Island Vendors At Work

Sunday Post: Work

Work. A four letter word with so many implications. Some work motivates us to persevere and reach our potentials. Others, we dread to  go from too much pressure and stress. While others seem fun and laid back. This kind of work, we simply take our time, enjoying the day’s colorful and exciting surprise.

Today, I bring you the vibrant life of an Island vendor. A life as sunny and as beautiful as the tropical Island Sun.

Island Vendors At Work

At daybreak, the Island vendors  prepare for the day’s work. Some have fancy stores while others, only require a mat on top of the sandy road and lots of generous smiles.

I asked this woman if I can take her picture. She gladly said, “Yes.” She called her daughter and told her, “Smile.” I forgot what I told her but it made her laugh. In the process, I got a generous and beautiful smile. A smile I often see in all the places that I visited. It was amazing how everyone exudes warmth and joy in the most simple and humble of settings.

Beads made of shells, wood chips, bamboo, clay, crystals, even bones are strung together from a nylon string or a dental floss to make a bracelet, anklet, necklace and more.

The Bead Vendor And Her Story

As I stared at the beads, I remember a “bead story” 10 years ago while still working in the  island. We were taking care of a sick kid who needed some medicines. Her mother didn’t have enough money to buy her prescription. Then I noticed that she was making beads and I asked her, “Do you sell these?” She said “Yes,” and told me that she goes around the beach selling them to the tourist. It helps supplement the income of her husband who was a fisherman. I asked her to make me some. The other hospital staff did the same. We had a great time choosing the pattern and colors of the beads that we wanted. She ended up getting more supplies at a local market. By the time she was done, she was able to buy the medicines her daughter needed. She looked so happy and relieved. It’s been so long since it happened and I could no longer remember her face. But I did remember how it felt when she said, “thank you” to all the staff when she brought home her daughter. It was said in all sincerity, humility and gratitude.

Bags made of native plant fibers like “Banig,” which is also made into sleeping mats, hats and throw pillows are made by hand. Each bag is more than just a bag, it’s a symbol of a dream of every hard-working Filipino hoping to have a better life.

Hats. Lots of hats. A tourist’s weapon against sunburn and premature wrinkles.

There were also fruit vendors everywhere. My favorite was the Philippine Mangoes. They are the sweetest that I’d ever tasted in the world. The best variety comes from Guimaras Island and Leon, both of which are close to my wife’s hometown.

When it comes to life and work, the Island is filled with fascinating visions and stories. Some can make you smile while others can make you shake your head in disbelief. Others will cause you some tears and a few, just utter silence because no words are needed. You simply capture and treasure the moment in your heart. And truly, that’s all you’ll ever need.

Thanks for sharing my Sunday Post for the week called “Work.” Making this post made me realize that there’s more to life than work. Sometimes, it takes an Island vendor and her story to remind us that work is but a tool to make the most out of life.

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About Island Traveler

A father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a traveler, an optimist hoping to create something good & meaningful to every person he shares his world, his home, his dreams, his hope & heart with.
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59 Responses to Island Vendors At Work

  1. eof737 says:

    I love their entrepreneurial spirit and the colorful wares they sell.. brings back memories. 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you. In a way, they are selling more than just wares and stuff. They are selling a dream and a hope which when you really think hard and deep can easily trigger the most profound human emotion. I saw myself or part of me through their words, story, even simply looking at their eyes.

      Like

  2. Cara Olsen says:

    Those mangoes sound delicious! I have only ever eaten them purchased from the grocery store, and I tell you no lie when I say they are dreadfully bitter.

    Oh, I am almost relieved that I stare at a brick wall all day as I write. If this were my view, I might never write a darn thing!

    Best,
    ~ Cara

    Like

    • Thanks Cara. I’ve tasted those grocery mangoes and yes, they taste bitter sweet(Hmmm…kind of like life sometimes!).The Philippine mangoes are high in “happy” sugar. It does make me feel happy everytime I eat the sweet yellow fruit. They have dried ones sold in Sams or Costco. Sweet too but no comparison to a fresh, properly ripened fresh fruit.As for the view on a wall…it usually helps to close you eyes and visualize that one beautiful place you’d been to in the past. Have a wonderful day.

      Like

  3. misswhiplash says:

    Have you ever noticed that people who have so little,and have to work long hours, always have smiling faces and laughing eyes. Yet those with big powerful jobs, plenty of money and big business, are grey, drawn and get old so much quicker.
    There is a lesson to be learned in that . Thank you for the wonderful pictures. I think I will do a swop houses with you!

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    • I agree my friend. Everywhere I go, same scenario. Those with less seems to be happier and more laid back while those that have huge homes and drive blinding cars seemed to be constantly looking for happiness and things to fill up their world. As for the house, one day I hope to live close by the beach. For now, I’m back in Texas. Hiyah! Thanks Patrecia. I wish you and you family all the joy and love.

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    • thequincycollective says:

      It depends on what you base “people who have so little” on. It could mean people who have so little material wealth (which is how its often used – we think about what people “have” in terms of money); or it could also mean people who have so little happiness/quality of life. When you change how you perceive “wealth”, it’s hard to tell who has little and who has more.

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      • I agree. Wealth can mean differently for every person depending on how one defines wealth or what we think defines “richness.” I already know what is my wealth and that’s my family, my true friends and most of all my God who always stood by me. Thanks for sharing a very inspiring comment.

        Like

  4. The Guat says:

    I completely agree with you on life and work. “It takes an Island vendor and her story to remind us that work is but a tool to make the most out of life.” I love it! My dad use to say stuff like that about work all the time. Great post! And as always you have the BEST pictures. I love the storefrong picture and the hat guy. Great takes 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you. The hat guy I would see every morning while heading to the beach. He sells shades too. There’s a lot of vendors everywhere and sells about everything from hats to dreams and adventures.

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  5. Arindam says:

    Bro that smile you have captured was beautiful. Love the simplicity & honesty pf your Island’s people. It’s life is not only about working hard to achieve dreams, but also to share some simplicity, some happiness & some smiles while we are working. I just hope to see this simplicity & beauty of your place with my own eyes one day.
    I like the tag line on the T shirt that man with hats is wearing-“Keep our Island clean.” I just wish and hope that not only your island but it’s people will always remain clean from heart, as they are now. Have a great week Bro. 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks Arindam. I hope so too that despite of everything, poverty, trials and all, the people’s heart will remain clean. There’s always the evil part in every population but I hope the good will shine more and prevail. I wish you all the best my friend…

      Like

  6. auntyuta says:

    ‘ . . . . enjoying the day’s colorful and exciting surprise.’
    You certainly show with your beautiful pictures that there’s color and enjoyment in people’s lives. I love to see happy people! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • I love happy and optimistic people too.We need more of those in the world. There’s always be problems but how we face them makes the difference. Thanks AuntYuta. Have a blessed day.

      Like

  7. aRVee says:

    the place looks very familiar. haha… looks like you brought with you a lot of beautiful memories when you went home… i love the simplicity of their lives and the genuineness of their smiles… Glad you captured the other side of your adventure from this beautiful place, must be Boracay (if I’m not mistaken)

    Like

    • It is my friend. Everytime I go home, I make sure that I stay there for atleast 3 nights. It’s just a few hours from my hometown. I can’t totally describe it but it feels like home everytime. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

      • aRVee says:

        Great to know that… Yeah I love that place, despite the fact that it has now become crowded, I still love that place… Hope I can go back there, soon…

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      • Thanks aRVee. I hope to go back there off season when the Summer crowd is away and on a clear morning, the Island feels like its all mine.

        Like

      • aRVee says:

        yeah, then I remember Bantayan Island or Panglao Island, 2 of the best places to relax and unwind…

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      • Your blessed to have seen alot of the Philippines great beaches. I hope to see even just half of it one day. Thanks Bro…

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      • aRVee says:

        you’re welcome Bro, I agree… but in exchange you are blessed with having to live in a pasture greener than here, lol… Stay blessed and thanks for your constant support, as always 🙂

        Like

  8. restlessjo says:

    Such a joyful piece and a life lesson all in one. I enjoyed this so much.

    Like

    • Thank you. I know that a lot of tourist only focus on the beach, of having fun or to relax but it’s actually wonderful to learn more about the local people and their culture. It makes me appreciate life and all that it has to offer, big or small.

      Like

  9. fgassette says:

    A very enjoyable and colorful display of people at work. Great photos for challenge. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for the pingback.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    Like

  10. The photos are stunning – so colorful and joyful. The words are magnificent and come at a good time. Thank you. You are truly an artist In every sense of the word.

    Like

  11. FeyGirl says:

    A wonderful post, truly showing the lives and stories of these people, with grace and an empathetic eye… So much of it reminds me of my upbringing. Thanks so very much for sharing!

    Like

    • Thank you FeyGirl. I always believe that we should keep the beautiful and happy events of the past, use it to inspires us and forget the hurts, move on, making sure it won’t happen again. I had a lot of wonderful memories in the Philippines with my family and friends that no matter how far I am, the connection will always be there.

      Like

  12. cocomino says:

    I can imagine many stories there. Love the colorful fruits. Have a great day.

    Like

  13. Russ C. says:

    wow. this post makes me proud to be a Filipina :>
    you’re so lucky, sir… i’ve never been to Boracay. Only my parents were able to go there.
    i agree with your concept about work, totally.

    Like

    • I hope one day you get to see it. And whereever we are we should always be proud who we are and where we came from. People ask me why I still want to go back one day. I said, “why not?” I had a lot of happy memories in the Philippines. And when I went home last March, it was a beautiful and unforgettable trip.Money won’t bring us happiness. Perhaps a fleeting enjoyment, even joy but after some time, emptiness creeps in like it never left. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  14. Northern Narratives says:

    I love your story about the beads.

    Like

    • It was one of those stories I will never forget. In a way, it reminds me of the happy, meaningful past. It also reminds me that there’s joy in giving and that people can be genuinely grateful. Thanks for sharing…have a blessed day!

      Like

  15. Patti Kuche says:

    Your wonderful photos are full of colour and variety with extra warmth and feeling coming from your quiet words of other realities outside the frame. Best wishes to you all.

    Like

    • Thanks Patti. I had a lot of wonderful memories in that Island as well as friends I’ll never forget. To me, a beautiful past should always be celebrated as well as inspire us in the present. Have a lovely day.

      Like

  16. Imelda says:

    Beautiful post. 🙂

    Like

  17. I love your bead story.♥

    Like

  18. The Hook says:

    No rest for the wicked, right?
    I usually work Sundays as well – just not in Paradise!

    Like

    • I work every other weekend. Friday to Sunday. And it’s not paradise too but I would like to think that I am helping people. Somebody has to work and take care of the rest on Sundays right? I believe though that this is just temporary. We’ll have our fun Sundays in the future. Thanks.

      Like

  19. Wonderful series of shots and your stories too… I especially like the fellow carrying all the hats.

    Like

  20. eva626 says:

    lovely photos! you never know what you might find at vendors…so many great things in your pictures.

    Like

  21. Your story took me back to when I first started to sell my jewelry on a hippie blanket in Greenwich Village, New York. I, too, made beaded jewelry and later took up silver smithing. http://IsadoraArtJewelry.etsy.com/ I paid for my necessities while I was making my way through college with that money. My husband played his clarinet and we made extra cash. I have been a silversmith for 28 years. One never knows what will happen with something you are doing just to survive. This is s wonderful sory about work. It is heartwarming to hear that many people joined together to support her in her struggle to make money for her daughters needs. A true sign of giving and giving from the heart.
    Lovely …
    Isadora
    P.S. We had Philipine mangoes a few days ago. They were imports on our grocery store shelves. I had never had them but wanted to try them. MMMM …. I thought the ones in Puerto Rico were sweet … nope, they pale in comparison. ~~~~~~~~ : – )

    Like

  22. cuhome says:

    As always, your photography tells such wondrous stories of a land far away from my own. But the people seem to be not so different from all of us! Thanks for the time and effort you make to share your artful skills in expressing life!

    Like

  23. Sunshine says:

    Thank you. I’m treasuring the moment you have shared here … God bless you!

    Like

  24. How completely beautiful. The colors. The mood. I can feel the kindness of strangers in your pictures…

    Like

    • Thank you. I have a lot of events in my life that other people helped me without expecting in return. They inspire me to do the same. There is goodness in this world. We just need to be open our eyes and heart for it.

      Like

  25. There is something magical about these images.

    Like

  26. rommel says:

    You wrote this one oh-so-well. Kudos to you giving them a notice. It is a sad realization that filipinos’ hard work don’t get far than what they deserved. It’s all about fighting and being content. I love the smiles eventhough their lives our tough.

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