by Kassel Clarisse Kraft and Jyra Canlas[FEATURE] “Ngiti, tsaka sa itaas. Diba? Yan ang una sa lahat,” Rosalina Juinio, a flower vendor, responded when she was asked about how she deals with the competitive market in the flower industry during the month of February. She optimistically expressed her view on the competition through saying “Kahit na sinasabi ng iba na doon daw sa loob ay marami ng nagtitinda at bago pa kami= mabilihan, hindi ako nawawalan ng pag-asa. Gandang babae lang talaga, swertihan lang yan.” She believes that the combination of her faith and genuine smile has been a working strategy for it has kept her strong in the trade for years.
Ever since, February has always been a busy month for the people of the Los Baños community. Apart from the annual February fair being held in the campus of UPLB, the Feast day of Saint Valentine is also one of the most awaited events of the month. It is a time when chocolates, flowers, stuffed toys, and all the possible romantic goods are on demand. As a result, several vendors are taking the opportunity to earn a living and begin swarming the streets of Los Baños. Indeed, February is not only a month for lovers, but also a month for occasional business operators.
Of all the vendors along the Grove area, one warm personality caught our attention. It’s Nanay Rosy, a street flower vendor. Nanay Rosy is not new to the February atmosphere in Los Baños. She is one of the many people trying their luck on the industry during the season of love. Consistently selling flowers for many years, Nanay Rosy already considers herself a veteran. She knows the best time when people are mostly buying flowers, and she knows what are the best flowers to sell to them.
In Bloom for the Love Month
Nanay Rosy is from Mayondon. Her small flower shop is located near Jollibee Grove. Despite the close proximity of her home from her business location, she still chose to stay and spend the night there; considering the fact that her store is just a measly structured tolda, which is not a suitable place to sleep.
At the age of 60, nanay Rosy, still continues selling flowers for a living. However, she only sells flowers occasionally and works as a laundress on other days. Despite her age and the tough market competition, nanay Rosy is persistent in going to Dangwa, Manila to buy the flowers that she sells; not only during Valentine’s day, but also during All Souls’ day and the Christmas season.
The Blooming Business
Even if Nanay Rosy operates a small and occasional business, the workload needed to be done to operate one is still hard in general. There are many things to take into consideration, like for starters: the capital, permits, supplies, and a lot more.
According to her, the needed starting capital is 10,000 pesos; and, putting up money for it from her laundry job alone is not enough. Fortunately, the operations of her business was made possible with the support coming from the local government of Los Baños that offers loans for small-time businesses.
She sells flowers of various kinds. The price ranges from 80 to 100 pesos, but if bought in bulk, discounts are given. When asked who are her common customers, she answered, “Madalas grade 7 at grade 8, meron ding Senior High, tas mayayaman na college.”
Even though she resides in Los Baños, she remains persistent in selling in different places, such as Tanauan, Batangas, to entertain a wider range of customers. However, she considers that her business there performs poorly, compared to other sellers. She said that this is probably caused by the fact that she is considered as a “dayo.”
The Continuous Bloom of Rosy
Nanay Rosy has four children. Three of them already have families,while the youngest is still in elementary school. The eldest son is a tricycle driver, the second child does landscaping jobs, and the third makes peanut butter for a living.
As much as she wants to spend Valentine’s day with her loved ones, she has to be practical and prioritize their sustenance. Indeed, life is not always filled with “roses” and butterflies; and, it is up to the person to make a way out of the vicious cycle of poverty.