It’s been said that anything that a man can do, a woman can do as well. That certainly holds true for the fast-growing quick-commerce industry, where women delivery workers make up a significant chunk of the workforce, thanks to food delivery apps like foodpanda. One of the industry’s leading names and known for its eye-catching brand, foodpanda is also known for giving opportunities to Filipinos regardless of gender to become “Ka Panda” delivery partners.
While we are more familiar with the sight of them on a motorcycle or a bicycle, you might be surprised that others also deliver food on foot– and in foodpanda’s case, these workers are affectionately called ‘Ka-Panda walkers’. For the leading quick-commerce digital platform, having walkers opens up opportunities for those who are non-drivers or do not own a vehicle to still make a living – like 43-year-old Sheila Macabenta, who holds the distinction of being foodpanda’s lone walker in the Dagupan area.
Always jumping from one job to another before becoming a Ka-Panda walker, Sheila is no stranger to hardships. As a single mother and sole provider to her 3 kids, she did not mind these setbacks in the past.
Like any mother, what kept her going is the desire to take care of her children. Her resilience prevailed when one day while browsing through social media, she saw a job posting on the foodpanda riders’ Facebook Page. “Na-amaze at na-curious ako sa trabaho ng isang Ka-Panda walker kaya nag-decide ako mag-apply,” she recounts.
For Sheila, being a Ka-Panda walker is rewarding, but the job also comes with its fair share of challenges – from the unpredictable weather she faces every day to the long walks to deliver her orders. But none of them compares to the fulfillment of being able to support the needs of her family.
“Malaking tulong si foodpanda sa financial needs namin. Nakakaya ko nang tustusan yung mga basic expenses namin katulad ng pagkain, pambayad ng renta sa bahay, at iba pang bills. Mahalaga yun sa mga nanay na tulad ko na mag-isa lang nagtataguyod ng pamilya.”
One thing she also learned from her experience is that respect and determination in her line of work are important. “Pag nagtatrabaho, kailangan ng tiyaga at respeto. Walang trabahong pang-babae o pang-lalaki lang. Basta’t kaya, magpatuloy lang dahil walang madali sa umpisa.”
As we celebrate our ilaw ng tahanan this month, we also honor single parents like her who act as both mother and father, working tirelessly to provide for their families.
No matter what obstacles or hurdles she faced – whether as a single mother or a woman Ka-Panda walker – Sheila has proven that with eagerness and dedication, nothing is impossible. Mothers like her who are able to juggle working and taking care of their families are always an inspiration, and there’s no better gift than making them feel both our love and respect.
So will Sheila keep on “walking” for foodpanda and their customers? “Kahit ilang kilometro man ang kailangang lakarin, hindi ako magsasawang maghatid ng orders sa mga customers namin,” she says. “Kahit ano mang pagsubok, basta’t andyan ang pamilya ko at mga customers na patuloy na sumasaludo sa ginagawa ko, kakayanin ko. Tuloy lang sa lakad ng buhay.”