As in many stories that we’ve witnessed or heard – Senior citizen Pascasio Carcedo’s near-impossible feat of scaling the country’s highest mountain at age 83, started with a childhood dream.
Measured to its peak at 10,311 feet above sea level, Mt. Apo has always been the target of many local and foreign mountain climbers to conquer as a prelude to many more brave adventures but for “Super Lolo” Casio as he is now known after the daring exploit, it was a dream he wanted to fulfil even at a later age.
Lolo Casio will be among the elderly people, who is considered to be honored and featured in the documentary Saludo kay Lolo at Lola as part ofthe country-wide Elderly Filipino Week celebration of the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) set from October 1-7.
The NCSC headed by Chairman, Atty. Franklin Quijano, has lined up a massive, air-tight schedule of activities including Libreng Sakay for all Senior citizens in cooperation with the Department of Transportation, Cente-Sinta in coordination with the DSWD and TeleKonsulta with the Department of Health, among many.
The Davao City native recalled that he grew up wishing upon the stars, he could one day reach the apex of Mt. Apo, which he sees every day – proudly imposing right up in front of their house in the mountainous terrain of Barangay Tacunan.
To make this dream a reality. Lolo Casio started trailing low mountains and sites. Such as the 3,628 foot Bamboo Peak, Loay Peak (3,412 feet) and Mount Dinor at 4,314 feet above sea level. Aside from these trails, he would also walk from his home to crossing at least three times a week.
But Lolo Casio is no saint, admitting that he had a fair share of vices when he was younger like moderate smoking and drinking liquor. He revealed that he doesn’t follow a strict diet and only eats when he feels hungry.
Lolo Casio lives alone tending his small poultry but is often visited by his youngest son. The rest of his kids are already married and lives separately from him to be with their respective families.
With God’s grace, strong willpower and valuable help from friends, notably Lito Palao at Arnel Senedo, who served as his guides, Lolo Casio started his dream climb with nine other mountain climbers including a porter on September 10 and reached Mt. Apo’s peak after three days of grueling uphill hike.
Just days after Lolo Casio’s rare achievement, congratulatory messages from his town mates came pouring in, one of them posted photos and videos of his exploits in social media that went viral on Facebook.
The Super Lolo is now saving enough money to pursue his plans of conquering Mt. Pulag, the highest mountain in Luzon measuring 9,606 feet on its peak. The third highest mountain in the country borders the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya.
Lolo Casio became an instant “celebrity” and the envy of both the young and the old – A true pride of the elderly people, who deserves all the accolade for his tremendous achievement.
One of two shoo-ins for the Saludo kay Lolo at Lola citation is centenarian Aida Cruz Del Rosario, the woman who became the first registered female architect in the Philippines, who turned 100 years old last August 11.
She made history when she entered the University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) College of Architecture as its first female student and eventually became the first female graduate of the architecture school in 1947.
The other one is retired Army Sgt. Malomalo P. Salag, who at 113 years old, is believed to be the oldest living Filipino. He is a World War II veteran and was born on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1909.
Sgt. Salag reportedly lives somewhere in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and is now being located by the NCSC in time for the Elderly Filipino Week celebration.
The Analyser promises to feature more stories about our Super Lolos and Lolas in its succeeding issues. Special thanks to NCSC Commissioner Ida Yap-Patron, Doc Chin Gallenero, Eloisa Mae Manabat and Ma. Donna Caramugan-Amiscua for their valuable help to this columnist.