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Vendor Profile: Emily Villamor of The Philippines

Wed, Feb 13, 2013

Emily Villamor

When Emily Villamor first started to sell The Jeepney street paper in the Philippines city of Cainta, she was hoping for small changes, but she never imagined it would completely turn her life around. While selling the magazine, Emily met a national TV celebrity who offered her not only friendship but also a new set of teeth.

I recognized her straight away, the first time I saw her. I said, “Hello, Jeanette Torres. You are the child from Anna Liza that I used to watch on TV. You’re my idol!” She was surprised that I still recognized her. I introduced myself and told her about The Jeepney magazine. She did not buy one that day but promised to come back.

She kept her word. When she came back she bought three magazines and gave me 1,000 pesos ($24.61 USD). She said I could keep the change. She also brought me clothes and chocolates for my grandchildren. We have since become friends.

Selling The Jeepney magazine has made my family’s life better. I am able to pay the rent now and provide for my family. I have bought many things for our temporary home. I am able to help my son and my grandchildren. I am saving up for my grandchild’s birthday, which is coming up. My husband also wants a watch.

My dream is to own a house. It is not easy to rent, which we do now, but it is so much better than having nothing at all. I don’t ever want to go back to the streets.

I have been selling The Jeepney magazine since the first issue was published in 2008. I sell the magazine at events, in universities and in malls. It’s really a great privilege to be a Jeepney vendor because I get to work in big malls, communicate with foreigners, and meet people from all walks of life.

I used to sell brooms on the streets while my husband was a barker (a person who calls out passengers for jeepneys – the Philippines’ public transport). Most of the time we were not able to earn enough money so we would sleep on the streets to save on fares, as we lived far from where we worked.

As we spent days and months on the streets, we met other street people who became our friends. They invited us to a drop-in center for street people. It was there that I first heard that there was work for street people selling the Jeepney magazine.

Written by Reah Medenilla,
The Jeepney – Philippines

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