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Apo Gayamen: 114-year-old Igorot may be One of the Oldest People in the World

Apo Gayamen, a 114-year-old Igorot centenarian, may be one of the oldest people in the world. Discover her remarkable journey and secrets.

Discover the extraordinary life of Apo Gayamen, a 114-year-old Igorot who may be one of the oldest people in the world. Explore her remarkable journey.

Meet Luisa 'Apo Gayamen' Balangyao, a remarkable figure hailing from Panabungen, Laylaya, Besao, Mountain Province, and proudly identified as an Igorota, or Igorot woman. Believed to have reached the remarkable age of 114, Apo Gayamen's life story is one of resilience and inspiration. If her age is confirmed, she may hold a place among the world's oldest living individuals.

In this article, we'll take you on a journey through the remarkable life of Apo Gayamen, exploring her secrets to a long and healthy life, the cultural practices that have shaped her, and the national recognition she has earned.

Apo Gayamen's Family Roots

Luisa 'Apo Gayamen' Balangyao's remarkable journey begins in the heart of the Mountain Province, in Ambagiw, Besao. Proudly identifying as an Igorota, or Igorot woman, she spent her early years in this region, deeply rooted in her indigenous culture.

Apo Gayamen, the oldest Igorota of Panabungen, Laylaya, Besao, Mountain Province Photo: Airene Pagosto

Her life became intertwined with Banglate Balangyao's, and together, they embarked on a journey of love and family. Apo Gayamen's large family, filled with children and grandchildren, reflects the love and unity that have defined her life.

Tragically, she has faced the loss of eight of her twelve children, a testament to the challenges life can bring. Additionally, her husband passed away due to a stroke in 1991, marking a significant turning point in her life's journey.

Through the years, she has had the privilege of witnessing the growth of not only her children but also her grandchildren, marking the passage of time and the endurance of her legacy.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into Apo Gayamen's life, uncovering the secrets behind her remarkable age, her cultural practices, and her impact on her community and nation.

Secrets to a Long and Healthy Life: Cultural Practices, Diet, and Well-Being

Apo Gayamen's remarkable journey to 114 years of age is a testament to the wisdom of her cultural practices, her healthful diet, and her unique stress-relief methods. These elements have played pivotal roles in her remarkable journey.

Apo Gayamen: A Century of Wisdom and Resilience, discover the extraordinary life of a potential world record holder. Photo: Airene Pagosto

Insights into Her Lifestyle and Habits

Apo Gayamen's life is characterized by her resilient lifestyle and daily habits. She rises to the challenge of caregiving, even in her advanced age, showcasing her nurturing spirit and strength. Her ability to walk long distances is a testament to her active lifestyle, defying expectations and showcasing her resilience.

Proper Nutrition and Disciplined Eating

Apo Gayamen's diet is a reflection of her deep connection to her cultural heritage. Her approach to eating is rooted in discipline and tradition. She places emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and traditional foods, with a special focus on vegetables and natural components. This wholesome diet has been a source of sustenance and well-being throughout her long life.

Local Customs and Traditions

Apo Gayamen's life is intricately woven with the customs and traditions of the Igorot community. These customs not only enrich her life but also significantly contribute to her health and well-being. The cultural practices she embraces, handed down through generations, have provided her with a strong sense of continuity and identity.

Stress Relief Through Chants and Melodies

In the midst of life's challenges, Apo Gayamen has discovered the profound power of traditional chants, melodies, and the soothing "day-eng." These age-old practices go beyond mere entertainment; they serve as therapeutic outlets for relieving stress and weariness. As she shares her stories and songs with the younger generations, she not only passes down the melodies but also imparts a sense of calm and resilience, preserving cultural treasures for the future.

Love and Support

Apo Gayamen's extraordinary journey underscores the profound significance of love and support in one's life. Her enduring relationships and the bonds she has nurtured have played an instrumental role in her well-being.

Witnessing the Endurance of Apo Gayamen, Her legacy of love, unity, and strength. Photo by Airene Pagosto

Social support from her family and community has been an unwavering source of strength throughout her remarkable life. Apo Gayamen's capacity to care for her children and grandchildren is a testament to the love and support she has received from those around her. These relationships have not only enriched her life but have also provided her with a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Furthermore, Apo Gayamen's devotion to her faith remains resolute. She steadfastly attends every mass, often being the first to arrive at the church, even if it is still closed. This unwavering commitment underscores her deep spiritual connection and steadfast dedication to her beliefs.

In the forthcoming sections, we will delve into the recognition Apo Gayamen has garnered and the profound impact of her remarkable life on her community and the nation.

Apo Gayamen's Recognition and Its Impact

Luisa Balangyao, affectionately known as Apo Gayamen, has captured the hearts of many with her remarkable journey, earning recognition and admiration that transcends her community.

Apo Gayamen's extraordinary life story first found its way into the public eye through Igorotage. Her story resonated deeply with readers and quickly spread across the internet, inspiring people from all walks of life.

Apo Gayamen's awe-inspiring journey reaches a wider audience through ABS-CBN and media Photo: ABS-CBN

Covered by ABS-CBN and Other News Outlets

Apo Gayamen's narrative didn't remain in the shadows for long. Prominent news outlet ABS-CBN and numerous other media organizations swiftly picked up on her remarkable journey. Their coverage introduced Apo Gayamen's life to a broader audience, reflecting the genuine interest and admiration her story had garnered.

Receipt of Financial Assistance and Her Grateful Response

In light of her story, Apo Gayamen received an outpouring of support from her community and beyond. This included a substantial financial assistance grant of PhP 20,000.00 from the DSWD-Mountain Province. Her gratitude was palpable as she expressed her newfound ability to afford essentials like milk and food, which had been a luxury for her.

Luisa "Gayamen" Balangyao during her recognition as a Centenarian awardee. Kimbee Pooten Sote and Solang Pooten

Provincial Recognition as a Centenarian

Her remarkable life was formally recognized at the provincial level. Apo Gayamen was honored as a centenarian, a distinction that came with a significant grant of PhP 100,000.00 from the provincial government. This recognition not only celebrated her impressive age but also acknowledged her enduring contributions to the community.

Inspiring Recognition for Other Centenarians

Apo Gayamen's story has had a far-reaching impact. It has paved the way for other centenarians in the province and the region to be recognized for their remarkable lives. Her journey serves as an inspiration, reminding us of the wisdom and resilience that age can bring.

Apo Gayamen's Age: A Remarkable Discussion

Apo Gayamen's remarkable journey through life has sparked intriguing discussions about her age within her community. Her neighbors and those who have had the privilege of witnessing her extraordinary life hold a belief that she might be even older than her official record suggests. According to their accounts, Apo Gayamen is believed to have reached the awe-inspiring age of 114 years, a testament to the remarkable longevity she embodies.

A Potential World Record

If she is indeed 114 years old, that would make her one of the oldest persons in the world. For comparison, Ms. Emma Martina Luigia Morano of Vercelli, Italy, who lived to be 116 years old, was recognized by Guinness as the world's oldest living person in May 2016. Apo Gayamen's potential age places her among the elite few who have experienced such remarkable longevity.

Official Confirmation

However, when we turn to official records, her birth date is officially documented as April 13, 1910. This official date confirms her remarkable age at 106 years old as of this writing, a testament to her enduring spirit and the rich tapestry of her life.

An Age Worth Exploring

While Apo Gayamen is indeed 106 years old at this time, it is important to note that her age, while remarkable, doesn't place her among the very oldest individuals in the world. Nevertheless, this apparent discrepancy in age highlights a fascinating aspect of history-the inconsistencies in records during colonial times. The colonial era brought with it changes in the way indigenous communities documented their identities and vital information. Birthdates and identities were sometimes approximated, leading to discrepancies that continue to reverberate through the generations.

Resilience Through Discrepancies

These discrepancies in colonial records not only shed light on the challenges faced by indigenous communities but also underscore the enduring resilience of individuals like Apo Gayamen. Despite historical gaps and uncertainties, she has not only persevered but has thrived, leaving an indelible mark on her community.

Remembering Apo Gayamen

In October 2017, Apo Gayamen, the beloved centenarian of Panabungen, Laylaya, Besao, Mountain Province, peacefully passed away. We join her family, friends, and community in extending our deepest condolences. Apo Gayamen's legacy of resilience, wisdom, and remarkable longevity will forever be remembered as an inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing her. While she may have left this world, her spirit continues to shine brightly in the hearts and memories of those she touched during her extraordinary journey.


In reflecting on the inspirational life of Luisa 'Apo Gayamen' Balangyao, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience and strength that can emerge from even the most challenging circumstances. Her journey, marked by the richness of her culture, the depth of her community bonds, and the longevity of her years, serves as a beacon of hope and wisdom.

Apo Gayamen's enduring impact extends not only to her community but also to the nation as a whole. Her story encourages us to appreciate the importance of cultural preservation and recognition, the value of discipline and a healthful diet, and the power of love, support, and faith in our lives.

As we bid farewell to this remarkable centenarian, we are left with a treasure trove of lessons from her life-an enduring legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.

What lessons will you take from Apo Gayamen's remarkable journey? Do you aspire to reach the age of a centenarian, embracing a life filled with the same vitality and wisdom? Perhaps it's time to reflect on the choices we make today and the impact they may have on our own journeys towards a long and fulfilling life.

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