By: MART D. SAMBALUD
TAGUM CITY – Vendors expecting to earn much with the flock of people coming to the city’s main fiesta, the Christ the King celebration last Sunday, only went home with meager sales, indicating tough times for the city.
Dubbed as the grandest fiesta of Tagum, the Christ the King Fiesta is celebrated every last Sunday of the liturgical year, with devotees flocking to churches for mass.
Fiesta organizers in the city prepared for the occasion with vibrant colorful fiesta buntings placed over thoroughfares and establishments to drum up the festive mood and spur churchgoers and tourists to spend.
But this didn’t come as what they expected.
Ambulant vendors near Christ the Eucharistic King Church at Rizal Street in Tagum City said their sales plummeted drastically compared to the past years.
Asuncion Bagnio, 50, from Banahaw, Mati City said she only earned P 200 from religious statues, candles, amulets and incense, which she said is her lowest earnings compared to previous years where she could earn as much as P5,00o a day.
“Hinay ang halin karon compared sa mga naaging tuig. Tung-una puno kaayo og tao ang compound sa simbahan kay daghan man manimbahay. Karon kay mingaw kaayo tungod tingali sa kapit-os sa panahon dala sa kalamidad sa atong gobyerno ug kinaiyahan, (Sales are slow compared to the past years. There used to be many people flocking to the church compound to attend mass. But now, it’s quietmaybe it’s the hard times due to the calamities brought by the government and nature),” Bagnio said.
“It was awkward to celebrate the fiesta because of ‘bountiful and abundant blessings’ while other poor vendors have none unless God will rain down manna from heaven,” Bagnio added.
Bai Nabisah Hassan, 43, a vendor from Laureto Homes in Barangay San Miguel, Tagum City was also worried how she would provide for the school needs of her six children as she only earned P90 from her flowers, candles and Christmas lanterns.
Hassan said that in her 35 years as a vendor, this was her toughest day, having to go from one church to another just to find buyers and meet her quota of P 3,000 a day.
“Gapaningkamot gyud ko na mahurot ako baligya bisag tipid ang mga tao karon sa ilahang kwarta tungod sa mga panghitabo sa palibot. Doble paningkamot sir bisag kapoy para lang gyud naa ko ipakaon sa akong pamilya, (I tried hard to sell out everything, even if people are saving money now. I made double effort even if is tiresome, just so I can bring food to my family), ” she explained.
Local tourists interviewed by Davao Today said they were hesitant to spend much money and decided to spend wisely.
Ashley Kabuy, 20, from Malita, Davao del Sur visited a family friend here and said he just toured around malls rather than in carnivals as it is free.
“Nagpait gyud ang mga tao karon ug ako gani naga bagtas lang para tipid sa kwarta ug ang akong ginasuruyan ra pud ka yang mga malls kay walay entrance fee ug libre pa makakita ug artista . Sayang man pud na mugastos ug kwarta sa walay hinungdan na butang, (Times are hard and I even walked around here to save money, and I just go to malls because there is no entrance fee, and I get to see celebrities. It’s hard to spend money on things you don’t need),” Kabuy said.
Dominador Agustin, 50, rented a small elf truck to bring the members of his family from Kapalong, Davao del Norte to observe the downtown celebration. He said rather than buying foods, they already packed their lunch.
“Gastos naman gud kayo if sa mga restawran kami mangaon mao nag prepare nalang ug packed-lunch para tipid. Dako nagud kayo ko gasto, renta palang daan sa sakyanan mahal na. Ang akoa lang na ma enjoy ang mga bata ug suroy sa mall, tan-aw sa carnival para malingaw ra gud ilang mata (It’s costly to eat at restaurants, so we prepared packed-lunch to save. Renting this truck is also costly. I just wanted my kids to enjoy and go to malls and look at the carnival),” said Agustin, who works at a banana plantation in his town.
Even with plenty of fiesta-goers on Sunday, traffic was manageable with more traffic officials deployed on intersections. The Tagum City Integrated Bus Terminal also added bus units from key points in Davao and Butuan cities to accommodate more tourists and fiesta-revelers. (Mart D. Sambalud/davaotoday.com)Christ the King Fiesta, tagum city