For most of the Filipino kids, this is kingdom, probably the closest thing to heaven. A place they look forward to visiting. Give these kids a peso coin and they will definitely run towards the Sari Sari Store to buy their favorite piece of junk food or candy.
For mothers and grandmothers, this is their ever-reliable spot to buy something they probably had missed when they went to supermarkets. A Sari Sari store always saves the day for our moms while they are cooking and suddenly realized they needed more vinegar for their dish, etc.
And yes, I think this was a great training ground for us Filipinos to become obedient and show respect to people older than us by simply doing a little errand. When I was a kid, whenever my mom needed a vinegar or a sachet of laundry powder, believe me, I really had to stop what I was doing to buy something that she needed for her dish, or for whatever activity she’s doing in our house. That was because the very little thing she needed from a sari-sari store makes or breaks the activity that we’re all, as a family, would be benefiting from- A sumptuous lunch, or a cleaner house, etc. – And the Filipino kids are the agents to attain this random need. (and it’s okay, because they get to do simultaneously their own stuff in the Sari-Sari Store – please recall paragraph 1 and insert evil smile here – )
For the Filipino men, this is where we talk about anything under the sun – this is where we become “brothers from different mothers.” And this is where at the very least, we appreciate the Filipina beauty just around the corner.
And if the Sari-Sari store itself could talk, it probably would have shared a lot of stories about the happy people surrounding and visiting it.
Sari Sari store – one simple joy of being a Filipino.