A couple of weeks ago, I learned from one of my friends that Gong Cha Philippines has finally reached the shores of Tacloban and opened its first branch in SM Savemore!
For someone who is a fan Park Seo Joon, it’s pretty embarrassing to say that it took me a little over two months before I found out about it. In my defense though, I don’t get to go out much and even when I do, I don’t visit the downtown area where SM Savemore is located because there’s no reason to since I live near Robinsons Mall. Also, I didn’t realize sooner that I wasn’t following Gong Cha Philippines’ page on Facebook so I missed the update about the opening of the Tacloban branch. Ooops!
I’m sorry, Park Seo Joon. I horribly failed as a fan!
If I had known about it sooner, I’d probably be one of the many people who lined up on the opening day. Anyway, I made a mental note to pay Gong Cha a visit as soon as I get the chance and this week, I finally got to go there and grab my first ever Gong Cha drink!
I was so excited to see Park Seo Joon’s standee but because there were a lot of people, I had to suppress my squeals and went to check their menu instead. I wasn’t really planning on getting myself a drink right then because I thought it was going to be expensive but upon seeing the prices, I hurriedly lined up and ordered a taro milk tea for myself. Yes, taro. It’s my go-to milk tea flavor when it’s my first time to buy a drink from a milk tea shop because I think it’s the safest choice.
I was somehow relieved that they weren’t offering the Park Seo Joon file folder as a freebie for ordering P300 worth of Gong Cha drinks because if they did, I probably would have ended up spending more than P68 just so I could get my hands on the Park Seo Joon file folder. Instead, they were offering Park Seo Joon 2019 Calendar for a minimum purchase of P888.
The original price of the Taro Milk Tea was P105 but I ordered a no-pearl milk tea so it became P95 and then I used my PWD card, which automatically entitles me to a 20% discount and no VAT, so I only paid P68 for my Gong Cha drink. Score! While Gong Cha’s Taro Milk Tea had a nice and refreshing taste, I think I’d still go for Chatime’s Taro Milk Tea because Gong Cha’s had a slightly watered down taste and it wasn’t as creamy as Chatime’s.
That time, there was only one staff on duty so there were about 4-5 people waiting for their delicious Gong Cha drinks to be ready and 3-4 people standing in line and waiting for their turn to order. It’s was good that most of the customers were ladies who were busy watching Park Seo Joon on the flat screen TV so no one complained while he took orders, gave the change, made the drinks and served them. But I personally think that they should always have at least two people manning the shop just in case a flock of people suddenly comes and order a lot of drinks. I got my first ever Gong Cha drink about 15 minutes after I ordered because the staff couldn’t start making the drinks immediately since there were still people waiting in line.
There were only a few tables and the chairs were a little bit uncomfortable to sit on for me since I’ve been experiencing some back pains lately. But I guess it’s okay since people sit there only for a couple of minutes just to wait for their order then they leave right away. However, adding a few more chairs would be great because there were like one or two people who were waiting for their orders while standing in a corner.
What I like:
- easy to find, located near the entrance of SM Savemore
- wide selection of drinks to choose from
- drinks aren’t as pricey as I expected
- free Park Seo Joon merchandise for a minimum purchase
- Park Seo Joon videos playing on the flat screen TV
What I didn’t like:
- slightly watered down taste and a slight lack of creaminess
- very limited number of uncomfortable chairs
- only one staff was on duty making the service a bit slow
- plastic cups, plastic straws, plastic film cup seals
I’m excited to get another Gong Cha drink but I think I will purchase from their Robinsons Tacloban branch next time since it’s much closer to where I live. I had no idea Gong Cha has a branch in Robinsons as well. I just found out a few days after I went to the SM Savemore Tacloban branch. I would rate their SM Savemore Tacloban branch and its ambiance a 3.5 out of 5 and I will give their milk tea a 3.75 out of 5.
Gong Cha ㅡ SM Savemore Tacloban branch
1/F SM Savemore Tacloban, Justice Romualdez St., Downtown, Tacloban City
Gong Cha ㅡ Robinsons Place Tacloban branch
1/F Robinsons Place Tacloban, National Highway, Tabuan, Marasbaras, Tacloban City