For those who love reality shows, it's really good news we get to see a local version of The Amazing Race in the Philippines. Thanks to the good people of TV5, they held auditions for the second season and it's bigger, better and way adventurous than the previous one. We got to meet some of the participants a few days ago in an intimate dinner over at Punta, a fine dining restaurant in Liberty Center, Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City. It's owned by Paolo Bediones and serves some of the best fusion-hispanic dishes - so we had a lot to eat. Teams were all present and pretty lovely to see some familiar faces. This season, we have Matt and Phoebe (Dating Couple), Jet and Yna (Siblings), AJ and Jody (Father and Son), Eji and Roch (The Chefs), Vince and Ed (The Nerds), RR and Jeck (Sexy Besties), JP and Kelvin (Team Mr. Pogi), Avy and Tina (The Blondies), Daniel and Charlie (Team Juan Direction), Luz and Chen (Pinay World Champs), Zarah and Osang (The Travel Buddies).
This is no joking matter because if you win this race, you'll get 2 million courtesy of PLDT Home Telpad, 2 brand new house and lots from RCD Homes and 2 brand new spanking Kia Sportage cars. If you also get first place in every leg, you'll get 200,000 courtesy of Shell. You can just imagine how these guys try their best to get to the pit stops, the good ones turn evil I hear!
|Dating Couple Matt and Phoebe|
Matt and Phoebe was a delight to talk to. Their secret, they make friends, then betray them all, they joked. They said their secret really is like a good combination. They're both Viva artists and they've met there while trying to vie for a career in Philippine showbiz. They got to know each other while auditioning for commercials. They're both half British too, he had to go through proper courting because Phoebe's Mom is very conservative. It was a new thing for him because he grew up in the UK. When Phoebe's Mom was around, he had to take her home strictly on the time they said she's going home, the whole 9 yards. It's too early for weddings but they are talking about it. If they have plans with Viva, they will grab the opportunity and Amazing Race is a great place to start. They want the prize too and if they win, they want to invest it with themselves, savings, and perhaps to take care of Matt's Dad. They watched previous seasons to prepare but they know how different Amazing Race Philippines is since they have alliances here most of the time. They say it's a cultural thing. It's a cut throat competition and they did 2 months straight gym to win. They've won 2 legs already and that's 200K already, if they win the big one that would surely change their lives. They understand that it's part of the game. They helped the Team One Direction once and they got bad blood with the other teams after that. They will continue to strive to win this game for sure.
|Jet and Yna, the Siblings|
Jet and Yna didn't have any sob stories, they have a happy family and happy life and they want to prove that they can win this too. When asked, they immediately said the whole journey is tiring. The initial round, they thought they were already going home but they got very lucky. They were surprised that they also got in the second or third position even if they had problems with the tasks. Jet is very protective, she took good care with Yna in the earlier tasks because he thought they would fail if Yna would just sit around if she gets tired. They want to be first, but just as long they get into the race they would be happy about that. Their edge, mental challenges. That's the reason they got very good with puzzles over physical challenges. They got mislead with the clues once and that put Jet on the edge of the building. He's afraid of heights because he got into an accident with hot air balloons before and that got him bed ridden. When he had to traverse rappel on SM, he didn't have any choice but to do it. Yna's exercise was just shopping, they both want to win this though and they want to be the first one on the last leg of the race. Even if they always come second, the last race would matter the most. They want to treat their parents to travel, bags for their Mom, they auditioned in Pampanga and this was their biggest break. Will they win this? I hope so. They want it real bad too! They both have day jobs, but if they have the chance to be in the limelight, they would gladly grab the opportunity too.
|Half of the Nerds, Ed|
The other half of the nerds is in Baguio working. Ed is still a student of UP, he's taking up Communications Research. He's a huge fan of reality shows and he always wanted to be part of this. When the auditions came, he gave it a shot. Vince and Ed were friends in high school. They became friends and close in an NGO and they plan to donate to that same org when they win. Ed says he learned Vince is very competitive, if he's stressed or getting pressured, he would shout at Ed and he understands it's part of the race. He's not like that everyday so it was surprising for him. They want to try things that they don't want to do, the race taught them not just to be physically prepared but going to the pressure was a big deal for them. The SM Aura challenge kept them very afraid of the next challenges because that got them to do 29 stories down the facade of the mall. After that, they were so quiet because they literally were trembling. The alliances do work he says and there's a more social meaning behind that in the Philippine version. It's not like in the other countries, early in the game you have to have friends so that they don't yield you. He knows the challenges are going to get harder, they'll be going around the Philippines and it's a nice thing to get to see that soon on the show.
|Chefs Eji and Roch|
Chefs Eji and Roch had a lot on their table but they had one leg of the race where they had to just ride a ferris wheel and go down after a breathtaking view of Tagaytay. The sand castle challenge got them second degree burns because of it. They couldn't carry their bags because they had their skin hurting from that. They didn't quit though because that's what they agreed on before they started. They want the prize too, if they get to be artists after this, that would be a good thing for them. They reiterated though that they want the 2 Million pesos that they'll win this race. They are very competitive in their own fields but not with each other. That's how they are. They are office mates but they get to know each other more during the race since they sleep together and stuff. Their experience in the kitchen helped a lot they say because it employs the same principle in life. You have to present it nicely and make it good just like when you're cooking it. That's how they want to finish this race, and win it for the right reasons.
|Tina, half of the Blondies|
Tina was gorgeous. Her partner is in Thailand for work during this interview since she had to do an expo. Tina learned a lot about her sister during this game, even if they knew each other she was surprised that her sister did a lot of physical things. Tina had the talent of doing the mental challenges so that's something new for them. She had to do the SM Aura challenge though, she was very afraid because she had to finish it fast since they're lagging behind. Their secret is team work, they don't even clash and don't waste energy and time in confrontations. That's how they roll. They have a 3 year age difference but expected they will have rifts since they watched previous shows. That's why they are calm if you watch the show. If others would go through that, Tina and Abby won't be part of it. Their parents are so excited and so proud for them that they go tell them to focus on the challenges - and ultimately hope they win.
|Father and son team AJ and Jody|
I found AJ's Father to be even into this race than him. His enthusiasm showed while we were interviewing them for the show. He told us that he didn't want to fail his son and doesn't want to be the cause of delay every time they did a challenge. He admits he's a little slow. I saw his son getting mad at him in the show. He knows how it feels like how to "want" to win. They're both athletes and that's already in the family, they are comfortable even in fights like that. Dad wants his son to take charge because AJ knows the race more. Dad is into a business and had to change priorities, he had to learn the whole process and doesn't get to be the last team to arrive. They are still in the race. The son is impatient and they already know how to handle it as a team. Dad learned to be very patient and considerate with his son, he's 54 years old and he was just initially here for fun but when they were competing he realized to do this seriously. It's a privilege to be with his son and competing with other players that are way younger than him. He hopes the money goes straight to their bank, or perhaps AJ's Mom since that's Jody's boss at home. He's a student athlete for UP Diliman and Dad coached before. Their edge, is Dad's wisdom. Even if they thought it was going to be tough for Dad, the running was the worst part of it because they had to do it a lot of times during the race. Dad even did the SM Aura rappel and was the first one to finish it. He's proud of his Dad, but when asked Dad didn't want to do it anymore. He doesn't want to have a heart attack. He's proud to show that to older people, to live a life even if they're at that age. AJ wants to enter show business too, but Dad says if it pays better than his business why not?
|Half of Sexy Besties, meet Jeck|
Jheck got the wrath of RR in the show during one leg. RR almost wanted to hit her literally and you'll see that on TV. RR toned down a bit during the interviews and was a little nuts doing that. Jeck didn't want to show that she's a war freak because her son is watching. Good job on that part. It's the first time for her to be in a blogcon so she asked a lot of questions about that. RR was in the event earlier but had to leave because of some personal matters she had to attend to. She thinks their friendship became really strong after that, they had a breakdown but cried and got calm afterwards. RR became a Christian and had that hidden for a long time, you'll probably see hidden scenes on some DVD. Jeck learned that RR is a true friend, the situation during the race made them throw personal things at each other and got them both hurt. Jeck wants to stick topics with the show and not involve people like her husband. They're okay now and laughed it off because they both realized how pressured they've become during the race. Will they win this thing? I don't know. You better watch how they fare on the next leg!
|Team Mr. Pogi indeed, JP and Kelvin|
Ladies, keep your panties on. This is Team Mr. Pogi. After their stint in the show, they tried out for this since they're not in a contract with any managers or TV station yet. They wish to be artists too and hopes they get noticed during the show. They want to beat the Dating Couple though, because of the fact that they've got voted by them even if they had to defend them with other teams. They said they got developed with each other (then laughed it off). Kelvin said he did mature quite a bit on the show because he was always happy go lucky, he didn't do decisions like what he did on this show. JP on the other hand thinks he learned to be more of a big brother to him. He learned not to underestimate Kelvin now because he had to do that in the past. They decided to join the race when they saw the ads on TV. They thought they were not going to get in but luckily they did. They think the station has plans for them even after the show and if there's an opportunity, they will grab it. Their friendship is their secret weapon, plus teamwork. There are some instances where they had to go back because they haven't read the clue. That caused a lot of delay. These two are so fun to talk to, humble as well. I hope they get to win some legs or even the show, they want to win like the others of course!
|Team Juan Direction's Charlie|
Charlie is in this race with Daniel Marsh but wasn't in this event because of prior commitments. He finds the race was really fun, it was a rollercoaster of emotions. It was happy, surprising, sad, happy, hopeful in one day. It was easy to work with Daniel since he lived with him for quite a while. The race was stressful and Daniel didn't do well with that. Charlie did everything else because stress blinds them from thinking clearly. They make rash choices. It was about running out of luck on the last leg that got them out of the race because they didn't get to do that properly leaving them behind on the PUTO challenge. They have a couple of shows lined up and they're still in Season 4, whilst season 5 is in the works. They have work and they're having fun, that's what is important for them now. To go down a building face first was a feat, the whole show was intense and joining it was a really good opportunity. For them, trust is a big thing in this game as it is played quite differently in the Philippine version. Next time, they're going to stop, relax and take it in with a perspective.
It was fun to see TV5's "The Amazing Race Philippines", you get to travel with them, experience different cultures from different parts of the country and still have that eagerness to win a fortune. I love every bit of the game and they're falling one by one every week. Who do you think will win? My guess is as good as yours, we have to watch the show and see how all their journeys end.
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