“Remain active, be happy, get involved in various activities. Because it pays to be healthy. It pays that you really love what you are doing.” 

Ms. Josephine “Joy” Gaviola

Makati City – Now a 78-year-old consultant at Office of the Senior Citizens’ Affairs (OSCA) Makati City, Mrs. Josephine “Joy” Gaviola continues to be a career woman. Working ever since after graduating from college, Ms. Joy shares her motivation and inspiration behind her journey from starting in the banking industry to serving her fellow senior citizens.

Even though we already visited Ms. Joy several times, this was the first time we interviewed her about her story. In every visit, we were always greeted by her warm personality and welcoming words. This is no different.

Sitting in her small corner at the OSCA Makati office, Ms. Joy doesn’t look like she had decades of experience. While many believe that senior citizens should stay at home, she kept and continued her work life and do what she loves. More than 50 years ago, Ms. Joy, a fresh graduate from college, already landed her first job as an administrator for bank machines at National Cash Register (NCR). However, she did not stay long for that position. “After less than a year, I was hired by the Manufacturers Bank,” she explained. Although her first job was short-lived, she stayed in Manufacturers Bank for 15 years and grew to be a leader. “I rose up the ladder until I attained the position of Assistant Vice President for International Affairs of [the] Foreign Department.”

Finally, she was transferred to Veterans Bank as a Senior Branch Manager at their Nichols Branch. This was her last taste and experience in working in the banking industry. She had to quit her job thus facing early retirement even if she was still years away from being 60 years old. “My stay with the bank was cut short because of some receivership from the central bank. So before I became 50, I quit after staying 25 years in the banking business.”

In most senior citizens, retirement means that they should stop but Ms. Joy seems to be blind to the concept of staying still. With an invitation from her friends, she took a turn and carried her leadership spirit to serve in the government. She said, “I became a Kagawad of the Barangay for almost 3 terms after which I served for a while as barangay captain.” Finally reaching the age of 60, she became qualified to be a consultant at the Office for the Senior Citizens’ Affairs (OSCA) where she “presently go to the present day”.

“As it is, I am still very busy to this day [even though] that I am just a consultant,” she explained. “But not as busy as before when I went to office hours.” she finished. Being a consultant at a senior citizens’ office she now deals mostly with senior citizens. She shares words of advice based on her professional and personal experiences and participates in various events and activities by the OSCA.

Ms. Joy walking the runway as a model for “Kasuotang Pilipino” last October 22, 2018
Ms. Joy at the backstage of the stage, smiling, minutes after she walked the runway
Ms. Joy hosts the simultaneous competitions held last November 13, 2018

It’s no surprise that people trust her leadership. She loves to share smiles and words with her fellow senior citizens. She also always seems to know what to do as I take note of her organized and occupied schedule in her calendar planner, her awards neatly placed in her office and the calls she received (asking for a piece of advice) during our interview.

Ms. Joy talking to the phone and giving an advice (shot on the day of the interview)

Despite the fewer work hours, Ms. Joy still believes in her abilities. “I believe that I still can do what I was doing before. I’m sociable. I attend to church matters. I’m very religious. I tend to my family. I tend to my husband.” “Because age is just a number,” she continues, “you can see I can still do the things that I could do before.” She also said that being active can also keep a healthy mindset as your mind won’t get “idle”.

Not only she continued her productivity, but she also maintained her relationship with people. “I’m still healthy and I love the work that I do. I want to interact with people. Especially to serve them and give them whatever they would need especially my co-seniors. I can relate with them.” Her leadership skills came and developed from her desire to help her people including fellow senior citizens.

Ms. Joy with her friends and workmates at the “Kasuotang Filipino” last October 22, 2018

Some senior citizens are uncertain about staying active. But Ms. Joy explains that being active can come even from doing simple things.

“That’s the case [maybe] to stay active. To be involved. To go out in the morning. To dress for yourself. Make yourself beautiful and attractive to my co-employees [and] to the senior citizens as well.”

She also encourages senior citizens to set an example. “To serve as a role model, as an inspiration to them that even if they have already reached the age of 78, they can still be active and productive.”

After the stories and experiences she shared, we asked Ms. Joy to deliver a heartful message to her fellow senior citizens. “Remain active, be happy, get involved in the various activities offered […] to you. Because it pays to be healthy. It pays to have friends. And it pays that you really love what you doing. As in my case, I really enjoy staying here and meeting with different kinds of people but more or less seniors and I can really relate to them since I am one of them already. Stay happy be healthy get activities so that you don’t really go the aging process. That’s all I wish them well, good health, happiness, and peace during their aging years.”

Watch our interview with Ms. Joy in the video below.

This interview has been modified and edited.

Alyssa Maac

Alyssa Maac

22 | Visual Designer | Philippines. Believes that the media, paired with the right formula, can bring opportunities closer for everyone.