Primitiva Agcaoili was born on November 23, 1920 in Vintar, Ilocos Norte, Philippines, the 6th of 13 children. Her father, Facundo, was a blacksmith and a “faith healer” known and sought for not only by the local people but others from neighboring towns. Her mother, Paula, was a housewife, meek and simple. Primitiva inherited those traits.
Primitiva only had a 7th grade education. Though graduating with honors, her father believed that women should stay at home to take care of their children. Sad that she was not allowed to get a higher education. She found love in Jorge and got married at an early age of 18. Life was very hard as both couple didn’t have the education to get a well-paying job, but that did not deter them from bringing up a big family. Primitiva’s love and support encouraged Jorge to use his brawn and acquire skills that provided for their family’s basic needs. Primitiva, on the other hand, learned to sew clothes for their children. They were happily married for 67 years before Jorge passed away in 2005.
Against all odds, Primitiva and Jorge, became prolific and successful in their own right. They are blessed with 8 children, 21 grand children who are all highly educated and 16 great grand children. She was tempered with hardship but was able to enjoy life to the fullest including many of its niceties. From her humble beginnings, she was able to see the world, traveling to more than 30 countries in Europe, North and Central America and Asia with her family. She was able to enjoy the arts and culture, watched many Broadway shows, even celebrating her 95th birthday in Disneyland in 2015.
Primitiva’s greatest legacy is the hard work and her core belief of love and faith in God and fellowmen, character, dignity, gratitude, honor and humility among others that she was able to impart to her children. She inspired them to dream the impossible, to live with hope and faith, to give back and leave this world a better place than before.