TEXT & PHOTO: Kaycie Gayle
Plaza Angel is a city park and public space in Angeles City where people could sit to order a cup of warm and hearty chocolate drink, and see the important establishments in the city. Part of its view is the modest newsstand that has been there for decades.
The Red News Stand
The red newspaper stand across Plaza Angel serves as one of the attractive spots to see on the square. Small it may be, but its striking hue adds life and color to the heritage district. It balances the view and serves like an embellishment of the entire plaza.
The stall is made of metal and its roof’s shape has a resemblance to a ‘salakot’, a traditional headgear in the country. Jars of candies are placed on its window sill, while chips in tetra packs are hanging on its windows. Daily national broadsheets and weekly tabloids are both displayed in and out of the stand. While outdated newspapers are placed on its rack, reserved for students from nearby big universities who would need it for their assignment and projects
This noticeable little spot is owned and manned by the couple Conchita and Romy Lopez. Most of the locals who pass by downtown know them. Fellow vendors, jeepney drivers, and students oftentimes drop by their stall to buy an item from them or just chitchat with the aged couple.
Her start of newspaper-selling business at Plaza Angel
Conchita has started working as a seller for a newspaper vendor. From working with him for about two years, she has learned the newspaper selling business. Eventually, she has decided to start her own business and managed it herself. She has asked her husband to just join her to sell newspapers, after seeing how hard her husband’s work is in the construction site. When Mt. Pinatubo’s erupted in 1991, their modest wooden stand was damaged when the lava flowed through the market where their stand was originally situated. Hence they have transferred to their current location, built another wooden stall and still have remained to sell newspapers. After several years, they revamped their stall and changed the wooden structure into metal by complying with the local ordinance in beautifying the district.
Newspaper selling business and its challenges
Conchita shared that aside from having the skill to run a newspaper-selling business, she intentionally opted to pursue it because newspapers are not being rotten. Also, it’s practical since you could return what was not sold. However, practical doesn’t mean comfortable and without challenges. Selling newspapers means you are also willing to face the downsides of it. Some of the challenges they encounter include weather conditions, wherein they should open despite the heat of the sun or heavy pouring rain. Since what they sell is paper and they are exposed in the outdoors, they manage to be resourceful and vigilant in protecting and covering their goods, including their selves. Another challenge they face is that due to the rise of online publication, the demand for newspapers has diminished and sales were unlike before.
Desire to stay at Plaza Angel and keeping the newsstand
When asked why they have opted to remain in newspaper selling, the couple answered because it is where they have started. They were also able to send their three children up to college through their income from it. Even up to now, this business is still important to them, since it is their source for providing for their daily living expenses. Moreover, they like that the business keeps them busy instead of just staying at home and waiting for their children to come home after work.
The couple likes the place they are in, it makes work seems like less work. They are entertained participating and seeing the activities of the bustling city. That’s why even though they sometimes struggle with paying for the rent, they work hard to be able to sustain paying it. They have remained in the business and in the same spot for years and even intend to stay longer. The only thing that changed is their opening time and their stall has become sturdier and more attractive.
Faith and hope of the newspaper couple
The couple is content with the small business that they have. If they still have one more wish at present, that is to have their own home. They are happy that selling newspapers and candies help them to have an income for their daily needs, however not enough to buy a house and or even enjoy luxury. Conchita is hopeful that they will have their own house in time if she works hard in selling newspapers. During the interview she shared.
“Sipag lang, maririnig ng Diyos and pangarap mu.,Nakikita ng panginoon ang ginagawa namin..”
“Be industrious. God will hear your dream. God sees what we are doing.”
The couple has been selling newspapers in the same place for more than two decades. The students who used to be their regular customers have become parents now, and some of their buyers at present are the children of those students. By selling newspapers in Plaza Angel for so long, they have evolved and developed together with the changes in the heritage district. In the passing of time, they’ve witnessed the plaza’s transformation from being a simple public place to a revamped park with heritage houses turned museums.
Happy Travels! 💛
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