CEBU CITY, Philippines – The pandemic has changed every aspect of a modern human’s life, and it did not spare the scenes along Cebu’s major thoroughfares.
Gone were the days when commuters would flock to a nearby jeepney stop to wait for the ride that will take them either to their workplaces or houses.
But along N. Bacalso Avenue in Barangay Lawaan, Talisay City, just a few meters away from the boundary of its neighboring town Minglanilla, one can still spot a multicab mini pick-up parked along the highway loaded with fruits.
This vehicle has been there for almost four years, selling fruits to residents in Barangays Lawaan and Linao, both dominated by suburban communities.
Since quarantine protocols were imposed, Jimdandy Bercero and his live-in partner, Yen, have been manning this makeshift fruit stand.
Jimdandy, 22, and a resident from Barangay Vito, Minglanilla, recently lost his job as a construction worker and errand boy for a project developer based in Minglanilla.
But Yen’s uncle, who owns the multicab, decided to take them in and employ them to continue selling fruits at their usual spot.
As of July, Jimdandy has been a full-time fruit vendor for almost three months.
“Ang karaan nga tigtinda ari, naabtan man ug lockdown paguli niya sa Negros (Oriental). Mao to nga kami lang sa,” he said.
(Those who used to sell here got stuck due to the lockdown when they went home to Negros Oriental. That’s why it’s us selling now.)
Jimdandy said as early as 7 a.m., they would be on their spot, selling fruits to anyone passing by or to their loyal customers who live nearby.
“Usually, alas 6 manghipos nami para muuli. Pero kung mingaw gani, manguli mi ug sayo-sayo,” he added.
While he is not fond of fruits, his new job as a fruit vendor made him learn more about them in order to be able to market his products better, especially since he has competition.
“”Di kaayo ko hilig ug prutas man gyud. Saging ra man akong kaonon… Usahay naay muplastar dinhe maninda o musuroy para mamaligya. Pero among mga suki ari man gyud sila namo, labi na katong mga magsakyanan ug palit, ug dinaghan,” said Jimdandy with a light laugh.
(I’m really not fond of fruits. Bananas are the only fruits I eat..Sometimes, another fruit vendor sells here too. But our loyal customers really come to us, especially those who have cars and buy in bulk.)
The pandemic also left Jimdandy a little bit uncertain about how he imagines his future. But the little things and blessings he receives every now and then motivate him to get up and start a new day.
“Usahay, wa ko kabalo aha mi padung inig human ani pero amo gyud di ikalimot nga magpasalamat lang gyud bisag sa mga ginagmayng butang,” said Jimdandy.
(Sometimes, we don’t know where we’ll go after this but what we always keep in mind is to always be thankful even for the little things.) /bmjo