Vendors get a financial boost from the faithful at Quiapo Church
It’s business as usual for vendors around Quiapo Church in Manila even during the Holy Week.
For 32-year old Apple Fernandez, a single mom, business has to go on to make ends meet, especially for her eight-year old daughter who is currently studying in elementary school.
“Single mom ako. Kailangan ko kumayod,” Fernandez told INQUIRER.net in an interview. “May anak ako. Eight years old pa lang siya, Grade 2.”
Fernandez manages a stall just beside Quiapo Church, where she sells pamphlets, rosaries, bracelets and miniature figures of religious icons such as the Black Nazarene.
When she’s not in Quiapo, Fernandez leaves her stall and sells sampaguita at Baclaran Church in Parañaque.
“Gusto ko para sa anak ko, hindi niya maranasan yung nararanasan ko. Gusto ko makapagtapos siya ng pag-aaral,” Fernandez said.
“Nung nagtinda ako ng palaspas, sinama ko siya, minulat ko sa kanya na huwag siya magtitinda, mag-aral siya. Naranasan ko yun dose anyos nagtitinda na ako sa Quiapo,” she said.
During the Lenten season, pamphlets of the Way of the Cross and the Pabása ng Pasyón are best-sellers among Catholics who practice Visita Iglesia, according to Fernandez.
Visita Iglesia is a tradition in the Philippines in which devotees visit seven churches, usually on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, where they recite the Way of the Cross, which recalls the journey of Jesus Christ from his condemnation to his death.
“Ang pinakamabenta, itong Way of the Cross. Ito ‘yung babasahin ng mga nagbi-Visita Iglesia. Mabenta rin itong Pasyon ng mga namamanata, para sa mga pabasa,” Fernandez said.
“Ngayon, medyo matumal pa. Wala pa masyado bumibili. Baka magkakabenta pa kami nang mga Huwebes Santo (Maundy Thursday), Biyernes Santo (Good Friday) hanggang Linggo ng Pagkabuhay (Easter Sunday),” she said.
However, fellow vendors see the Lenten season as slow for business compared to other religious observances at Quiapo Church, such as the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
“Medyo matumal. ‘Di tulad nung mga pyesta na talagang dinadayo [ng mga tao mula sa] iba’t ibang lugar. Itong [mga tao dito], nagdedebosyon lang, [bumibisita lang] ng mga Simbahan. Hindi masyado mabili ang Mahal na Araw dito,” said 32-year old Jennifer Ramos, who manages a stall near the church entrance.
“Mas mabenta pa rin kapag Pista ng Nazareno kasi mas maraming tao,” said 34-year old Ilyn Abariento.
Still, Fernandez is thankful for the meager income she makes, saying that it will still help her child.
“Kahit papaano, nakaraos naman. Importante dito makabenta, makaraos naman, kaysa naman maghahangad ka ng malaki,” Fernandez said. “Nagpapasalamat pa rin ako kasi kahit paaano may diskarte pa rin ako.” /atm