Sunday, aside from going to church, for some Pinoys, the majority of the male specie, they ought to spend time in a cockfighting match. It’s a sort of an amusement that we, Filipinos, inherited from the Spaniards. Nowadays, some called it a game, a sport maybe, others say its gambling. However, either of these, sabong still is one of the favorite past times of Filipinos.
And speaking of “sabong”, I remembered that my first business venture really happened inside a sabungan, yes inside a cockfighting arena. I was raised in Calasiao, Pangasinan and the Pangasinan coliseum is just a 10 minute ride coming from Calasiao town proper. I recalled, during my elementary days, my mother and her friend have had rented a place inside the coliseum. The coliseum had constructed spaces for rent and are open for those who wanted to do business inside the coliseum, most of it are selling food and drinks. It’s a place the coliseum provides so that the sabungeros could have a certain place to stand by, eat and have a little chit-chat.
It was in my 4th grade in elementary when my nanay brought me inside the coliseum. A fine Sunday morning back then, and I recalled I was so reluctant because I wanted to play with my friends and watch TV but nanay needed my help bringing utensils to their rented-place. So there, I joined my mother, I went to the coliseum. I was doing nothing exactly. While I was inside the coliseum, I roamed around, watched, and observed. My first impression of the place, it’s so loud and noisy, majority were men, shouting “sa pula, sa puti”…etcetera, etcetera. Obviously, most of these men love cigarettes. I noticed that in a span of a minute or so, sabungeros, go out, climb down from the bleachers just to buy a stick of cigarette. I also noticed, and for me, at that time, it’s funny because all of those who are offering food and drinks sells cigarettes. Yes, its competition had I not know. Anyhow, I asked my mother instead of waiting for those sabungeros to buy a cigarette in our place, why not bring the cigarettes to them. So she smiled and told me its a good idea, and she said I should be the one doing that instead. That I have an advantage because I am pretty small and going in and out will be so easy for me. So I said, sige, I will start next Sunday.
So the next Sunday came, and I went to the coliseum with my mother so that I could start selling cigarettes. It’s my first little business venture so to speak. My mother will supply the product, no payment and no down of course, but in turn I will pay it once I have the cash generated from selling the product. It’s sort of a consignment which I didn’t know at that time. I can sell the product twice of its cost. Yeah, yeah its called an add-on rate or so profit. Consequently, I did, my first day of selling cigarettes turned out to be profitable. All I have to do is to be quick, have patience, hustle and cram in the crowd of sabungeros, and bear the odor of different people. And yep I was small, so I need to endure also those little particles coming out of the sabungeros’ mouth, because of the shouting, yes that saliva that cannot be seen by the human eyes showering your head. Nevertheless, its fun. However, the thing is, I discovered that I am not the only one pala doing the same thing. There were those sellers already doing it, which I did not notice on the first day my mother brought me inside the coliseum. Simply because of the number, a few of them, maybe at the range a little higher than my age. Furthermore, my mother did not tell me about it when I brought out the idea. Perhaps she wanted me to discover it by myself. Perhaps she wanted me to experience it, how to do business, how to earn money.
After the next two Sundays of selling cigarettes, I made money, but I quit. It’s not that I don’t want to earn money. However, it’s all about priorities. At my age, elementary days, I wanted to play instead of making money, and of course I need to attend church activities too because I was an altar boy serving our parish church at that time, aside from studying school lessons. What I have learned, however, is precious, specially for a fourth grader like me, that it’s really hard to earn money. It’s blood and sweat. I must say, I am so thankful, although it is normal as an experience, but for me its one of a kind.