A Road Trip To Success with Chowking

Monday, August 30, 2010

Usually events sorta require us to dress up and look good. However, an invitation from Chowking advised us to wear comfortable clothing and discouraged us to wear expensive watches and jewelry. Interesting. So last Thursday morning, in a black tank top, jeans, and my trusty sneakers, I met up with some of my friends and we boarded a shuttle to take us to a Chowking branch in Sunshine Boulevard in Quezon City where we were given survival kits after we registered.
The survival kit contained a towel, antibacterial hand wipes, a bottle of water, a poncho, umbrella, paper, pen, and antibacterial hand gel. I was intrigued as to what we would be doing in a few minutes. Would we be doing an obstactle relay? Scavenger hunt? And where would we be going? I was assured though that it was perfectly okay to bring cameras and in fact, we were encouraged to do so so we could capture this event.

At the function room, we were finally briefed as to what's going to happen. First, we were told that Chowking would be undergoing major revamping, like the new logo and an addition to their menu. Also, we were shown who the five new brand ambassadors of Chowking are. And this is where we found out what this is going to be. Chowking takes us to their humble beginnings, as to where it all started. Apparently, these five ambassadors have something in common - they had very humble beginnings before their own success stories.

When we boarded the bus, we journeyed somewhat southbound then the bus stopped at a gas station. Then, someone familiar came aboard.That's Jericho Rosales (eeee!!!!!!!) on board the same bus as we are. Behind him are some of the members of the security team that was hired to ensure our safety. Who doesn't know Jericho Rosales right? With his endorsements, movies, and TV shows? But who really was Jericho before he was the leading man of primetime TV? He told us that we were going to where he was before. He started out as a fish vendor in Farmer's Market in Cubao. Yep, you got it right. He helped his mom sell fish in the market plus he took on several odd jobs before joining Mr. Pogi in Eat Bulaga, which was the start of his career.

And here we are in Farmer's Market in Cubao, with dozens of fans screaming at Echo as he shares, now to everyone that this in fact, used to be where he worked. His former office, he would say.

After this, he lets us on a treat. We go right in the heart of Farmer's Market where he demonstrates what he used to do then - cleaning fish.
He shows everyone how it's done.... from removing the scales up to the entrails. Everything he does without fidgeting, and without gloves. Just like how he used to do before. Sanay na sanay, and I see no sign of him being grossed out or anything. It was quite amazing that when some celebrities make a 180-degree change with their personalities as soon as they hit the level of success, we have a person like Jericho Rosales who still remains down-to-earth as he is. I've heard that he never forgets the people he gets to talk to. He's the type of guy too who would pose for a photo-op when a fan approaches him at the mall.

After that, we were journeyed again this time to a center for children. Before that, we had a private audience with the second Chowking ambassador, CNN Hero Of The Year, Efren Penaflorida, Jr or Kuya Ef to his students.

Efren was born and raised in the slums. His father was a tricycle driver and his mom a housewife. Despite the lack of funds, he still strived and completed both elementary and high school through scholarships.

Efren shared his knowledge too with streetchildren. He created a "pushcart classroom" where he would teach the streetchildren during his spare time and his materials were actually in a pushcart. That he does while receiving two college degrees with take note - the highest honors. Anyway, he took us to one of his centers but before that... there were these pushcart classrooms set up, which we pushed towards the center where some of his students await.

Efren finally introduces us to some of the volunteers who also teach the kids during their spare time and the kids themselves who welcomed their Kuya Ef. The kids sang and danced with the media before we all distributed the school supplies, which were gifts to them.

We left for the next and final stop, and also we had an audience with the third Chowking ambassador, Kim Chiu.

Kim tells us her experience at the PBB (Pinoy Big Brother) house, and she jokingly tells us that she wanted to be seen on TV and so she tried out for PBB and up to now, she still sees herself on TV. The cute chinita girl back in PBB then has now become a celebrity. However, before PBB Kim was just a shy girl living a very simple and modest life. PBB was the turning point in her life. After winning, we all know the rest is history. Kim is in billboards, print ads, magazine covers, commercials, tv shows, and the big screen.

We arrived at Plaza Ibarra where Kim joins her onscreen partner and former PBB housemate Gerald Anderson where they give us a little taste of what it's like to be in the PBB house and gave us a challenge... to finish an entire box of Chowking chicharap as a group. It was quite a challenge though, since there were a whole lot of it in the bag. Yet I still had the same appetite during lunchtime when we were served Chowking's Tender Beef Broccoli Lauriat, the newest addition to the menu:
I guess beef with broccoli is one of the most iconic Chinese dishes there is and travel all over the world, you see this as a staple in every Chinese restaurant menu. The lauriat here actually costs Php 125 if you buy it and it comes with pancit canton, chicharap, fried dumpling, buchi, plain rice, and drink. You could also order it a la carte (Php 99 with drink). Despite the fact that I devoured an entire box of chicharap a few hours before, I was able to finish this too.After that, we were joined by all four Chowking ambassadors - Jericho Rosales, Efren Penaflorida Jr., Kim Chiu, and Gerald Anderson as they shared more of their experiences on the road to success. The fifth ambassador, Bea Alonzo, who started out as a beauty pageant contestant before becoming one of the finest actresses today wasn't able to make it due to her jampacked schedule but she left a message for everyone.

The event ended at around 3 pm when we all headed home. I was pretty tired from the journey so I decided to go straight home after the shuttle dropped us off. Guess nothing is impossible. We'll never know when the fish vendor in the market would soon become leading man.