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!
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.