DURING Valentine’s, many people would buy flowers at Dangwa along Dos Castillas Street, known as Manila’s flower capital. But for people like Pedro who have spent years selling flowers at Dangwa, flowers’ life span suppose to last beyond Valentine’s’ day.

For Pedro, every petal matters.

He has to keep the flowers fresh until the day ends and the next lest he gets paid less or he loses his job.

“Buhay ko ang Dangwa, kapag nawala ito, mawawala na rin ang kabuhayan ko,” he said.

The lives of the flower vendors like Pedro have been the inspirations of a documentary by a group of Communication Arts (CA) students from 4CA2 in the 2006 Junior Broadquest Competition, an annual documentary, public service announcement, and music video competition for junior CA students.

“We wanted to produce a documentary that is fresh to the audience,” Anika Punzalan, executive producer of the documentary, said.

Titled “Damas de Noche,” the documentary became an instrument for voicing out the sentiments of people working in Dangwa.

“The documentary was about the vendors, street children, and kargadors whose lives were touched by Dangwa,” Punzalan said. “I remember one interviewee saying that even though they do not receive high earnings by selling flowers, they still choose to work in Dangwa because the Dangwa flowers already become part of their lives.”

The documentary won major awards during the Broadquest competition, outshining the three other entries including Best in Documentary, Best in Cinematography, Best in Overall Editing, and the Production House of the Year.

“We had never expected positive responses from the judges,” Punzalan said. “Damas de Noche” was aired on ABC 5’s defunct program, “Dokyu,” in February last year.

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Punzalan said the ABC executives congratulated the student production for “our creativity.”

Behind the beautiful landscape and sceneries in Dangwa lie the equally beautiful stories, like Pedro’s that the naked eye can’t see. Rieze Rose T. Calbay

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