andreas Loeschner-Gornau





     The Store

     The people

     The Interviews

     The fairytale

     The native songs

     What's a Sari Sari Store?

Opening hours 6am -12pm:

  • 10am taking a photograph
  • 5pm winter song training
  • 6pm fairytale read out

The daily fresh supply:

  • Gingerbread, cake, biscuit, native coffee, hand pressed orange juice

What does it mean to be poor? There are different definitions of poverty. I believe -> In compare to what I saw in Cebu City Philippines, even the "poorest" German is rich.

As an artist, I wanted to point the issue of urban poverty. The Sari Sari Store gave me a very close contact with the poor in the squatter area. The people there are curious and guardedly, but we came easily, through the store, in a conversation. I wanted to find out how it is to live in poverty. I rented a room in squatters area and stayed there 8 days and 8 nights. In this time i did not leave the place. I had 2 helpers during daytime. But I spent the nights alone, with the rats.

Life there is hard. I have learned a lot, which I will never forget. I can not change the world, but wish a better life for the poor of this world. These people were born poor. I was luckier.

A gingerbread in my store cost 5 Philippine Peso = € 0.07 (December 2004)

- at Starbucks 115 Peso (but les quality)

If the children had no money, I let sing a song and gave them 5 pesos. So what they could buy from me. :-)

Every day I photographed visitors. The crowd was large. The photos were glued to the image wall. In the evening came the photographed with their families to look at the photos.

Here are some of the photos.

When I look at the pictures of children - here come the memories and I cry. They are smart, but her parents have not the money to finance a good education. So they have to work for starvation wages in factories, like their parents. Maybe they can not find work. For that we can buy cheap consumer goods in Europe.

One can not choose whether one is born rich or poor. The prosperity of the first world is based mostly on the poverty and exploitation of the 3rd world. That is why there are was, so everything remains as it is. And the Germans earn big money on arms exports, and keeping people abroad faint.


The interviews with the inhabitants of the squatter area.

I asked all interviewees the same questions. Joanna Interview interpreter

Most of my visitors were children. Some were also present at night. The parents did not seem to care. The mothers work in bars and fathers? We talk a lot and I learned that most knew no fairytale. At Christmas, children should listen to old fairytale. Most young children do not understand English. I translate with helpers fairy tales into the local language Cebuano. In the evening, the translations were told to the children. Many came and it has made them a lot of fun. I hope the tradition will be continued. I have passed on the translations to older women of the squatter area and told they can also find this on my website.

Fairytale translations into language Cebuano:

The Christmas


Children learn a German winter song:

Often visited me buskers. Some variety in my daily life as a "seller". The links on top shows a selection of their songs.

The children asked me many times about Germany. Where is Germany? "Are there children. Are they poor? How is it there?" ... In the Philippines it is pleasantly warm. As a Filipino you can hardly imagine how winter feels.

First I told them that temperature is Like the levels in a fridge. In the ground level where you put the vegetables, it is the temperature of the summer in Germany. A little higher, where cheese, butter, ... is the temperature of the German spring or autumn. And in the freezer compartment, where you put ice cream, it feels like German winter. So they asked: For what do they need a fridge if it is that cold? My answer: A fridge is producing heat to outside. :-)

I decided to teach them a German winter song for kids. Because it is about the fun of winter. So i explained them about: Snowballs, how to make a snowman, about the dance of snowflakes, flower-frost pattern at the windows, ski, luge ... while we learned the song together.

When I write this, it is Winter now in Germany and I've just thrown a snowball in direction of the Philippines - for my kids there. I carry you in my heart, that keeps me warm.

 The SariSariStore on the Philippines

The sari-sari store is an important economic and social location in a Filipino community. It is present in almost all neighbourhoods, sometimes even in every street. The word sari-sari is Tagalog for "various kinds". Most sari-sari stores are privately owned shops and are operated inside the shopkeeper's house. Commodities are displayed in a large screen-covered or metal barred window in front of the shop. Candies, canned goods and cigarettes are often displayed while cooking oil, salt and sugar are often stored in sacks or cans. A small window is also present where the customer's requested commodity is given. A cigarette lighter tied to the window can also be found. Benches and sometimes tables are also provided in front of the sari-sari store. A shade is placed above it which is also used to cover the large window when the store closes.

Economic value

The sari-sari store allows members of the community easy access to basic commodities at low costs. In the Philippines, following the concept of tingi, a customer can buy 'units' of the product rather than whole package. For example, one can buy a stick of cigarette for a peso (0.02 US dollars) rather than a whole pack. This is convenient for those who cannot buy the whole package or do not need much of it. The sari-sari store also saves the customer extra transportation costs, especially those in rural areas, since some towns can be very far from the nearest market or grocery. The store also serves as a secondary or even primary source of income for shopkeepers. The owners can buy commodities in bulk in groceries then sell them in the store at a mark-up price. Trucks usually deliver LPG and soft drinks to the store itself. The store requires little investment since the products are cheap and only a few modifications on one side of a house are needed to convert it to a sari-sari store.

Social value

The sari-sari store offers a place where people can meet. The benches provided in front of the store are usually full of men and women. Some men would spend some time drinking while women discuss the latest local news. Youths also use the place to hang out. Children would also rest here in the afternoon after playing and buy soft drinks and snacks.


Andreas Loeschner-Gornau earthly, global and vegan Artist / Who needs still political borders and politicians?