Business as usual for Baseco food traders right after Glenda

8:17 pm | Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—It’s business as usual at Baseco compound an hour after typhoon “Glenda” (Rammasun) passed through Manila Wednesday morning.


After the strong, howling winds of Glenda passed, the streets of the Baseco market in Port Area, Manila, was abuzz and teeming once again with produce. The vendors and even buyers were unmindful of the possibility of a downpour once the storm’s tail passes through the country’s capital.


In fact, during Glenda’s onslaught midmorning on Wednesday, fruit vendor Dominga Amilcan was at the market guarding her goods.


“I’m used to it,” said the 45-year-old Amilcan in Filipino. “I’m not afraid of the storm.”


She said she only took refuge at the drugstore behind her sidewalk stall to spare her produce from being blown away. When the relentless winds started to die down and the downpour turned to drizzle, she once again set up her array of bananas. After a few minutes, buyers once again started coming.


When it crossed Manila, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services said typhoon Glenda was moving at 26 kilometers per hour west-northwest and was packed with maximum sustained winds of 150 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 185 kph. Typhoon Signal No. 3 was raised all over the metro, in effect canceling work in all branches of government and suspending trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange.


Glenda’s landfall in Manila halted business in Baseco market for at least two hours, but right after that, it continued like nothing happened. “That’s how people cope here,” barangay councilwoman Edith Castillo said. “They need to earn a living despite the circumstances.”


Most of the vendors at Baseco market are used to storms battering their livelihood, but Wednesday’s typhoon proved to be a frightening experience for some.


Estrelita Sapnu, a general merchandise store owner at Baseco for at least 35 years, said Glenda was the “worst storm” she had experienced.


“Our store stood strong during ‘Milenyo’ and ‘Ondoy.’ I was so afraid that I couldn’t sleep when the winds destroyed a portion of our store,” Sapnu said as she watched four men raise blocks of wood to reconstruct her store’s damaged section.


Meanwhile in the inner streets of Baseco, a number of adults started recovering what could still be used to rebuild their homes. In an adjacent street, a group of teens played basketball while others played cara y cruz. Some even dared to take a plunge at the murky waters of Manila Bay.


“Most of Baseco’s residents live in shanties. It’s hard for those who have lost their homes to start over again,” Castillo said. “Despite that, we know they’ll make it through like they did in previous disasters. We’ll help them in the best way we can.”





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Tags: Baseco , Cyclone , Food retail , food trading , Glenda , Port Area , Rammasun , Typhoon , Weather

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