Flower vendors hoping to make brisk sales during ‘Kalag-kalag’

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 29 Oct) – Vendors along Lt. Guillermo St. near the Cogon public market here are expecting brisk sales in the coming days as families buy flowers to decorate the graves of departed relatives during the weekend, when Catholics observe All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, a two-day celebration collectively called locally as “Kalag-kalag.”

“Come back tomorrow. The flowers will arrive from all over Mindanao and all of them are very beautiful to see,” flower vendor Marilyn Buay said Tuesday.

Buay said they are expecting a huge shipment of Malaysian Mums from General Santos City Wednesday. She said other flower shipments from Cotabato, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Lanao del Norte will also start arriving today.

“The flowers will be delivered by container vans, trucks and jeeps. Expect this street will be filled with vendors selling flowers tomorrow afternoon,” Buay added.

Another flower vendor, Herminia Sarita, said vendors like her are expecting a three-day fiesta selling flowers for the dead starting on Thursday until Saturday, a day before All Souls’ Day.

“This is our most awaited part of the year. This is the time we can make big profits,” Sarita said.

Lt. Guillermo St. near Cogon public market is Cagayan de Oro’s little flower district. Everyday vendors like Sarita and Buay sell flowers to the adventurous buyers who come here to buy at cheaper prices, as compared to buyers who prefer the upscale flower shops.

Sarita, who did not return to her work in Singapore preferring to sell flowers, has a small stall in front of a department store in Lt. Guillermo St.

She said she is selling the colorful Malaysian Mums – grown from Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon – for P160 a bundle of 10 pieces. Her Anthurium flowers that are also grown in Dahilayan sell between P100 to P150 a dozen.

“Expect these prices to go up during the three-day fiesta as buyers start to come here,” Sarita said.

A little farther away, Buay sells red roses grown from Claveria, Misamis Oriental; red torts and orange Gladiola flowers.

Buay said she expects the prices to go up by as much as 30 percent even if suppliers try to fill the demand.

“We cannot just raise our prices because we know there is an ongoing economic crisis. Buyers are stingy of the prices,” she said.

Buay said they felt the economic slowdown after Tropical Sendong struck Cagayan de Oro December 2011.

“After Sendong we knew we are in a crisis when people became picky of the prices. The situation has not recovered since,” Buay said.