Other than being required to have smart phone, drive a motorcycle, and wear a uniform, riders of the country’s on-demand food delivery service foodpanda are generally free to go about their deliveries as they wish. For three Cebuano riders, that liberty is exercised by staying true to themselves while they attend to orders.
Among the growing number of female foodpanda riders is Mylene Bahinting. While customers are still surprised to see women doing their deliveries, the shock doesn’t come until the female rider begins to speak on the phone or when she removes the helmet. But for Bahinting, the surprise comes much earlier, as they can hear her strut from miles away, food in hand.
“I wear heels when I deliver food,” she says matter-of-factly. “I love dressing up. It makes me feel good and motivated.”
A self-confessed fashionista, Bahinting lives by the mantra “Look good, feel good.” Feeling good in the food delivery industry, she says, where one deals with all sorts of customers, is of prime importance.
“I find ways to keep myself happy and motivated and not think about negative things that would only make me feel drained,” she says.
Bahinting may be one-of-a-kind for her signature heels, but foodpanda dresses all of its riders with special perks to go with their salaries. For example, the company has made it a matter of policy to shoulder costs of canceled orders. Accident insurance is also provided through foodpanda’s partnership with Manulife and Cebuana Lhuillier. What’s more, riders get exclusive deals to save up on data consumption and communications expenses, thanks to tie-ups with Globe, PLDT-Smart, and Cherry Prepaid.
On days when things seem a little off, Bahinting tries to give her co-riders a reason to smile. “I joke with them because I know this kind of job is not easy,” she says. “We always need something to keep us going.”
For Kerk Macarayag, what keeps him going is the idea that he gets to earn money while rediscovering the beautiful scenery in his hometown.
Macarayag has a penchant for documenting every moment. He never goes on with his deliveries without bringing his camera. He vlogs and shares his experiences with fellow riders.
“I take snapshots and deliver,” he says. “Tungod sa foodpanda, nailhan ko nga si Kerk the Vlogger Rider (Through foodpanda, I got to be known as Kerk the Vlogger Rider).”
While Macarayag keeps his eyes open for the most scenic shots, his focus still lies in helping people receive their food orders in the comfort of their homes. He says the key to marrying passion and pay is having a positive disposition in life.
“I always try to be happy and to share good vibes,” he says. “Nothing is impossible basta mahal mo lang trabaho mo. Let’s continue to share positivity to our fellow riders and our customers. Para sa kanila, hero tayo.”
foodpanda riders truly are undisputed modern heroes. All things considered, they put their lives on the line to deliver us food.
It’s a saying that Giovannie Villasenor seems to know all too well, as the gentle giant makes sure that his co-riders are treated to the performance they deserve through his golden voice.
“Kinakantahan ko sila while waiting for orders,” he says. “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 din.”
Villasenor loves to sing so much that he doesn’t mind belting out even without an audience. “’Pag slow day, kumakanta nalang ako para di ma-bore. Minsan mag-social media din, manunuod ng mga TikTok videos.”
But in all seriousness, Villasenor reminds his co-riders to stay safe all the time, especially during this time of pandemic.
“Sana pagbutihan pa natin ang ating trabaho. Magdeliver ng food safely at panatilihing ligtas ang sarili dahil may uuwian pa tayong pamilya,” he says.
Road safety and safe delivery practices are among the main principles that foodpanda promotes among its riders. The company provides its delivery personnel with raincoats, face masks, and other necessary gear. Also, safety measures are part of riders’ Protocol Intensive Training, a prerequisite that ensures all riders know what to do to help keep themselves and their customers safe.
Now, aside from delivering food, what else do these three foodpanda riders have in common? They are all great inspirations who remind us to be the best, true versions of ourselves all the time.