Sunday, March 25, 2007

Carrying on nicely at 106

I looked for a photo of Mr. Zamuco but there don't seem to be any on the internet. Anyway, this is quite an inspiring read. It reminds me of my late grandfather who also spent decades at the UP Los Baños.

Oldest living Pinoy is a retired UP college dean

The Philippine Star

On May 9, Gregorio Torio Zamuco will turn 106 years old.

This makes him (as of this writing) the oldest living Filipino, a month and 26 days older than Maria Torres Vicente, who was featured in The STAR’s Jan. 1 issue. (Or is there anyone out there who is more than 106 years old?)

Interestingly, both Zamuco and Vicente hail from Pangasinan: Zamuco, a son of Aguilar town, and Apong Maria, who was born in Urdaneta City on July 3, 1901.

The STAR learned about Zamuco’s age from a friend who is now writing a book titled "Centennial Review: 100 Great Moments in UPLB’s History." (UPLB stands for University of the Philippines Los Baños).

Dr. Fernando Bernardo, who retired a few years ago as deputy director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), has been devoting his time writing books covering important facets of Philippine history as well as the arts, including poetry and painting.

Bernardo, also a former UPLB College of Agriculture dean, expects to finish writing his latest book — on UPLB — this year.

For his new project, he interviewed Zamuco, among other UPLB old hands.

One interesting vignette in the life of Zamuco, who spent the last phase of his professional life as dean (1958-1966) of the UPLB College of Forestry, was about his arrest during the Japanese occupation of Los Baños in World War II.

As he narrated to Bernardo: "I was arrested by the Japanese soldiers but was later saved by my 10-year-old son. One morning while a Japanese officer was passing by our house, he heard someone playing a Japanese patriotic tune on our piano. The Japanese officer went up our house to see who was playing the piano, and was amazed to see my 10-year-old son, Jaime, on the piano. When the Japanese officer learned that Jaime’s father was arrested on suspicion of being a guerrilla, he ordered my immediate release."

Full story here

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