced living a happy and content life, Lola Petra also had her fair share of tragedies.

 

In 1983, their family was struck by grief when their eldest son, Henry, died in an ambush while serving in the military.

 

Twenty years later, Petra was brought back to a state of loss after her husband succumbed to an illness in 2003.

 

Oldest Prisoner

 

Coping with grief was not the only thing Petra had to endure as she encountered another challenging situation in 2012. This was after she was charged and convicted of falsification of public documents.

 

At age 88, she was incarcerated at the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong, where she became the oldest person deprived of liberty at the time.

 

In 2015, the then 91-year-old Petra was released, following a release order from the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP), having served three years, two months, and nine days in prison. She was one of the inmates recommended for a presidential pardon due to her hearing disability.

 

Lola Petra Now

 

Despite the challenges and hardships she faced, the centenarian continued with life and has now entered her century on earth.

 

Lola Petra credits her long life and vitality to her healthy diet and self-cultivated vegetables, as well as her preference for fish over meat.

 

Despite her hearing impairment, her vision remains clear, but she now uses a wheelchair for mobility. She currently resides in Kias, Baguio City, with her youngest son, Novel, who serves as her devoted caregiver.

 

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