Freeman Cebu Business

Small-scale vendors enjoy Sinulog boost

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - People are crowding the city streets, stores are playing loud music and bad traffic is hampering motorists – all happening for the Fiesta Señor. Not to mention the cart and stall vendors lining up the sidewalks who strive to market their products.

But more than a festival and a religious celebration, it also gives an economic boost to many small vendors in the city. The FREEMAN yesterday made a series of visits to vendors in the city’s downtown area.

Street vendors and store owners near the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu said the flock of devotees drives up their sales.

They claim it’s their chance to earn more than their usual profit at times when there are no festivities.

Nenita Flores, 49-year-old delicacy trader, says sales during Sinulog are very much different compared to ordinary days. The trader shares her daily income can reach as high as P10, 000 this week.

“Buyers continue to come here since the nine-day novena mass for the Feast of Sto. Niño started last week,” Flores said in Cebuano. She has been selling near the Basilica for more than 20 years already.

Balloon seller Orlando Telepte, 44, hopes to attract more children even if the police ordered them to situate in area quite far from the Church’s entrance to avoid distraction. The police told them to stay away near the Church's entrance and exit points due to the crowd of devotees.

“Hinaot unta nga tabangan mi ni Señor Sto. Niño nga makahalin mig sakto,” says Telepte who sells balloon from P45-P65. He also travels to provinces in Bohol and Negros Oriental to trade in feasts.

Candle vendor Moning Gilig, 76, says many devotees buy her colored candles at P10 each. The woman offers Sinug prayer dance for the Holy Child Jesus to her buyers.

Vendors of Niño statues and velvet clothes likewise expect more devotees to avail repair works for their Niño icons. Hayde Amora, president of Sto. Niño Sidewalk Vendors Association, shares they have always considered January as a lucky month for small traders like him.

Cañal Eatery near the Basilica also observes heavy foot traffic every after mass as churchgoers search for cheaper canteens nearby.

“Nagpasalamat gyud mi kay maayo among puwesto unya ubay-ubay gyud among customers,” says 26-year-old Cyntia Cañal, the owner’s daughter. She notes their eatery has earned as much as P50, 000 daily, days before the Sinulog grand parade on Jan. 18.


But for 52-year-old Perla Vidas, another trader, said sales are not that good because vendors at the Night Market in Colon Street in the city’s downtown area are also competing with them. She is one of the around 65 stall owners in Sinulog street fair on the sidewalk along Osmeña Boulevard.

“Kasagaran manganhi mga pamilya, estudyante ug mga empleyado,” the woman says, hoping the fair will bring in more local and foreign visitors to buy their products. Her goods include delicacies, accessories, wooden products and native items.

Sinulog t-shirts are also very in-demand among revelers, giving a boost to sales of shirt traders.

“Devotee mi ni Sto. Niño mao nga naa pud mi dinhi para manginabuhi,” stall owner Lormide Rodriguez, 32, who comes from Camiguin province. Shirts with Sinulog designs are sold from P140-P180.

Small entrepreneurs from different provinces in the country are also trading in Sinulog trade fair at SM City Cebu from Jan. 8 through Jan. 18.

Department of Trade and Industry Cebu provincial director Nelia Navarro earlier said it is important to show the creativity, innovation and new products of small local entrepreneurs during big events like Sinulog. The festival allows local vendors reach to more customers, she noted. (FREEMAN)










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