Friday, November 6, 2015

Filipino Vendors: Filling the Gap

In a country plagued by ironies -- multi-colored, hardworking, talented, yet long-suffering -- Filipinos sustain themselves by becoming self-styled innovators, in the real sense of the word. In a battlefield where necessity reigns as the mother of invention, they are quick to pick the smithereens up, build their own shelter out of which with a twist, reap some progress through difficult times, and eventually succeed. They are madiskarte (proactive) in their lives, as they can fit in every possible hole, get out of a maze in one piece, just amazingly resilient in the face of adversity.

As innovators, Filipinos have a peculiar means to survive. They invented the jeepney to make up for the shortage or absence of buses, or to provide for a faster yet cheaper fare going to and fro their work, pimping World War II American jeeps; they invented festivals to mirror Filipinos’ bright and light-hearted disposition despite all the odds, negativities, and yearly calamities, to afford a smile once and for all; and most importantly, they invented jobs non-existent in the West, to cling to dear life and to fill the gaps of convenience the society so needs.

Here the focus is on the Filipino who takes his job to the street or wet market. The Filipino is a vendor, a tradesman -- a modern hero in a society that is accustomed to life is hard as a biting reality. Inconvenience is a nightmare ignored by the government, and the Filipino vendor rises to the challenge. The Filipino vendor sees the opportunity and seizes it.

Whenever you need something to eat one hungry afternoon, the Filipino peddling some peanuts, tempura, fish balls, or siomai (pork dumpling) with puso (hanging rice) is just across the street to help fill your gut; or some balut (duck embryo) whenever a nightly appetite gravely tickles your bones. Whenever you can’t afford a well-designed tattoo for on your deltoid, the Filipino sells his dirt cheap, yet top caliber, service along the street. Whenever you need to go to your friend’s home situated far from the highway, the Filipino can take you on a tricycle ride safely to your destination. Whenever branded clothes are too expensive for you, the Filipino at ukay-ukay (thrift shop) is the known connoisseur and provider.

The Filipino vendor knows how to sell his goods and services for him to survive, and to be a convenience to the society.


  1. A reminder that we are still a third world country. I worry that most priorities are noon time shows and selfies. I pray.

    1. Exactly. Those are a reflection of a culture of mediocrity. Let's all pray and work, in our own small ways, for a better Philippines.