March 19, 2005
Marife Walapirma: Saleslady, Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines.
A STREETBUZZ INTERVIEW
STREETBUZZ:Marife, when and where were you born?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: I was born in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte, Mindanao. My birthdate is December 4, 1984.
STREETBUZZ: How many in your family? What's the work of your parents?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: I have seven sisters and two brothers. My mother is a housewife and my father...he's a farmer. He grows, well, bananas and coconuts, you know. No, they don't own it, they just rent the farm. Yes, my family are mostly still there, except for my sister who's here with me and my brother is in Manila, but he's already married.
STREETBUZZ: Did you have a good, a happy childhood?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: Yes, I'm happy together with my family. When I was young my parents they are take care of us, of our family. If I have a sick, my parents will take care with me. And then I'm the one who finish high school. All of them are elementary only. Why? Cuz I sacrifice, I'm suffered. Who decided? Me and my parents decide that I'll be the one to finish high school.
STREETBUZZ: You helped your parents with the farm?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: Oh yes, over there in mountain. Harvest the banana and cleaning in mountain. Out - what is that?
STREETBUZZ: What is your best memory?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: When my parents and me go to the mountain and - what's that - do anything. I cannot forget that, I'm so happy. I go to the mountain together my parents and my family.
STREETBUZZ: What happened when you graduated high school?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: I graduated 2003, then I move here Lapu, find job. Yes, if I have no sister here, maybe I'm not here. My sister Dadang, yes she's married, one son.
STREETBUZZ: Tell me about your job.
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: My first job here in this shop, in 2004. Bagay RTW (ready to wear), the top floor Lapu public market. Started June 2004. I'm saleslady - responsible for this shop (only employee.) It's OK, I'm contented here. Sometimes no customers whole day only income 300 pesos like that.
My salary? It's 1,200 a month (US $22; STREETBUZZ note: basic hamburger meal at Jolibee fastfood restaurant costs 45P = US 83 cents.) Yes, seven days, no day off. But sometimes I'm absent cuz I'll wash my clothes. Yes, I have friends here at market. The owner, she's a woman owner, so nice with me, so kind. I trust him as my parents; also I treat her daughter as my sister.
STREETBUZZ: I know that you applied already at MEPZ, correct? (Mactan Export Processing Zone, near LapuLapu City.)
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: I applied three companies. I apply to MOT, that's Mactan Parts Technology; Toyoflex, that's electronics, and Lear, also electronics. I heard the salary almost 280 (pesos) per day.
I was exam. I exam and the result I cannot pass because I have problem with my heart. Weak heart in the exam. Also in the dexterity, I can't do it cuz I'm so nervous. So I can't work MEPZ. Sorry I can't but it's OK (laughs.) So I came back to this shop.
STREETBUZZ: What do you think about your future?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: God knows only.
STREETBUZZ: Only God?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: Well, I want married. Good honest man. Any kind as long he accept me who I am, he accept me.
STREETBUZZ: What if he can only offer you to live in a bamboo hut?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: Yes, the important that we love each other, happy family.
STREETBUZZ: You met some foreigners, correct?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: One guy he Cherry Blossoms (Internet dating site.) He want many girls. I told him I don't like that attitude. So he said "Goodbye."
Another guy I meet at SM. He's very nice, but he's big. He's so big! Maybe he's that's just like a pen pal maybe.
You know, I don't meet Pinoys. Maybe in my boarding house they say "She like a foreigner." But you know the Pinoy boys he don't; we don't meet.
STREETBUZZ: What can you say about the Philippines ?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: It's so nice. Philippines is nice. Because full of foods, anything, minerals, what's that. There's some beautiful spot. People: maybe the same in U.S. and Philippines. There is a bad and a good.
STREETBUZZ: What do you think about God, about religion?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: I'm a Catholic. God is good, God is great all the time.
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: Cuz he made all they here in this world.
STREETBUZZ: The good and the bad both?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: But maybe that come from God. There's a way to solve the problem. What is that? Pray to God. Pray. Love him with all of your heart.
STREETBUZZ: But he put all these horrible things in the world: snatchers, murderers, so many bad people, and hunger, pollution, war, like that. Why did he do that?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: Why? Maybe that's a part of livelihood. It's a part of life - being a people here the world. Maybe someday some people will realize their attitude and they can change.
STREETBUZZ: Anything else?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: If I can tell you anything about my love life, I will cry.
STREETBUZZ: OK, please tell me about your love life!
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: For sure my heart is always broken. I always hurt with guy, but I accept the truth. Only three only. If it's OK I don't like to love again.
1. When I was second year high school it's he will hurt me cuz he had another girlfriend and I was cry. And I accept the truth that we are not each other, so we just broke up.
2. The foreigner. Richard. The guy with bad attitude. I love him, I don't know why.
3. But I don't like him. He's so nice. Cuz he's so big! (the big one at SM.)
But I always hurt. I'm serious.
STREETBUZZ: But you're still a virgin, yes?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: Yah! That's my promise to my parents. Cuz I come from good parents, so nice to me.
Why? Cuz that's the gift that you can give to your husband. Special with you, so I give him it's special too.
STREETBUZZ: What do you think about being poor?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: Being poor is so nice, it's a nice life. Because God said it is nice to be poor, don't rich! (laughs)
STREETBUZZ: You want to be poor all your life?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: Yah, I want.
STREETBUZZ: Final comments?
MARIFE WALAPIRMA: It's OK you're the one to write it. I don't want handsome, cuz I'm not beautiful woman (laughs.)
A STREETBUZZ INTERVIEW
Bagay Ready-To-Wear is on the 2nd level of the Lapu-Lapu Public Market in Opon, Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines.