BAGUIO CITY - A photojournalist in the city is dressing up as the fictional superhero "Spiderman" not to catch bad guys but to give joy to the public on Sundays, when the Session Road becomes exclusive to pedestrians for a weekend market.
"Diversion ko ito kasi masaya ako na nakakapagpasaya ako ng ibang tao, lalo na ang mga bata (This is my diversion because I am able to make other people happy, especially kids)," said Mau Victa, a correspondent of the national broadsheet Business Mirror and the local weekly newspaper Baguio Chronicle in a recent interview.
Aside from Session Road, he changes to the costume whenever necessary to lighten the mood and environment and bring out smiles on people's faces.
Asked to share his most memorable "Spiderman" moment, Victa said it was when he was able to brighten the mood of a Ukrainian girl at an evacuation center in Poland.
"Ang sarap ng feeling na napangiti ko yung Ukranian na bata na nag-iiiyak noong nasa evacuation center kami sa Poland habang hinahanap ang tatay niya kasi naiwan siya sa Lola niya noong nag evacuate sila (when we were at the evacuation center in Poland, it felt good to see the Ukranian girl who was left with her grandmother smile after crying for a long time while looking for his father)."
Victa was among those brought by the European Union last July for a visit to Poland.
Mau said the Spiderman mask is always in his bag just like Peter Parker in the movie "Spiderman", but his purpose is to bring a smile from a sad face.
"Parati kong dala kahit saan ako pumunta para kung kailangan, andyan lang na mailalabas ko para makapagpangiti (I always bring it so I can bring a smile whenever necessary," he said.
While Spiderman is Victa's favorite which he had worn for over a decade, he has other costume collections that he wears on different occasions and Sundays as a busker at the Session Road Sunday markets like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Ironman, Batman, Charlie Chaplin, and the clown dress.
The costumes were bought by Victa through a broker when the Disney production company replaces their old costumes with new ones.
With several college students wanting to earn additional allowance on Sundays, Victa said he allows students to wear the other costumes for the busking at Session Road.
He said that aside from the happiness of giving joy, the donations go a long way for the students who endure the heat inside the costume in exchange for the amount they can bring home at the end of the day.
"May week na malaki-laki ang nakukuha nila, may week na maliit. Kapag maliit ibinibigay ko na sa kanila para may dagdag sila sa allowance nila sa school (there are weeks when they get more but there are weeks when they get little amount so I just give it to them so that they would have an additional allowance)," he said.
He added that his "costume-wearing" business started when he was in high school as a "sakristan" (church assistant) having been invited to try becoming a clown.
"Raket ko na ito noong high school pa ako para may pang allowance ako kaya kapag may estudyante na gustong magsuot ng costume para kumita, pinagbibigyan ko (this was my source of allowance in high school that is why I allow a student to wear it too to earn)," Mau shared.
As parties and gatherings were prohibited amid the coronavirus pandemic, Victa said the once-a-week busking at Session Road opened the door for the costumes to again be worn and help some sectors earn.
"Sana payagan lang kami at sana hindi dumating ang time na magbabayad na din kami kasi maraming natutulungan ang busking lalo na ang mga estudyante. Kahit once a week lang, yung nakukuha nila malaking bagay para sa kanila dahil sa hirap kumita ngayon (hopefully we will just be allowed and that they will not charge us because busking is helping a lot, especially students even just once a week. What they get, goes a long way considering the difficulty of earning right now)," Mau said. (PNA)