Most people dread the daily commute, but not Nestor de la Paz. To get to work, he exits his home’s front door, then takes exactly six steps.
De la Paz is one of the 1.1 million sari-sari store owners in the Philippines. Meaning “variety” in Tagalog, the term “sari-sari” accurately describes what the stores sell: sachets of shampoo, eggs, soda, face masks, candy, and other daily items, most for under one US dollar, packed in a store that is no larger than a small shed.
Like India’s kiranas and Indonesia’s warungs, sari-saris are neighbourhood retailers. The proprietors run their stores close to their homes or on their own housefronts.