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Lanterns for a living

LOOK: Homeless man in Makati supports self by selling lanterns made of scrap

/ 07:25 PM October 07, 2019
Lanterns for a living: Homeless man supports himself by selling lanterns made of scrap

Edwin Fernandez is a 48-year-old homeless lantern maker in La Paz, Makati City. Everyday, he roams the city to look for junk shops, and collects rejected plastic bottles which he can use for the lanterns. INQUIRER.net/Ed Lustan

As the yuletide season approaches, Christmas decorations have started to show up again in houses and streets, and majority of people find a way to make extra earnings to prepare for the holidays.

For Edwin Fernandez, preparing for the coming holiday season does not necessarily have to be so upscale, especially as it helps him make ends meet.

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Fernandez is a 48-year-old homeless lantern-maker in La Paz, Makati City. Everyday, he roams the city to look for junk shops, and collects rejected plastic bottles which he can use for his lanterns.

Lanterns for a living: Homeless man supports himself by selling lanterns made of scrap

Finished lantern products of Edwin Fernandez. INQUIRER.net/Ves Garcia

Aside from plastic bottles, he recycles other materials such as bottle caps, plastic straws and soft aluminum wire to create his works. Fernandez also uses colorful garlands to add to the design of his products.

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His lanterns are priced between P35 to P100 each, depending on their designs and sizes. It usually takes him 20 to 30 minutes to finish one.

“Nagsimula akong gumawa noong 2016. Mag-isa lang ako, homeless. Walang asawa, wala akong anak, magulang, mga kapatid,” Fernandez told INQUIRER.net in an interview. 

(I started making lanterns in 2016. I am alone and homeless. I am not married and I have no children, parents and siblings.)

“Kapag kumikita ako ng sapat, nagpapalaba na lang ako nung ilang damit ko, pero pag walang benta, walang palitan [ng damit] nang isang linggo,” he added.

Lanterns for a living: Homeless man supports himself by selling lanterns made of scrap

Edwin Fernandez is a 48-year-old homeless lantern maker in La Paz, Makati City. Everyday, he roams the city to look for junk shops, and collects rejected plastic bottles which he can use for the lanterns. INQUIRER.net/Ed Lustan

(Whenever I earn enough, I spend it for the laundry of my few clothes. But without sales, I cannot change clothes for the whole week.)

Last year, he was able to craft over 300 lanterns which helped him earn enough money to support himself.

Fernandez learned his lantern-making trade from a former inmate of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa a few years ago. Later, Fernandez decided to make some lanterns himself to earn a living. JB

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TAGS: Christmas, decorations, Holiday, Homeless, inspirational, Lanterns, Pasko, recycling
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