25 or less

Sun.Star Cebu - - LIVE! - OBER KHOK ober.khok@yahoo.com

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?


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