Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Story behind Adidas (on stick)

Here’s a great deal for bargain hunters: a pair of Adidas for only six pesos.  They come on a stick and vinegar.

Adidas or chicken feet is just one of the many street food that we see everyday in just about any crowded place or busy street in the metropolis.  Other delicacies on the menu are helmet (chicken’s head), betamax (boiled coagulated pig’s blood), gulong (pig intestines), barbeque and the very popular isaw (chicken intestines).

Leticia Llamado or Ka Letty of San Miguel, Pasig City is just one of those people who earn a living through selling street food in their makeshift carts.  According to the National Statistics Office (NSO), self-employed workers like Ka Letty represent more than a third of the 36.137 million people employed in the country as of May 2014.

Selling isaw has been the main source of income of Ka Letty and her family for more than a decade. Her husband Edwin passed away a few years ago. She now lives with her son Edgar who is now working in a factory while her daughter Carla goes to college.  Most of the time, people can see the whole family working together in their small business especially during weekends.  Edgar would set up the charcoal grill while so Carla prepare the sauce and vinegar for the street chow.

This 58-year old Bicolana confessed that they started their mini store with a capital of PhP 500 only.  Up to now, she still can’t believe how such small amount has managed to provide their daily needs for years.  That’s why she has committed to maintain and improve their livelihood.  As early as 4:30 a.m., she is already in the market to make sure that the chicken and meat she will get are fresh.  She also sells hotdogs and inihaw na bangus (milkfish) from time to time to add new entries in her menu.  From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, she is a regular fixture along the stretch of Lupang Pari st.  The only time you’ll see Ka Letty’s spot empty is when it rains.

Another thing that affects their business is when there is a misunderstanding between family members.  What Ka Letty would do is to remind her family how important their store is.  She would explain that it is their bread and butter and a day of not selling isaw means loosing at least Php 300 of income.  Good thing, her words are enough to heal wounds and just in time before sunset and their first customer come.

When asked how she sees herself ten years from now, Ka Letty took a deep breath and said that she don’t mind if she still sells isaw by that time.  For her, the future of her two kids is more important.  Carla is doing well in school while Edgar is considering a job offer abroad.

She believes that her children have learned a thing or two in their small business that they can apply once they work in bigger companies with more employees in a few years from now.  She instills to their young minds the importance of passion, dedication and focus to whatever they do. 

Sure, the Llamado family would merely put meat and chicken intestines on sticks day after day.  But watching them do their thing in camaraderie would somewhat mirror a company where the management and its employees work hand-in-hand to achieved business success.

The next time we eat adidas, it might be tastier than before.  For we know now that in every stick, hard work to achieve a dream is on its tip.

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