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Cassava cake vendor in Davao City: ‘Teach your kids independence’

He has been selling “kakanin” (snack food), particularly mini-cakes made from shaved cassavas, for over 10 years now. “Balhin-balhin ra ug puwesto (I just change locations to sell),” he said, “pero kani ra jud akong ginabaligya (but my product remained the same).”

No, he does not earn a lot; “sakto ra aron ikabuhi (just enough to survive),” he said in between forming with his bare hands the round cakes, stuffing them in a mobile oven, and then – while waiting for them to cook serving with the already-cooked ones those who buy his cakes.

When asked if it’s a hard way to make a living, he smiled wanly. “Lisod usahay (It’s hard at times),” he said, “kay naay adlaw muuli ka nga wala kay gikita (because there are times you head home without selling anything).” But he added: “Tanan man tingaling panginabuhi, lisod (Perhaps all occupations to make a living is hard).”

He now sells his goods in front of San Pedro College, where he said he once hoped he’d have been able to send his kids to get schooled. “Damgo ra (Just a dream),” he said. “Kasabot man sila nga dili tanan mahatag nato (They understand I can’t give them everything).”

But if there’s one thing he can give his kids (all of them he said he was able to send to school with what he earned from selling cassava cakes), it’s the lesson to be independent. “Kining tanan, ako-a ni. Wala koy amo. Naglisod kog bayad aron mahimong ako tanan (Everything I use for my business, they’re all mine. I don’t work for anyone. I worked hard to be able to pay for these),” he said. His initial investment reached over P10,000, which he said is not a small amount for someone like him.

But “kana akong ma-tudlo sa ilaha. Magtuon nga mabuhi bisan usa ra ka (That’s what I can teach them. To learn to be able to survive all by yourself),” he ended.

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