ILOILO City – Selling goods is not easy. For many ambulant vendors, the trade is not financially rewarding at all.
In a season of celebrations, how they are able to put food on the table is no different from how they do it on regular days.
Still, they consider Christmas to be a time for bonding, sharing whatever they have – no matter the amount or size – with loved ones as they take time to appreciate life and each other.
Christmases should be celebrated with family, the meager income notwithstanding, according to a 61-year-old vendor of lighted toys and accessories at the Iloilo provincial capitol grounds in Iloilo City.
“Biskan amo ni kapigado sang sitwasyon namon pwede man kami gihapon ka-celebrate Christmas. Ang importante ululupod kami tanan nga miyembro sang pamilya,” Mila Abdul, a resident of Barangay Rizal Palapala, told Panay News.
According to Abdul, her income selling items at the capitol grounds – the capitol building wrapped in dazzling lights has become a Christmas destination in the city – is inadequate.
“Pigado gid kay mahina ang baklanay sa negosyo namon tungod sa kamahal sang balaklon subong. Sa subong nga gab–i, benta ko di P100 pa lang. Indi ako gani kalab-ot isa ka libo,” Abdul said.
That they managed to have a “grand” celebration in the past years is not lost on her.
“Sang ligad tuig bongga gid ya. Maayo gid kay naka-cake kami, naka-manok pa,” she said. “Pero ambot subong kon ano ni mahanda namon kay wala daan benta.”
Abdul has been posted at the capitol grounds since the “opening of lights” on Nov. 29.
“Ang importante subong pag-abot sa Dec. 25, ululupod kami sang mga bata ko kag ka-apohan ko celebrate Christmas,” she said.
“Biskan wala kami handa, nalipay na’ko nga upod ko sila tanan. Sila naman lang gahatag sa akon kalipay kay patay naman ang bana ko.”
Roque Tan, on the other hand, expects a joyous Christmas celebration with family this year.
“Basi sa kita ko subong sa pagbaligya ko … nasiguro ko nga bugana gid ni amon Christmas,” the 30-year-old buko juice and balut vendor told Panay News.
“So far maayo man pagbaligya ko … halin daan sa Fort San Pedro kag diri sa capitol,” said Tan, who lives in Barangay Compania, Molo, Iloilo City.
He starts selling at 4 p.m. in Fort San Pedro and stays there until 6 p.m., and then heads to the capitol grounds and continues with his trade until 10 p.m.
“Halin sang pag-opening (of lights) nagapwesto na ako di sa capitol. Ga-kita ko P1,000 to P3,000 kon gab-i,” he added.
This Christmas he will prepare food for his wife and 2-year-old child and give them gifts.
“Ululupod kami ka pamilya ko. Galuto kami handa kag ga-exchange gifts kami. Amo ni ang pag-celebrate namon ka Christmas,” Tan said.
But business is business – on Christmas Eve Tan will keep selling buko juice and balut to mass goers but will make sure to be home before midnight.
“Ang importante is ulupadanay kami tanan sa pag-celebrate ka Christmas.”/PN