THE iconic Philippine Airlines arroz caldo — available in the Mabuhay Lounge for business class passengers or frequent fliers — became a sort of status symbol a few years back.
Now, with flights and travel restricted because of the pandemic, PAL has announced that it will soon be offering its iconic dish as a takeaway box.
PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna teased the to-go version of the dish on her Facebook page.
“COMING SOON, PAL ARROZ CALDO-TO-GO!” Villaluna said (in all caps, to boot). “The Catering Department is currently on a packaging and delivery simulation — a dry run that ends with one happy tummy!”
She posted teaser pictures of both the packaging and its contents: a container of the porridge pack, as well as sachets of the toppings.
Villaluna also posted a close-up picture of the package’s microwave instructions.
Maria Criselda Rayos of PAL Catering told Esquire’s Sasha Lim Uy that there was no secret to the iconic dish. According to her, it’s all about “the proper proportion of two types of rice, fresh and powder stock bases, quality chicken pieces, and the marriage of flavors from the toppings of green onions, fried garlic, salted egg, fried anchovies, and calamansi."
In her Facebook post, Villaluna did not give a specific date for the launch of the arroz caldo or how we can get it. “Will keep you posted on its official launch and how this PAL treat can be delivered right at your doorstep,” she wrote.
It’s a spot of good news from the beleaguered brand, which recently announced that it would cut 2,300 jobs — equivalent to 30 percent of its workforce — earlier this month. This is part of its “company-wide workforce reduction program” as a way to manage the losses of the pandemic.
PAL president Gilbert F. Sta. Maria said in a statement: "This has been an extremely difficult and painful decision. For our colleagues who are leaving, rest assured that we are committed to support you through this transition. We extend to you our deepest gratitude for your years of hard work and dedicated service, and we will always cherish the ties you have established with the PAL family.”