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With Intramuros Closed, These Vendors Had to Put Their Livelihoods on Hold

Their stories are the stories of many.

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Photography: Jerome Ascano

Bale una, isang buwan e,” says kalesa operator Teodoro Cruz about the pandemic. “’Tas naging tatlong buwan. Naging siyam na buwan. And then, ‘yon. Nabenta ko ‘yong kabayo ko."

Teodoro is only one of the many vendors who have been hugely affected by COVID-19 and its subsequent lockdowns in the previously bustling streets of Intramuros.

Puppet maker and vendor Enrique Paez had to struggle to make ends meet in the past year. “Wala na lahat. Hinto na kami rito.” he shares. “Buti na lang, kahit paano, may naipong kaunti… Kung anong puwedeng ibenta para makakain lang, binebenta na namin.”

Fort Santiago and other popular tourist spots reopened in February 2021, offering them a glimmer of home despite the situation being a far cry from normalcy. The video below was made shortly after that; unfortunately, the areas within the Walled City were once again ordered closed due to rising COVID-19 cases in the capital, and yet again, their livelihoods are in limbo.

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Video producer: John Mariano

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