Essential delivery services have seen a spike when the community quarantine was implemented in the Philippines. Consumers in different parts of the country rely on them for food and beverage needs, from breakfast to dinner and everything in between.
With hundreds of riders across 50 cities in the Philippines — foodpanda, one of the country's leading on-demand delivery services, has amassed plenty of interesting stories to tell from the top seven cities: Pampanga, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, CDO, Bacolod and Iloilo.
As the company expands its presence nationwide—now operating in Batangas, Butuan, Cabanatuan, Dagupan, Dasmariñas, Iligan, Legazpi, Novaliches, and Olongapo—more deliveries open up all kinds of rider experiences, from inspirational bounce-back stories to outrageous customer requests.
The demand for food deliveries is not just concentrated in the metro. Pampanga, for instance, is a growing hub in the north and it only makes sense for the company to expand there.
From stories of hope and humor, foodpanda's Pampanga riders have them all.
This is Maria Meriel Singson. A rose among the thorns, she is proving that women can be foodpanda riders, too. Singson takes pride in standing out as a woman in a role dominated by men. By now, she is used to receiving a surprised face as soon as customers see that she is female.
'Bilang foodpanda rider, napakasarap isipin na nagiging inspirasyon ako sa ibang mga babae,'' Singson said. ''Pero bilang isang ina, gagawin ko ang lahat para sa mga anak ko. Bonus na lang 'yung napapahanga ko ang iba.''
[As a foodpanda rider, it is nice to think that I am being an inspiration for other women. But, as a mother, I will do everything for my children. Impressing others is just a bonus.]
However, her path is not filled with rainbows and unicorns, as she is still vulnerable to threats any motorcycle rider faces on the road.
'Kahit gaano ka ka-ingat sa daan, basta kung ang kasalubong mo ay barumbado, andiyan pa rin ang aksidente. At sa kaso ko, hindi rin madali maging rider na babae, lalo na 'pag gabi at magde-deliver ako sa mga liblib na daan,'' she said.
[No matter how careful you are on the road when you meet a careless driver, accidents will still happen. And in my case, it is also not easy being a female rider, especially at night and when I deliver in remote roads.]
To those inspired by her story, this is what she says, ''Laban lang!'' [Just fight!]
Another Pampanga rider privy to the dangers of the job is Edison Reyes. Having been doing food deliveries for more than a year, he has experienced just about everything – from irate customers to order cancellations. He recalls one delivery mishap like a scene straight out of a vintage Filipino comedy.
"I was on graveyard shift when I received an order at 10:00 pm, which, in the province, is more like 3:00 am. When I reached the pinned destination, passing through streets that grew narrower and darker, I approached the house and knocked on the gate. To my surprise, in his hand was not the payment, but an itak! I figured that my real customer had pinned the wrong address, so I just made the run for it. I was very embarrassed then," Reyes narrates.
The itak-incident is just one of many situations and as comedic as it may appear, it still shows the challenges that riders experience daily.
It is a good thing that Reyes has this mindset to help him on the job.
''Minsan talaga nakakapagod pero dapat kalmado lang, lalo na 'pag may mga nangyayaring nakaka-BV (bad vibes). Kasi 'pag nase-stress ka, lalo ka lang mapapagod. May mga mangyayari talaga na hindi namin gusto, mga moments na nakaka-bad trip, pero ganun talaga. Good vibes lang all the way!''
[Sometimes it really is tiring, but you just have to be calm, especially when bad vibes are happening. Because when you are stressed, you get more tired. There are things that will happen that we will not like, moments that will make a bad trip, but that is just the way it is. Just think of good vibes all the way!]
Apart from being the oldest and the Queen City of the South, Cebu is home to three exceptional riders. Since foodpanda only requires its riders to have a phone, drive a motorcycle, and wear a uniform, riders are generally free to do their deliveries in their own unique ways.
Mylene Bahinting is a woman, a rider, and a self-professed fashionista. She brings all these things as she delivers the favorite meals of her customers.
''I wear heels while I deliver food. I love dressing up. It makes me feel good and motivated,'' she shares. ''I find ways to keep myself happy and motivated and not think about negative things that would only make me feel drained.''
Bahinting's signature heels are not the only thing that endears her to customers and co-riders alike, because she always tries to give them a reason to smile. ''I make jokes with them because I know this kind of job is not easy,'' she said. ''We always need something to keep us going.''
From a fashionista, now comes a vlogger. If Bahinting is known for her heels, Kerk Macarayag is known for his camera. Macarayag has a penchant for documenting every moment while rediscovering the beautiful views of his hometown. He vlogs his deliveries and shares his experiences with fellow riders.
''I take snapshots and deliver,'' Macarayag said.
''Tungod sa foodpanda, nailhan ko nga si Kerk the Vlogger Rider.''
[Through foodpanda, I got to meet 'Kerk the Vlogger Rider'.]
But more than the beautiful photos, his focus still lies in helping people receive their food orders in the comfort of their homes. It certainly helps that he has a positive disposition in life.
''I always try to be happy and to share good vibes,'' he said.
''Nothing is impossible basta mahal mo lang trabaho mo. Let us continue to share positivity to our fellow riders and our customers. Para sa kanila, hero tayo.''
[Nothing is impossible as long as you love your job. Let us continue to share positivity to our fellow riders and our customers. Because for them, we are heroes.]
Rounding up Cebu's trio of quirky riders is Giovannie Villasenor – a gentle giant with a golden voice.
He is known to entertain his co-riders whenever they are waiting for orders together.
''Minsan kasi habang naghihintay kami ng orders, may konting oras pa kami magkamustahan, so pinapatawa namin ang isa’t-isa sa pamamagitan ng pagkanta at jokes na rin,'' he shares. '''Pag slow day, kumakanta na lang ako para 'di ma-bore. Minsan mag-social media rin, manunuod ng mga TikTok videos.''
[Sometimes while we [the riders] are waiting for orders, we still have some time to hang out, so we make each other laugh by singing and sharing jokes. On a slow day, I just sing to myself so that I do not get bored. Sometimes I will browse on social media or watch TikTok videos.]
Down to the Southern part of the Philippines, people can find unusual but inspiring stories as well.
Daniza Nervida is another female rider breaking stereotypes. Not only that, but she has proven that she can go the extra mile when faced with an unusual request.
'Minsan po may customer ako na pina-akyat ako sa pader nila at pinalakad sa napakadilim na lugar,'' Nervida laughingly recalls.
[One time, I had a customer who asked me to climb their wall and walk in a very dark place.]
Never one to abandon a delivery, no matter how challenging, Nervida successfully scaled the wall with sheer power of will and prayer.
Another thing that keeps her going is whenever she sees the happiness from a satisfied customer.
''The best part of being a foodpanda rider is mahatid ko ‘yung order ng customer nang maayos,'' she shares. ''Masarap sa feeling 'yung satisfied sila at nakangiting tatanggapin ang order nila. Also, I always smile to keep myself motivated.''
[The best part of being a foodpanda rider is when I properly deliver a customer's order. It feels good when they are satisfied and smilingly accept their orders. Also, I always smile to keep myself motivated.]
They are not the only riders with inspiring stories. As foodpanda continues to expand its reach and serve more Filipinos, its family of riders continues to grow.
Back when Luzon was put under stricter community quarantine, Baguio's Doks Garcia was noted for his immediate response in volunteering to help donate goods to senior citizens.
"And advice ko sa mga co-riders ko ay laging gumawa ng mabuti at magtulungan. Sinasabi ko din na dapat iparamdam nila na ang customer ay special para lagi silang o-order sa foodpanda," Garcia shares.
[And my advice to my co-riders, always do good things and help each other. I also say to them [my co-riders] that they should make the customers feel special so they will always order on foodpanda.]
Cagayan De Oro
In Cagayan De Oro, Eduardo Salcedo is a senior citizen who has found a new purpose and a decent stream of income. Despite being initially mocked for his occupation, his critics were eventually inspired to be part of the foodpanda family once they heard about his wages.
"Natawa sila na isang matanda na tulad ko ay papasok sa delivery service. Hindi ko na lang sila pinansin. Pero nung malaman nila magkano ang kinikita ko, 'yung panunuya nila ay napalitan ng tanong kung paano mag-apply."
[They laughed when they found out that someone as old as me will go into the deliver service. I did not mind them. But when they found out how much I am earning, their sarcasm was replaced with questions on how to can apply.]
"March 13 is the luckiest day of my life. That is not my birthday nor my wedding anniversary. Rather, that is the day when I got accepted into the foodpanda family. I am already a senior citizen. No one thought that anyone would hire me at my age, so I was excited to have the opportunity to finally work again, to earn money again," Salcedo shares. "The people around me were not as enthused. They laughed at the idea of an old man getting into food delivery service. I refused to mind them. I remained focused on my duties. When my critics learned how much I was making, their mocking turned into questions about how to apply. Safe to say that I got the last laugh."
Bacolod is no stranger to enthusiastic riders always ready for action. One such tale is Angelyn Guinabo whose enthusiasm proved to be too much for Bacolod roads.
"Sa sobrang excited ko noong araw na 'yun, naticketan ako ng traffic enforcer,'' Guinabo shares, laughing. ''But lesson learned din 'yun para sa akin.''
[In my excitement that day, I received a speeding ticket from a traffic enforcer. But I learned a lesson from that experience.]
Now, Guinabo admits to going her own pace within the speed that the law allows, all without compromising the quality of her work.
Last but not least is the story of a foodpanda rider with a more silent approach.
Karlo Siao Porquez is the only bike rider in the province of Iloilo. He just joined the foodpanda family a couple of months ago, but he is happy to keep up with his motorized co-riders.
"Alam ko na kaya ko rin makipagsabayan kahit bike lang ang gamit ko. Minsan, sinasabihan ko nga sila na napakabagal nila, Porquez shares."
[I know that I can compete with them even if I am using a bike. Sometimes I even tell them that they are too slow.]
For Porquez, it is not important how he reach his destination, but that he is able to answer the food cravings of his fellow Ilonggos.
foodpanda continues to expand in the country. Their motivations for growth is not just driven by consumer's demand, but the need to provide jobs in these tumultuous times.
The company's commitment to service is paired with unique perks for their riders such as shouldered costs for canceled orders, accident insurance through foodpanda's partnership with Manulife and Cebuana Lhuillier, and exclusive data consumption and communication deals with tie-ups to Globe, PLDT-Smart, and Cherry Prepaid. The following are also provided: raincoats, face masks, and other necessary gears. Every rider goes through a prerequisite Protocol Intensive Training to ensure road safety and safe delivery practices.
Whether you are a wall-climbing or stiletto-wearing woman, a senior citizen, or an aspiring singer, foodpanda welcomes all types of individuals and takes pride in their riders. After all, the heart of their service and their business, are these hardworking riders. As for the users, they can also create their own memorable experiences and stories with foodpanda just by using the app to order food and other essentials.
To know more heartwarming foodpanda stories, you can follow their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages. Order food you will love on the foodpanda website or via the new iOS and Android apps.
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