Francisca Susano died early last week at her home in the Philippines. Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

Francisca Susano, affectionately known as Lola Iska, died early last week at her home in the Philippines.

The government of her hometown Kabankalan, in Negros Occidental, confirmed the news on social media.  

Officials say the supercentenarian was the world’s last surviving person born in the 19th century.

Documents say she was born on September 11, 1897 – a year before the Spanish relinquished reign over the Philippines.

It was the same year the ice cream scoop was invented and Marconi sent the first ever radio transmission across the sea.

Lola’s cause of death is yet to be determined, city public information officer Jake Carlyne Gonzales told CNN Philippines.

She will be tested for COVID-19, but it is not believed she had any symptoms of the illness.

Lola’s record-breaking age – two years more than the previous world’s oldest – has been confirmed by local officials.

But she died before the claim was independently verified.

As recently as September, Guinness World Records was still examining documents needed for her to be officially declared as world’s oldest person.

On Facebook, the City Government of Kabankalan said: “It is with sadness in our heart when we received the news that our beloved Lola Francisca Susano passed away early this Monday evening November 22.

“Lola Iska is considered the oldest person in Negros Occidental and the Philippines.

“Mayor Pedro Zayco, Vice Mayor Raul Rivera and all city officials as well as all the people of Kabankalan City condoles and prays with the family of Lola Iska in their period of bereavement.

“Lola Iska will always remain as our inspiration and pride.”

Documents say Lola Iska was born on Sept. 11, 1897

It is believed the secret to her long life includes a diet mainly consisting of vegetables and a little meat with no pork.

She also credits not drinking alcohol as a playing a big role in her long life.

Francisca will have had almost five years on another gran claiming to be the world’s oldest person.

Seker Arslan celebrated turning 119 in June this year, putting her long life down to her fatty diet of butter and cheese.

An ID card offered as proof of her age suggested she was born on June 27, 1902.

Local officials hope that having her birthday recognized would enable her to claim the oldest living person title now Francisca has passed away.

If verified, Seker would overtake the current oldest person, 118-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan, who was born on January 2, 1903.

Francisca also outlived a Russian woman who previously claimed to be the oldest in the world.

Tanzilya Bisembeyeva died at a reported age of 123 in October 2019.

She was born two months before the coronation of tragic last tsar Nicholas II and lived during three centuries, it was claimed.

According to reports, the secret of her long life, surviving the upheavals of the Russian revolution, when she was already 21, the tyranny of Stalin and the collapse of the Soviet Union, was “optimism and hard work” — along with drinking fermented milk.

Locals say she was more than 100 before she went to see a doctor.


According to Guinness World Records, the oldest person ever whose age has been verified was Jeanne Calment who was born in 1875.

The Frenchwoman died in 1997 at the age of 122 years, 164 days, after outliving both her daughter and grandson.

She was in good health for most of her life, cycled until the age of 100 and living on her own until she was 110.

She could even walk until 115 – but she fell, broke her leg and required a wheelchair thereafter.

Jeanne once said on TV that: “I have never been ill, never ever” and she is said to took care of her skin with olive oil and a puff of powder.

A documentary film was released in 1995 about her colourful life, titled ‘Beyond 120 Years with Jeanne Calment’.


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