CAN OF SARDINES, INSTANT NOODLES – Now the Philippine symbols of poverty

FROM DRIED FISH TO GALUNGGONG AND NOW CANS OF SARDINES AND PACK OF INSTANT NOODLES

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

THE P8 daily wage increase proposed on the average by regional units in the country of the Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB) and pushed by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) for government to adopt can hardly buy a can of sardines or a pack of instant noodles—-now the national symbols of poverty in the Philippines.
A can of sardines now cost at the minimum of P15 while a pack of noodles is P10.
Sardines and noodles throughout the country are most common in breakfast tables for the Filipino poor, a can or a pack in many cases shared by families of five.

A pack of instant noodles cures morning hunger. It satisfies noon hunger.  A slurp of the watery brew of a pack of noodles at night sends the poor to dreamland. But noodles as a symbol of poverty may as well be a symbol of death for its zero-value as a meal. Malnutrition in children. Maternal deaths for mothers for under-nourishment. And weak breadwinners unable to work for weakness from lack of nourishment.

Noodles, like cans of sardines, is the RIP sign for the Pinoy workingman and his family.

A can of sardines for a family of five has more survival properties. Mixed with a small pack of diced assorted vegetables sold fresh in markets, a can of sardines cooked as vegetable stew on a gallon of water could serve two meals.

But instant noodles and sardines may not last as symbols of poverty that the poor can longer afford in the coming days.

With prices of everything zooming up, sardines and noodles are on the way to becoming another luxury for the hapless poor.

GALUNGGONG. In the 80’s, the galunggong was seenas one of the lowliest fishes, the poor man’s fish. It was such a staple on many Filipino tables that it became an economic index and a rallying symbol every time consumer goods prices would go up. However, in recent years, this fish, also known as as mackerel scad, has been overturned by instant noodles and can of sardines as an economic indicator for poverty.

DRIED FISH: No longer a symbol of poverty. With price from P100 upwards per kilogram, dried fish now is a symbol of luxury for the poor Pinoy.

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