MANILA (Updated) -- The occasional rain showers in Metro Manila on Thursday has seemingly driven away potential jobseekers from attending the 2014 Kalayaan Job Fair organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) as part of the Independence Day celebration.

DOLE – National Capital Region (NCR) acting Director Nelson Hornilla said it appears that the rainy weather discouraged potential job seekers from applying for any of the over 35,000 job vacancies offered in the job fair.

"Last year, maganda-ganda yung panahon nung huling Independence Day job fair natin. Umabot po tayo sa almost 7,000 jobseekers last year," said Hornilla.

Hornilla said a total of 4,370 job applicants have registered at the South Drive of the historic Rizal Park in Manila.

Of the registered applicants, he reported that there were 549 hired-on-the-spot (HOTS) applicants as well as 1,954 near hires, or those that are qualified but still have to pass additional requirements or undergo further interviews.

The 13 percent HOTS rate is lower than the expected 20 percent by the DOLE–NCR.

John Emmanuel, 21, a Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate, who was one of the HOTS applicants, said the annual job fair was a "big help" to fresh graduates like him.

"Magkahalong tense at kaba pero masaya kasi unang trabaho ko ito. Maganda 'yung ganitong programa, salamat sa Dole at may ganito, marami

itong matutulungan," he said.

He was hired by the SM Lifestyle and Entertainment Inc. as sales agent.

Eric Seryoso, 31, another HOTS applicant, was hired as a warehouse assistant by a local private company despite his age.

Seryoso, who came to Manila from San Jose del Monte in Bulacan to find a job, said most companies are bias for younger job applicants but it did deter him from getting a spot in a local company.

"Depende naman 'yun sa qualification at sa personality ng tao," he said.

Jennylyn Juanila, an undergraduate was also among the HOTS applicants. She was hired as a store assistant/cashier by retail chain Dunkin Donuts.

"Masaya and thankful kasi kahit hindi ako graduate nabigyan pa din ako ng opportunity," she said.

Throughout the day, there were occasional rains that were felt in different parts of Metro Manila brought by Tropical Storm "Ester".

Still, the labor official said they remain confident that many will still benefit from the annual job fair as they expect the number to still go up.

"Ang monitoring natin is mga one month to two months po kasi iyon ang monitoring natin. We can say mga 30 to 40 percent po ang nabibigyan natin ng work (from job fair)," he added.

"To those who were not hired, don't lose hope because there are 17 fully institutionalize public employment services which you can count

on everyday in the NCR from 8 to 5 p.m.," Hornilla said.

During the job fair, a total of 8,949 local; 15,000 overseas; and 11,597 government employment opportunities were offered to job seekers. (HDT/Third Anne Peralta/Sunnex)