City honors another Centenarian

City officials recently honored Leonila Emillana Rillorta Reyes as the latest centenarian of the city.

Under Resolution No. 236, series of 2022, local legislators stated that Ms. Reyes, the 5th child among the 7 children of Felipe Rillorta and Rafaela Rillera Rillorta, was born on May 28, 1922 in Naguilian, La Union.

In 1934, Leonila’s whole family came up to Baguio city and stayed at Teachers Camp where her father and 2 brothers were employed and provided with a family house or so-called quarters to stay while they are employed in one of the major education facilities in the city.

After finishing her elementary grade in 1937, Leonila enrolled and studied at the Baguio City High School but only until the middle of the year because the Second World War broke out that forced their family to return home to Naguilian town.

In 1943, Leonila got married to her townmate Prudencio Huligana Reyes after the war and they were blessed with 3 boys and 5 girls.

Leonila’s parents and siblings returned to resume their work at Teachers Camp but she decided to stay behind with her husband in Naguilian.

However, in 1946, the couple with their 5-month old son joined their parents at Teachers Camp where Prudencio was also employed to be able to provide the needs of their family.

On the other hand, Leonila then took up a hair science course as a means to help her husband earn for their daily expenses while in the city.

Years later, Leonila enrolled to take up a 2-year elementary teachers certificate course at the Baguio Colleges Foundation (BCF).

As a new teacher, she was given a substitute position in different schools in Benguet where she exemplified good performance that promoted the School District Supervisor to advise her to continue and finish her teachers degree in elementary education at the Eastern Philippines College which is now known as the Baguio Central University (BCU).

After graduation, she was appointed with a permanent position at the Virac elementary School, Itogon District where she spent most of her teaching years. She then took over the vacated position of her retired sister at Rizal elementary School where she continued her teaching profession until she retired in the teaching service in 1986.

Ironically, Leonila’s husband died in 1999 due to lingering ailment and she now lives in their family house with her 70-year old unmarried son at Cabinet Hill-Teachers Camp barangays; her other 7 married children are in other places. 

Of her 8 children, 6 are college graduates. Leonila has 20 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.

She believes that healthy living, eating more fruits, vegetables, fish, exercise and enough rest and sleep helped her reach her centennial age.

The resolution provided that Leonila will be awarded the privileges of a centenarian pursuant to Ordinance No. 45, series of 2013 as amended by Ordinance No. 53, series of 2016 and further amended by Ordinance No. 84, series of 2018 as amended by Ordinance No. 10, series of 2022. – Dexter A. See