First Panda Express Restaurant In Manila

I was surprised to see a picture of some of my running friends eating at the Panda Express Restaurant/Fast Food on Facebook and I have to immediately research on the exact location of the place. I found out later that the Fast Food Branch is located at the SM Megamall Shopping Center. At the first chance that I went to Metro Manila to have a meeting and transact some business with my financial investment offices, I had to make a schedule to actually see and dine with the said restaurant.

For the past years that I have been visiting the United States, it was always Panda Express where I would eat a fast Chinese cuisine. Actually, I was in the United States for the first time when I went on a military schooling in Fort Benning, Georgia that I was able to find out and ate at the first branch of the said restaurant in Glendale, California. After my schooling, I stayed for almost a year in Los Angeles, California as part of my academic leave. During this brief period, I have seen how the franchise grew in Los Angeles and most parts of California. Since then, Panda Express is my first choice for a fast Chinese Cuisine whenever I would stay and visit the United States. And it is so funny that whenever I leave Los Angeles Airport for my trip back to Manila, Panda Express would be my last meal before boarding the plane. However, it is not necessary that I would crave for the said restaurant as soon as I arrive in Los Angeles.

Intrigue if their first branch in the Philippines have the same taste as the food they serve after 38 years that they had been in the United States since it was founded, I would not let my next opportunity to visit Manila to pass without having my meal at the Panda Express at SM Megamall. And so, on February 26, 2021, I had my lunch with my favorite Panda Express Meal consisting of Fried Noodles (Chow Mein)/Half, Friend Rice/Half, Orange Chicken (Small), Beef Broccoli (Small), and Coke. The whole Panda Plate Meal was priced at P 275.00 (less 20% of my Senior Citizen’s Discount which is P 50.00). So, I paid P 225.00 for the Plate Meal. Not bad! As far as I can remember, this Panda Plate Meal would cost me $ 11-12.00 to include the Softdrinks based from my experience on my last visit to the United States last November 2019. From the pricing alone, the serving is very cheap.

Now let us go to the taste of each of the food I have ordered. They got the taste of the Orange Chicken at 100% the same as what is the taste in the US. For the Fried Rice, Chow Mein, and Beef Broccoli, they need more some soy sauce for a more salty taste. Maybe, it is just me but my taste prefer more of the salty side. When I asked from the waitress for some sachet of soy sauce and hot sauce which are normally present and readily available as condiment in the US, the waitress said that they don’t have any. So, those are two things that the restaurant should improve on: tastier fried rice/chow mein/beef broccoli and the availability of soy sauce and hot sauce or any condiments in sachets. Overall, the service is very fast! Lastly, the restaurant don’t have a trash bin where the customers could bring their used trays and styro packs/plates. It is always my practice to throw the styro pack/plate to the trash bins and leave the serving tray on top of the trash bin. McDonald’s Fastfood outlets have this kind trash bins where each customer are encouraged to clean their table after eating.

For those who have not experienced eating at Panda Express, it is highly recommended for you to experience how the food is served and how their food taste as a Chinese Cuisine. Finally, I am glad that Panda Express is already in the Philippines. Will it prosper or be successful here for the locals? Only time will tell!

Covid-19 Vaccine Arrived In The Philippines

February 28, 2021

Few minutes before 5:00 PM of February 28, 2021, a military cargo plane of the People’s Republic of China arrived at the Manila International Airport carrying 600,000 dosages of the SINOVAC vaccine from China. Government officials led by President Rodrigo Duterte and the Ambassador of China witnessed the arrival of the cargo plane and the vaccines. In an interview by the media in the said event, the President announced that the vaccines were donated by the Government of China to the Philippines and the Philippines is the only country where the vaccines were delivered among the 51 countries that were given with the same vaccine.

March 1, 2021

In the morning of Monday, March 1, 2021, the vaccination of SINOVAC had started in key places in Metro Manila to include the UP Philippine General Hospital; Veterans Memorial Center; Lung Center of the Philippines; V. Luna Medical Center; and Ceremonial Vaccination held at Camp Crame Hospital for the PNP. The immediate and almost “real-time” news of key officials of the Department of Health, UP PGH, and the government had brought confidence on the public to erase doubts on the effectiveness and efficacy of the said vaccine. These vaccines will be administered to the health workers in the hospitals with Covid-19 cases as patients as they are the first priority to receive such.

In a “Live” Meeting with the President in the evening, it was announced that there will be immediate delivery of vaccines to the South in the cities of Cebu and Davao and other key cities where there are new cases of the Covid-19 within the week.

The arrival of the initial batch of Covid-19 vaccines from the Republic of China is a good news and development for the country. There is also an indication from the statements of the President that more vaccines will arrive in the Philippines in the coming days and weeks. Personally, it is my assessment that the Philippines is not among the last nations that have started its Covid-19 vaccination program. We are on the top one-thirds of the total number of countries that had implemented this program. In the days ahead, more vaccines will be produced by these popular pharmaceutical companies and new vaccines will be available in the market, these Covid-19 will be manageable in due time. At the rate we are going, the Philippines vulnerable population to the virus (ages 18-80) will be vaccinated by the end of 2022. That is my personal prediction.

Fresh Coconuts

I have coconut trees in my backyard but they are too tall that nobody among my assistants can climb them and harvest their fruits. For the past 4-5 years, the fruits of our coconut trees are just left to mature and dry from the tree until they just drop to the ground. This is the reason why I have a collection of young coconut seedlings ready to be planted in my backyard. So far, I have counted 36 seedlings ready to be planted.

In the last few days, I would ask my assistant to look for fresh coconut in the neighborhood and in small stores to be purchased for my daily drinks. After spending a few pesos for this activity, I thought of asking my assistant for anybody who could be paid to harvest fresh coconuts in one of the trees in the backyard. Why would I buy fresh coconuts when I have with me coconut trees with unharvested fruits? The task to look for somebody to climb took some days to be done. Somebody presented himself but his asking fee to climb and harvest the fruits was too high where he would put a cost for every single fruit that could be harvested. I really don’t know if this is an effect of the on-going Covid-19 situation in the area where anybody would take advantage to earn money due to the present predicament.

Finally, my assistant was able to get a good deal/arrangement with a guy who would do the job. In less than 30 minutes, the job is done and I paid the guy. It was a “win-win” situation. I was happy that I have already a stock of fresh coconuts which is good for the coming weeks.

It had been for the past two days that I have been drinking fresh coconut juice and eating its tender meat. I usually open up two pieces of coconut fruits everyday. These harvested coconuts will take a longer time to be consumed. Before I drink the juice, I usually put it in a pitcher and have it cooled in the refrigerator together with the tender flesh or meat. The coconut juice is now a part of my hydration on a daily basis.

Heritage Boots

As I mentioned in my previous post, I became interested about US Heritage Boots during the Covid-19 Lockdown Period last year and it was in September 2020 that I started to focus on my readings and research on the Internet on a particular brand which is the Red Wing Shoe which is based in Red Wing, Minnesota, USA. I found out about this shoe brand from a Facebook Page carrying the title with the name of the shoe brand and I started to make a research about the brand on the Internet. Their almost daily posts on the said Facebook Page had attracted my attention and I found out that there is only one store in the Philippines (Grind Store) that is an Authorized Dealer (AD) of the said brand. But the branch of the said store that was very active (until this time) in advertising their Red Wing Shoes Models was their store located at Glorietta 3 Mall, Makati City. In one of those days, I decided to contact through Messenger the Sales Representative (Abby Gonzaga) and asked her about the availability of the different Models in their Store. And the rest is history!

Last October 9, 2020, I bought my first Red Wing Shoe which is the Iron Ranger 8111 Amber Harness. Personally visiting the store once the Covid-19 Lockdown was downgraded to a lesser restriction was the best decision I have made to purchase the said boots. Through my readings and research, the most asked question among new buyers is the correct sizing for the boots. The best way for me to determine my proper size with the Iron Rangers is to personally try each shoe size that is near to my usual shoe size in boots and dress shoes. I usually use Size 9 1/2 in my running shoes (whether they are road or trail shoes); Size 9 in my Dress Sneakers like Converse, Onitsuka Tiger, and NIKE Basketball Sneakers; and Size 8 in my dress shoes and dress boots. Since these Heritage Boots are considered as Work Boots, I thought I need a bigger size since they are made of leather. Finally, I was able to “zero-in” my correct size with the Red Wing Iron Ranger which is Size 8 D (Medium width).

Being a retired military man, I have been familiar in using Boots as it is part of our Combat Uniform. However, my size on Combat Boots had been one size bigger which is Size 9D which allows much toe space for thicker socks and tendency for the feet to expand in prolonged marching, hiking, and standing. Almost 2/3 of my military service, I have been using Combat Boots and I know the feeling how to walk, hike, march and even jog/run with them. Actually, two years after I retired, I bought a Dress Boots from Cole Haan which has the size 8D and with a shaft length of 5 1/2 inches. The said boots had been used for so many years that it was only last month that I needed them to be resoled and polish them again. I think there is truth in the observation that retired or former military personnel would always go back wearing their boots again in their civilian lives! Those boots would be dress boots, work boots, heritage boots, or simply replica or copy of their service boots.

So, the Red Wing Iron Ranger 8111 Amber Harness is my first Heritage Boots which is Made In The USA. I really love them as I was able to naturally “break them in” as weeks of wearing them go by. By the way, Red Wing Shoe is a family-owned business company that was founded in Red Wing, Minnesota, USA in 1905. The Iron Ranger Model got its name when the said boots was made for the iron miners in those times. The leather that composed the boots was thick and sturdy which became popular among the workers in the first decade of the 20th century.

Red Wing Iron Ranger 8111 Amber Harness

Here is the description of the Red Wing Iron Ranger Model as I have copied from their Website:

The Iron Ranger was originally built for iron miners in the 1930s. In the decades since, it has grown indispensable for owners from all walks of like, thanks to its iconic style and longevity. The six-inch boots signature feature is a leather toe cap that is as distinctive as it is durable. Each pair develops a personalized fit and custom comfort over time thanks to leather insoles and a cork midsole that form to the feet. The boots are built with a Goodyear welt and Puritan triple-stitch construction, and brass speed hooks provide precision lacing and a visual hit of hardware. The Iron Ranger is anchored with a Vibram 430 Mini-Lug outsole.

In the next posts, I will tell you about my review on this Heritage Boots. Thank you for reading.

A New Direction, New Stories

Starting today, February 11, 2021, this blog will be anything under the sun. Aside from running and my outdoor lifestyle and experiences, I will be making some stories of anything I can think of, whether it is about fashion, food, news and current events, my personal opinion on events, and maybe some repost of things that I want to share to my readers.

I think this will a way and good reason for me to write again in this blog. As I grow and become older, I have been not so consistent with my daily runs as my runs had been transformed to hiking/walking in my backyard and within my playground. After I have finished a 4-month “virtual race” last year, I had to rest and instead of going back to running, I have managed to do some hiking for the past months. Such hikes would last up to 2 hours as my longest duration and on regular basis, a short hike lasting for one hour. Sometimes, I would carry a backpack with weight in it for more effort and challenge.

Since September 2020, I became interested with Heritage Boots which by chance was able to discover them on Facebook. After one month of reading and researching about the history of Heritage Boots in the Internet, I became interested in them. Luckily, there is a popular brand which is the “Red Wing Shoe” that is locally available in my country. Through a Facebook Page, I finally decided to try the said brand and bought one pair of boots.

With my subscription with You Tube and being able to revive my Channel, I found out that there is a lot of videos about the Red Wing Shoe Heritage Boots. Maybe, this could be one of the reasons why I finally decided to buy my first pair of such brand. On October 9, 2020, I bought my first pair of the said brand with their Iron Ranger Model 8111. I have posted two videos of this particular Heritage Boots Model in my You Tube Channel since then. I will post a link of these videos in the next days to come.

Having bought an Iron Ranger 8111 Amber Harness (colored brown) in an Authorized Store of the said brand in Metro Manila had given me the comfort and peace of mind of getting the right size for my feet. Sizing of new users of the Red Wing Shoe is always the most discussed topic in the Internet. Whether in FB Pages, Groups and Internet Forum, this “sizing” topic (how to get the right size) would always flood the comments section in the You Tube Channel and other Discussion Groups. Because I was able to try different sizes in the said store, I was able to zero-in my right size. Just like in any other International Shoe Brands, I shoe size is 8D! Most of my Signature Brand Shoes are size 8D except for my Corcoran Jump (Combat) Boots which is 9D, the Combat Boots that I used on the last 10 years of my active military service. I think I will have a separate story about my Corcoran Jump Boots which is also considered as one of the Heritage Boots that is Made In The USA.

Since my purchase with my first Red Wing Iron Ranger 8111 Amber Harness, my interest now is being directed to Heritage Wear or Vintage Wear and their respective stories that go with them.

As I don’t want to create another blog site for this topic (Heritage & Vintage Wear) and for my personal opinion and other things that I could think of, I decided to use this website just to continue with my subscription with WordPress. So, practically I am back to blogging again.

Kilian Jornet’s Failed Attempt To Break 24-Hour Running Record

Kilian Jornet (KJ) is presently the world’s best mountain trail ultramarathon runner who won almost all the hardest and most challenging ultramarathon trail races; mountain running races; and had ran from Camp #1 to the peak of Mt Everest twice without the aid of any oxygen support. He is from Catalonia, Spain but he is now residing in Norway with his family (wife and child).

Last October 17, 2020, he ran a 10K flat road race at Hytteplanmilla, Norway and finished with a time of 29:59 minutes which was his first experience and exposure in road running. A few days after, he announced, together with his Shoe Sponsor, Salomon, that he is going to attempt to break the 24-Hour Endurance World Record of 303.5 kilometers (189 miles) made by Yiannis Kouros on October 4, 1997 in Adelaide, Australia. The event was called “Phantasm 24” where KJ will run with other Norway’s fast road marathon runners in an Oval Track in Mandalen, Norway. The objectives of the event were: (1) Break the World Record of Yiannis Kouros in the 24-Hour Run; and (2) Promote the New Salomon S/LAB Phantasm shoes for Road Racing. The event was scheduled on November 27, 2020 with much hype in the printed media as well as in the Internet. It was featured LIVE on Facebook.

Barely one hour before the Start of the event, I posted a video on my You Tube Channel with the prediction that Kilian Jornet will FAIL in his attempt to break the course record.

Prediction/Forecast On KJ’s Attempt To Break The 24-Hour Record

I watched the LIVE Coverage of the Event from the Start on Facebook up to the middle of the 6th Hour and then went to bed. As I woke up the following day, I was surprised to find out on my Facebook Newsfeed that Kilian Jornet had dropped from the event at 10:20 hours covering a distance of 134.8 kilometers with a freezing temperature. According to the video posted by Kilian Jornet on Instagram, he felt intense pains in his chest and started to get very dizzy and exhausted. His medical team immediately checked on him and he was advised to be brought to the hospital for some tests.

Hereunder is the comparison of the number of laps between Yiannis Kouros Run and Kilian Jornet’s Run:

Comparing from the 1st Hour to the 4th Hour, Yianni Korous and Kilian Jornet were the same in the number of laps that they have finished. But on the 5th Hour, Kilian was behind 2 laps and that started the downfall in Kilian Jornet’s attempt to break the Course Record of Yianni Kouras of running 303.5 kilometers in 24 hours. And at the 5th hour, KJ was overlapped for so many times by another runner, Sebastian Conrad Hakannson, who was a consistent winner of the Oslo Marathon Triple Race (Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 10K Race in the same day).

On the 6th hour, I have observed that he was spitting something on the track which was followed with a “pit stop” and I knew that something was wrong. From there, I went to bed and as I woke up the following day, I saw on my Facebook Newsfeed that KJ had dropped at 10:24 hour mark and finished 134.8 kilometers or 83.13 miles. 

What went wrong? Here are my personal opinion about KJ’s attempt to break the course record:

  1. Lack of training on flat road and oval track, most specially on track where you have a lot of curves. Even if the direction of run is changed every 4 hours, the body needs to adapt to this kind of running for a considerable time. Yiannis Korous took a lot of attempts to reach the 300K distance in the past.
  2. Nutrition could be the most important factor that KJ failed to consider. A runner could not survive with only Gels and drinks for Timed Events.
  3. Colder Environment: there is less perspiration on body liquid loss but a runner needs more energy to generate the normal heat or temperature for the body. Solid food is the only source of calories that generate heat to the body.
  4. Higher elevation vs Sea Level performance: Yiannis Kouros did his run in a place where the elevation is not much or near sea level elevation. KJ should think if it is better for him to train in higher elevation and do the attempt on a lower elevation.
  5. According to his Salomon Team, he was feeling dizzy and have some knee pain developing. So officially, it can be deduced that his dizziness was brought about by a nutrition problem and his knee pain could be attributed to some muscular deficiency.

In due time, Kilian Jornet will bounce back and break the 24-hour run record with more training and some adjustments in his strategy. Yiannis Kouros did attain or did the course record with a single attempt, instead, it took him almost 13 years with lots of failures in this feat.