MANILA - Flower vendors that were hoping for a windfall this weekend are instead seeing sales wilt after typhoon Quinta lashed the country and kept people from visiting cemeteries.
Millions of Filipinos usually flock to the cemeteries on Undas, or All Saints Day and All Souls Day to remember their departed loved ones. But Malacanang ordered all cemeteries in the country to be closed from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4, to prevent another surge in COVID-19 cases.
Flower stall owners in Dangwa and outside the Manila Cemetery said they were expecting to sell more flowers to cemetery goers ahead of the closure of memorial parks during Undas. Typhoon Quinta however blew those hopes away.
"Kumpara last year? Siguro 10 percent o 20 percent ang posibleng kitain, kung sakaling dadagsa pa ang tao [sa sementeryo],” said Lloyd Casyao a flower store owner outside the Manila Cemetery.
(Compared to last year? Maybe we’ll earn just 10 percent or 20 percent, if people still flock to the cemetery.)
Vendors at the Dangwa flower market in Sampaloc, Manila said they could charge up to P800 for arrangements for Undas last year. This year, they’ve cut prices to P300 to P400 pesos.
Sales aren’t blooming either for online flower sellers.
Flowerstore.ph founder and CEO Saul Molla says Undas is the 5th best holiday for the industry, behind Valentine’s day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and Christmas.
Molla said that during Undas, sales spike up 20 to 30 times.
“So for us, this year we are seeing just 2 times versus a normal day, really kind of nothing compared to what other years have been,” Molla said.
Molla said many were planning to visit the cemeteries up to Wednesday, but the typhoon affected their plans.
- Report from Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News