While a famous fictional superhero ingrained to us that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, the story of Lola Panfila Pingul of San Fernando, Pampanga will teach us that “with old age comes new challenges and new realizations”.
At 101, this groovy and cheerful grandma has definitely gone through a lot of trials and excruciating experiences in life. But just like how the characters in her favorite ABS-CBN teleseryes, she’s able to triumph over those with a few takeaways that she hopes to pass on to his family and to whoever will hear her amazing story.
Sadness started to creep into her when her husband, World War II veteran Miguel Pingul was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease in the 90s, which she said was the most difficult chapter of her life. Thus, when Miguel passed on, she lived with her children in the US for a decade – from 2000 to 2010 – in order to cope with her loss.
With most of her children and grandchildren staying abroad, Mama Nene, as what her family fondly calls her, disclosed that the last time she’s able to see all her remaining kids, 18 grandchildren, and 26 great grandchildren was during her 100th birthday celebration. With this, she couldn’t help but be lonesome despite being surrounded by several members of her family left here in the Philippines.
Thus, for her to hurdle the loneliness and yearning she feels, she diverted her attention in binge-watching the programs of ABS-CBN from the moment she wakes in the morning to catch the latest news courtesy of Umagang Kay Ganda up to her bed time after accompanying Cardo Dalisay in his new missions every night on FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano. This has been her routine since then, making her the certified ABS-CBN fan and the oldest Kapamilya who we can dub “Ang Lola Nating Lahat”.
In our fun conversation with her, we’re able to find out that her favorite shows to date are Kadenang Ginto, Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Los Bastardos, It’s Showtime, and FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, while her all-time favorites were Flordeluna (1980-1983), Mara Clara (1992-1997), Pangako Sa ‘Yo (2000-2002), Esperanza (1997-1999), and Be Careful With My Heart (2012-2014). She also revealed watching reruns of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano in Cinemo and old Kapamilya programs in Jeepney TV, which are both exclusive channels of the network.
However, it’s not only in teleseryes that Mama Nene is inclined with as she also loves to watch Star Cinema films via the cable channel CinemaOne, citing “Tanging Yaman” (2000) and “Forevermore” (2002) as her eternal favorites.
When asked about her favorite artists at the present, she’s all praises for Judy Ann Santos, Piolo Pascual, Jericho Rosales, Coco Martin, and Vice Ganda, while Vilma Santos and Judy Ann are her all-time icons.
Since she’s enthusiastic every time she talks about the latest episodes of her favorite soap operas, we came up with the idea of inviting the lead cast of Kadenang Ginto – Beauty Gonzalez, Dimples Romana, Francine Diaz, and Andrea Brillantes – to give her a surprise.
Happiness and astonishment were indeed evident on her face upon seeing them and immediately threw her arms over them. Among the four, it is Beauty’s character Romina who she seemingly admires the most as it reminds her of her daughter who’s as kind and courageous as she is. Being both Bisaya – with the Kapamilya star hailing from Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental while Mama Nene was born in Ormoc City, Leyte – the two had a lengthy conversation about their hometowns and their common fervor for sweets.
She might usually dislike the mother-daughter tandem of Daniela (played by Dimples) and Marga (played by Andrea), but she still warmly embraced them upon their meeting as she got captivated by their charm. Meanwhile, she was also stunned to see Cassie (played by Francine) who she praised for being a good girl in the program.
Of course, since it’s Pinoy tradition to bring food every time we visit someone’s house, the Kadenang Ginto stars brought along with them a pasalubong for their oldest avid fan and had a fun merienda with the whole Pingul family. Lovely group photos of them were also taken as keepsakes of the memorable event. They bade their sweet goodbyes afterwards, with a promise of coming back to Lola’s 102nd birthday.
She might not have a perfect family that’s free from misunderstandings, she wishes to still have a happy ending for all of them just like what usually happens in the teleseryes she had seen. But that would only be possible, according to her, if there’s love, unity, and constant communication among them, and if each one of them will make an effort for them to be together and has deep value towards family gatherings.
“Kahit kailan, di ako mag-iisa; nandiyan lagi ang mga pamilya ko,” Mama Nene stated.