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With his perfectly groomed white hair, a mix of white and black eyebrows and welcoming smile, Ikit or Lolo (grandfather) Coteng sits comfortably on a wooden chair as the sunlight streams through the window of the balcony when we arrived at his home.

His welcoming nod and gracious smile relieved the tiredness we felt from hiking from the national highway going up the hilly mountain village of Barangay Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain Province where he lives.

I first saw this man of his photo taken in December 2018 when I wrote a news story about him as one of the centenarian awardees in Mountain Province recognized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). At that time, I based my news story on the details and personal interview conducted by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) to him.
Believing that Ikit Coteng has lots of things to share, we endeavored to learn his story. And it has been an awe-inspiring and humbling experience to know the story of this wizened man.

Herbert Malecdan Todyog, popularly known as Lakay (old man) Coteng or Ikit Coteng has reached another milestone in his life when he turned 101 years old on March 10, 2019- a long years of living that most people cannot reach. Based on his Certificate of Baptism, he was born on March 10, 1918, in the small village of Alab Oriente, Bontoc. However, per accounts of Ikit Coteng, he was already a teenager when he was baptized by certain Father Dogum of the Anglican Church in their village. Thus, he could be more than 101 years old.

Talking to Ikit Coteng is like travelling into a time travel machine that brings back the past into life. With his jovial personality and sharp memory, it can make anyone sit with him the whole day and listen as he clearly recounts his life experiences. He answers questions in detail and correctly remembering every person’s name.

He recounted his blissful adolescence when they used to go to the river banks to play “walakda” after a back-breaking day of plowing the rice field. The “walakda” or known as “fagfagto” in central Bontoc of which the group of men who hit most of their opponents with stones win.

He narrated how he and his family, together with the other villagers had to evacuate and seek shelter atop the forested mountains during World War II.

Pointing to the road, he recalled how the now concreted and improved Bontoc –Sagada Road had been a narrow trail of Spanish soldiers riding on their horses.

But what other best question to ask a centenarian, but his secret that he was blessed with a long and healthy life with hopes that we can reach his age too.

For Lolo Coteng, there is no secret recipe for his long life. When asked by this writer of the question, he laughs and said that they ate what they grew. They ate what they had, and it was healthy. It came as no surprise that having a longer and healthier life is choosing the right and healthy food to eat and living a healthy lifestyle. According to him, their only staple food is what they have planted from the uma located far from where they leave. He reminisced how they navigate the hilly mountain village going to the uma and going back home with his mother carrying on her head bundles of “safog” or “sabog” while he, his brothers and their father carry on their back big sized camote, ube and cassava. They pair the locally grown food with sabeng or fermented cassava. He narated that sometimes, his parents exchange a plate of pound sabog or safog to a plate of pound palay from the Kadangyan (rich family) in their village.

When he reached his adulthood, he did not drink liquor but sometimes drinks basi (sugarcane wine) produced from the processed sugarcane. He also smokes tobacco on his pipe up to present but never tried to smoke a cigarette.

With the simple living in the village and the way of life their parents taught them for survival, he learned the process of fermenting cassava and turning it into “sabeng”, which has been part of his daily food.
Pointing at the backyard of his home, he shared that he used to plant sugarcane in his backyard and has a sugar cane milling station in place where they process the sugarcane into basi.
Having never been hospitalized, he witnessed two most significant events in the country – World War I and World War II. He can still walk, has clear eyesight, has a sharp memory and has good hearing sense. We cannot argue more of the reasons how he attained that span of life.

Ikit Coteng is the third born of the five children of the late Todyog and Tagibanay. Lolo Coteng’s siblings are the late Mangabo, Ballogo, Bartolome, and Gayak.
He is married to the late Janet and they are blessed with one child who also joined the Creator. From his only biological son, he has four grandchildren. From his four grandchildren, he has now 23 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren. Aside from his biological son, he has an adopted daughter, Emma who is now staying in Baguio City.

Not given the opportunity to obtain formal education because of the hardships of life, Ikit Coteng worked hard to send his daughter Emma to school who finished a course, Bachelor of Commerce.

The 101-year old Coteng lives alone in his house where his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and adopted daughter visit him and provide him his basic necessities. The family of his grandchildren, Anthony Coteng and his better-half Wilma Coteng together with their children attend to his needs as they live near the centenarian’s home. Lolo Coteng prefers to live separately from his grandchildren’s families despite their efforts to convince him to stay with any of them.

Talking to Ikit Coteng and learning from his wisdom of leaving the 100 is worth the effort. Like climbing the mountain to reach his home, we should aspire to reach that height, not just because it is there, but because the view from the top is unsurpassed.

Note: The interview was done on April 15, 2019, at the home of Mr. Herbert Malecdan Todyog a.k.a. Coteng in Barangay Alab Oriente, Bontoc, Mountain Province. The writer was accompanied by Ms. Vilma Peckley, a Bachelor of Science in Tourism student of the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) undergoing On the Job Training at the Municipal Tourism of the Bontoc LGU. They were assisted by the granddaughter-in-law of Lolo Coteng, Mrs. Wilma Coteng.



Sangguniang Bayan Ordinances

2014 Ordinances

No. 249. An ordinance creating the business permit and Licensing Section under the office of the Municipal Mayor and transferring the existing position of Licensing Officer I, from the office of the Municipal treasurer to man the new section upon creation.pdf

No. 248. An ordinance abolishing the existing vacant plantilla position, Revenue Collection Officer I, SG-11 and the creation of two (2) Local Revenue Collection Clerk I, SG-5.pdf

No. 247. An ordinance realigning the five thousand pesos (P 5,000.00) from communication expense fund of two (2) Personnel of the Engineering Office (Resolution No. 623, s. 2014) - to payment of lot rental of the Bontoc waterworks reservoir at Balabag, Talubin.pdf

No. 245. An ordinance creating the persons with disabilities affairs office of the Municipal Local Government unit of Bontoc, Mountain Province.pdf

No. 244. An Ordinance realigning the ten thousand pesos (Php. 10,000.00) from repair of office equipment (Account code 821) of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office of CY 2014 Municipal Annual budget - to purchase of one (1) set printer with continous ink flow of the same office..pdf

No. 243. An ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 238 s. 2014 dated July 14, 2014 of the Sangguniang Bayan of this municipality.pdf

No. 242. An ordinance creating various positions in the Municipal plantilla of this Municipality and providing the corresponding salary grade thereof.pdf

No. 240. An ordinance to transfer the position of Administrative Aide III (Driver I) from the office of the vice mayor to the office of the municipal mayor, and the position of administrative aide I (Utility worker I) from the accounting office to the office of the Municipal planning and development office (MPDO).pdf

No. 239. An ordinance realigning various office appropriations in the 2014 Bontoc Municipal annual budget.pdf

No. 238. An ordinance realigning appropriations / funds in the non-office portion of the 2014 Municipal Annual budget - to capital outlay requirement, specified herein below.pdf

No. 237. An ordinance amending Section III (1) on Senior Citizens Special day and Section V (b) - funding of Ordinance No. 144-A, s. 2009 otherwise known as "An ordinance declaring every 1st Monday of October of each as a Senior  Citizens day and act as Senior  Citizens officer for a day (SCOFAD) for the Elective positions in the Municipality of Bontoc and providing incentive thereof.".pdf

No. 236. An ordinance establishing the Bontoc Business Task Force, its composition and defining its powers, functions and procedures.pdf

No. 235. An ordinance realigning MOOE funds to capital outlay, of the Sangguniang Bayan Office.pdf

No. 234. n ordinance realigning /reappropriating funds in the amount of P 127,250.08 from the balance of item No. 9000-10-1 counterpart for INREMP / PRDP of the cy 2014 Municipal AIP for various programs of this municipality.pdf

No. 233. An ordinance authorizing the proposed borrowing of the Municipality of Bontoc, in the amount of eighty million pesos (P 80,000,000.00) to fund the construction of the municipal multi-purpose building (P75,000,000.00) and to fund the rehabilitation of the Bontoc waterworks system (P 5,000,000.00).pdf

No. 232. An ordinance converting the Clerk III, SG-6 position in the office of the Sangguniang Bayan, to Local legislative Staff Assistant I, SG-6, same office.pdf

No. 231. An ordinance abolishing the existing vacant plantilla position Agricultural Technologist, SG-10 and creating the positions of farm foreman, SG-6 and farm worker, SG-4 of the Municipal Agricultural Office.pdf

No. 229. An ordinance realigning P 255,000.00 from the P 1,500,000.00 reallocation / reorganization fund under the Non-Office appropriations in the 2014 Municipal Annual Budget - representation and transportation allowance of the ABC President and IP Representative in the Sangguniang Bayan.pdf

2013 Ordinances

No. 225. Authorizing the reappropriation of fifty thousand pesos (P 50,000.00) from veteran's aid allocation (Code 3000.1.2) of cy 2013 Municipal AIP to improvement of veterans park located beside the justice hall, Poblacion, Bontoc.pdf

No. 224. Authorizing the appropriation of two hundred sixty two thousand pesos (P 262,000.00 from the Engineering surcharges from various implemented programs/projects of this municipality.pdf

No. 223. Realigning 2013 Municipal fund allocation of the Bureau of Fire Protection, from training of fire brigade - P 30,000.00 (Account code 753) and repair and maintenance of the fire truck - P 25,180.00 (Account Code 841) for a total amount of P 55,180.00 - to renovation of comfort room and concreting of the partition of the fire truck garage and kitchen.pdf

No. 222. Amending certain provisions of Municipal tax ordinance no. 2012-176 otherwise known as the 2012 Revised Revenue code of Bontoc, Mountain Province.pdf

No. 220. Authorizing the realignment of fund allocations from prisoners mess - P 15,000.00 and training fund P 30,000.00 for a total of P 45,000.00 of calendar year 2013 budget of the Bontoc Municipal Police station and appropriating to purchase of office equipments of the same office.pdf

No. 219. An ordinance realigning the P 120,000.00 intended for repair / maintenance of office equipment / furniture /IT equipment under the 2013 annual budget and the unencumbered fund for 5% surcharge in the amount of P 65,000.00 to augment the amount of P 120,000.00 for a total amount of P 185,000.00 for the repair of the Engineering office (MEO).pdf

No. 217. Institutionalizing the student financial assistance program of Bontoc, Mountain Province.pdf

No. 213. Amending the tricycle fare amounts mandated under section 1(a) and Section 2 of Municipal Ordinance No. 128, s. 2008, and for other purposes.pdf

No. 212. Prohibiting the use of non biodegradable plastic bags on dry goods and wet goods and prohibiting the use of styro foam within the municipality of Bontoc.pdf

No. 211. Repealing Ordinance No. 120, s. 2008, and amending sections 3 and 4 of Ordinance No. 103, s. 2006.pdf

No. 210. Realigning the amount of three hundred thousand pesos (P 300,000.00) from Electricity Expense (Code 767) - P 245,000.00, League fund (Code 778) - P 5,000.00 and IEC Tax campaign (Code 969) - P 50,000.00 of CY 2013 Budget of the Municipal treasury office - to publication and printing of Municipal Tax Ordinance of Bontoc, Mountain Province.pdf

No. 208. Realigning funds from various projects/programs f the 20% Municipal Development fund, office supplies and maintenance of motor vehicle of fiscal year 2013 budget for various programs of this Municipality.pdf

No. 205. Realigning the amount of two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) from Legislative research and other programs, vice mayor's office ( code 969, b Regular budget 2013) to 1) improvement of Ledlecha ato, Talubin (P150,000.00) and 2). Improvement of Gonogon Elementary School kitchen and public toilet (P 50,000.00).pdf

No. 204. Realigning the amount of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) from training expenses, vice mayor's office (code # 753, regular budget 2013) to health programs of the same office.pdf

No. 203. Realigning the amount of two hundred thousand pesos (P 200,000.00) from improvement of Ledlecha ato / IP hall, Talubin (AIP code 90000.1.15 regular budget 2013) to environmental programs of the vice mayor's office.pdf

No. 202. Realigning the amount of P 100,000.00 from Pakil communal irrigation system, Talubin (AIP Code 90000.2.4, regular budget 2013) to improvement of Pakil pathway, Talubin.pdf

No. 201. Realigning the amount of P 100,000.00 from Arngo-ong waiting shed (AIP Code 90000.1.9, regular budget 2013) to construction of barangay Bontoc Ili Multi purpose hall water tank and septic tank.pdf

No. 199. Realigning appropriations in the Bontoc Municipal AIP, CY 2012 and CY - 2013.pdf

No. 198. Realigning the amount of P 75,000.00 from Legislative Research and other programs, regular budget 2013 to various programs / projects.pdf

No. 197. Realigning the amount of P 250,000.00 from regular budget 2013, code 9000.6.9 (Foy-o drainage pathway) to various projects.pdf

No. 195. An ordinance realigning the amount of P 8,000.00 from ordinance no. 185, s. 2012, section 2, letter c (mushroom production counterpart) to Lanao Day Care materials.pdf

No. 194. Amending section 1, item (b) of ordinance no. 188 s. 2012 of this LGU by replacing the words "Sarok waterworks" therein to " Maligcong waterworks.pdf

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