25 or less
Ierroneously thought that the P25 wage increase would trickle down to the Visayas and Mindanao regions of the Philippines. “No, it’s only for Luzon,” my niece Krystalle said. “Or maybe till further notice?” said Ellen, my other niece.
Uncle Gustave sat down with the rest of us in the kitchen where I was preparing this week’s column. I like working here. I can see the backyard where my Aunt Tita Blitte’s vegetable garden grows so well.
The alugbati (native spinach) is wildly climbing over the trellis she built. Her bitter gourds, umbrella peppers, bird’s eye peppers, tomatoes, bottle gourds, string beans and squashes are bearing fruits. Her sunflowers have bloomed. We recently helped her harvest and dry the black seeds. We plan to pan roast it. Ellen wants to make paprika sunflower seeds while cousin Dona wants garlic-salt seeds. Krystalle wants to stick to plain sunflower seeds.
“Do you plan to sell the seeds as snacks? I can help with the packaging design,” Dona’s son Polonggoy said. Whatever comes out of this, I’m all eager to try the homemade snack. It will not cost us P25 to make the snack. We have the ingredients on hand. We don’t have to buy anything. As for the labor, well, we’re cheap. We pay our workers—Ellen, Krystalle and Dona— with sunflower seeds. And the tastetesters—Uncle Gustave, me and Tita Blitte—don’t get paid. We just eat.
Back to the main topic, I watched dzBB Super Radyo on Channel 27 last Nov. 6, and I learned many workers in Manila protested P25 as too small an increase. So the program hosts conducted an on-the-spot survey on what P25 can buy and whether the increase was acceptable.
Phone callers were 100 percent in agreement that the increase was better than nothing and that it could buy them some things.
In the spirit of positivity, my family listed down the cost of things like cell phone load, jeepney fare and goods sold in sari-sari (variety) stores, food stalls and kitchenettes.
Cell phone load (P10 plus P2 loading charge), one half cup boiled rice (P5), meatball or fried lumpia (P5), sauteed uyap (salted shrimp, P5), boiled banana (P5), pork sausage (P5), one-half kilo rice (P25), cooking oil (P5), small pouch of salt (P5), jeepney fare (P7), large apple or pear (P25), veggie soup or sauteed veggies or noodle soup (P5), fresh banana (P8), “stick” coffee (P3), three-in-one coffee (P7), twin pack three-in-one coffee (P12), ginamay or pork stew (P20 to P25), toothpaste sachet (P8), guest soap (P12 to P18), shampoo sachet (P6), canned sardines (P19), and the list goes on. Can you add to the list?
One caller said he would just eat twice a day so his children could have school allowance. Do you think it is just a matter of budgeting to surmount the rising cost of everything?