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Artist Draws Street Food Vendors As ‘Kalsada Heroes’ In Appreciation For Their Hard Work

Artist draws vendors as ‘kalsada heroes’

No Filipino street would be complete without our street food vendors, ranging from sellers of fishballs, kikiam, kwek-kwek, and taho, to name a few. They surround our cities with their colorful panindas as well as keep our hunger at bay whenever we’re out and about and need a quick eat. That’s why for a young artist, our vendors deserve to be called as “kalsada heroes” too.

For Eman Jacob San Andres, a Multimedia Arts student from the Far Eastern University (FEU), our peddlers should be appreciated for their daily perseverance in providing us with delicious street foods – so he dedicated his latest work to these vendors who are depicted as superhero characters of their own on his artworks.

The heroes include vendors who sell taho, sorbetes, and banana cue

Kalsada heroes - Taho vendor
Image credit: Eman Jacob/One FEU

The artworks show the peddlers armed with protective gear while wearing casual everyday clothing. For instance, the magtataho is drawn in a blue top and a pair of shorts while his arms and abdomen are covered with gear made of wood and metal. He is proudly carrying two big cans filled with taho ingredients.

Kalsada heroes - Sorbetes and Buko Juice vendor
Image credit: Eman Jacob/One FEU

The mamang sorbetero has a salakot on top of his head while he showcases the flavors of his ice cream, and the vendor who sells buko juice is tossing a piece of the round buko fruit.

Kalsada heroes - siomai and banana cue
Image credit: Eman Jacob/One FEU

Women too are shown as heroes identifiable with the street foods they sell, such as siomai, banana cue, and sapin-sapin. 

Kalsada heroes - sapin-sapin
Image credit: Eman Jacob/One FEU 

According to San Andres, he appreciates how whenever we leave school or work, we’re delighted to find ourselves surrounded by these street vendors. “Paglabas mo ng work, paglabas mo ng school, sila ‘yung bubungad sa ‘yo. Papakainin ka pa nila, minsan kekwentuhan ka nila ng kung anu-ano parang magkaibigan kayo,” he told GMA News. This can be translated as “Whenever you come out of work, whenever you come out of school, they are in front of you. They even feed you, sometimes they tell you stories as if you’re friends.”

He also salutes the sacrifice they make to be outdoors every day amidst the pandemic, just so they can feed their families. Indeed, our streets won’t be as alive as they are without our hardworking vendors who feed our mouths with the street foods we’ve grown to love and associate with the hustle and bustle of our cities.

Artist dedicates works to ‘kalsada heroes’

While we love our delicious street foods, we should also tip our hats to our street vendors as well who go out of their ways to keep our stomachs filled every day.

Kudos to San Andres for depicting our local peddlers as guardians of our street foods!

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Cover image adapted from: Eman Jacob/One FEU