At the Palaro, souvenir vendors share their stories

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TAGUM CITY (MindaNews/07 May) — Keychain maker Pio Baturiano hammers a letter punch on to a keychain made of leather to form the word: Palarong Pambansa 2015.

Pio Baturiano from Manila punches letters on a keychain souvenir in his shop on Wednesday (May 6) at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City during the Palarong Pambansa 2015. Mindanews Photo by Keith Bacongco
Pio Baturiano from Manila punches letters on a keychain souvenir in his shop on Wednesday (May 6) at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City during the Palarong Pambansa 2015. Mindanews Photo by Keith Bacongco

For 20 years, Baturiano and his family have been a ubiquitous presence during trade fairs around the country and during the national games.

The 55-year old Baturiano traveled by bus all the way from Manila with his three children to sell handcrafted keychains at the Palarong Pambansa at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex here

For only P10 each, you can also request him, at no extra cost, to punch a name on the back of the keychain.

Baturiano said they arrived here on May 2 on board a bus along with other souvenir vendors from Cubao in Quezon City.

The Palarong Pambansa started on May 3 and will end on May 9.

In big sporting events and festivals, souvenir shops have always been part of the attraction for delegates and spectators.

Like Baturiano, souvenir vendor Angel Gayado also traveled by bus from Baguio to Cubao and then to this city.

Gayadao, who has been joining Palarong Pambansa trade fairs since 2011, sells handcrafted keychains made from sliced pinewood, a very popular souvenir from Baguio City.

“We were like Spiderman in the bus, we could not pass the aisle if we want to get off the bus because it was filled with our cargo. We had to get in or out of the bus through its windows,” Gayado recalled.

From Cubao to Tagum

Both spent P2,248 each for fare for a non-aircon bus from Cubao to this city.

Baturiano said they are earning from selling the keychains. “Just enough but we can’t avoid leftovers.”

He said they usuall recycle the leftovers – those already marked with the dates of the national games.

“We just erase the name of the event or dates using electric grinders so we can mark them again and resell, “ his daughter Cathy told MindaNews.
Gayadao said it’s easier to recycle because he can just easily erase the paint using thinner.

He also offers a free service to mark the keychain with names or whatever is the request of the customer.

Aside from keychains, Gayadao also sells handwoven bags, bonnets and other wooden home decors.

At the end of the national games, Baturiano said they will return to their stall in Manila’s Divisoria to sell keychains and other leather products.

Gayadao will head back to his shop in Baguio City.

Gigi Cortez traveled for 15 hours by bus from Zamboanga City with about 300 kilos of products, among them the famous Batik, Pashmina scarves and Yakan cloth.

Cortez said delegates and spectators are buying a lot of scarves.

Expensive rent

The trade fair, which is located behind the grandstand of the sports complex, showcases different souvenir items from different parts of the country.

Aside from souvenir items, some vendors also sell food products and sports gear.

For shirt vendor Maryjane Fernandez of Cebu City, the stall rental is quite expensive compared to previous venues of the Palarong Pambansa.

Fernandez said they are paying P10,800 for the duration of the Palaro, for a space of about 10×10 feet while they only paid P8,000 for the same space in the previous national games in Laguna.

However, some stalls that are far from the main gate costs only P7,000. “We also have another stall far from the gate, it’s cheaper but only few are going there.”

She also noticed that the food shops are combined with the souvenir shops “unlike in previous Palaro where the souvenirs were separated from food items.

In Dumaguete, for instance, food products were at the center while all non-food items were around them,” said Fernandez whose family has been engaged in the business of selling souvenir shirts for about a decade now.

She is selling assorted shirts printed with different designs of “Palarong Pambansa 2015” for P150 to P180 each.

Comfort first

LUCRATIVE BUSINESS. Vendors print numbers on the jersey of Caraga football players on Wednesday, Ma6. These vendors came all the way from Manila to run a shirt prining business in the ongoing Palarong Pambansa in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. Mindanews Photo by Keith Bacongco
LUCRATIVE BUSINESS. Vendors print numbers on the jersey of Caraga football players on Wednesday, Ma6. These vendors came all the way from Manila to run a shirt prining business in the ongoing Palarong Pambansa in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. Mindanews Photo by Keith Bacongco

Fernandez told MindaNews on Wednesday that they not earning so much, adding that they will drop the prices of the shirts on the last day of the games.

Some shirt shops from Manila are offering on the spot shirt printing so customers can select from the available designs.

On Wednesday noon, a group of parents from Caraga region had their children’s football jerseys printed with numbers about three hours before the game.

A parent told Mindanews that the DepEd-issued jersey is too small for the elementary football players, prompting one of the parents to pay for 19 jerseys for P99 each from a local mall and had them printed for P50 each.

“Mas maayo ng mag-dula sila na comfortable sila ba, para ganahan pud sila” (It’s best for them to play wearing comfortable clothes), one of the parents said.

Later in the afernoon, the Caraga Region’s elementary football squad from Agusan del Sur tied with Central Luzon footballers 3-3. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews) =

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