DAVAO CITY, Philippines – San Pedro Street used to be the stage of the city’s grand celebration of Kadayawan, as locals and tourists, friends and families flock to witness the Indak-indak sa Kadayawan dance competition and Pamulak sa Kadalanan floral parade, and line up later for street foods and fruits.
But with the pandemic, as all events of Kadayawan this year shifted to online, the streets are quiet with no colorful buntings filling up the streets and loud music blaring to signal celebration.
Instead, the street is filled only with vendors who used to earn a lot in the Kadayawan but now see difficult times.
Naldo is one of the many regular vendors in the street, where once his character balloons sell enough for children who play around in Rizal Park on weekdays or attend mass at the San Pedro Cathedral on Sundays.
Because children are no longer allowed to go out in the pandemic, and the restrictions of people, Naldo shifted from selling balloons to face masks and face shields for passersby and communters in San Pedro Street.
“Usually during Kadayawan, I earn a lot but right now it takes two days to recover my investment and earn enough in these items,” Naldo said.
On Kadayawan’s two big events, the Indak-Indak and Pamulak, Rey can earn around P5,000 from selling bottled water, an essential for tourists and locals viewing the events.
But without these public events, Rey said sales have been different.
“Right now, in this same post, I only earn around P500 a day. Sometimes it’s less than P500, people are afraid of COVID,” Rey told Davao Today.
Durian is a big sale during Kadayawan season, but one of its vendors, Dexter, said even the pandemic has changed his income.
Durian and other fruits such as rambutan and lanzones usually peak during August with vendors buying them by baskets for the public. But with no public to sell these fruits, vendors have to reduce the volume of their fruits.
“It’s not the same last year ma’am. This time I choose to sell little by little because I’m afraid my fruits will only rot and that means I lose income,” said Dexter.
Vendors of locally created accessories and souvenirs also find their sales dwindling without the events.
“Usually this time we have customers left and right especially during concerts or parades but because we don’t have Kadayawan I’m lucky enough to have at least ten costumers a day. Just enough to buy rice,” said JM, one of the vendors of crafts and souvenir items.
City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) head Generose Tecson said the city generated P6.15 billion during last year’s Kadayawan which more than 200,000 visitors.
This year, however, Kadayawan and the streets have turned quiet, and vendors that hoped to earn much in this event have been burdened with such quiet times. (davaotoday.com)