Two weeks into “The Amazing Race Philippines” and viewers are learning more and more about the competing teams.
In the first leg of the race that covered most of Metro Manila and five episodes, gym buddies Marc and Kat gave notice to everyone that all is fair in love and war, while dating couple Crystel and Mykey found out the hard way that love does not always conquer all.
And Alabang housewives Pamela and Vanessa learned that a little luck may not go a long way in overtaking the favored teams but it can at least get them to the next leg of the race.
Crystel and Mykey were actually doing okay in the early stages, finishing 7th in the Manila Yacht Club challenge where the racers were asked to decode the nautical phrases from clues scattered all over; 4th at the Baccarat stage at the Midas Hotel and Casino, and 8th at the bingo game in Plaza Miranda.
But they stumbled big time in the Pindot or Ikot detour at Star City. Choosing Ikot, the sweethearts needed to answer three mathematical questions while riding the pendulum ride, Star Frisbee. Not getting the first question correct meant that they had to take the dizzying ride again.
After almost collapsing and opting to rest, Crystel and Mykey had little luck switching to the Pindot task and eventually brothers-in-law Fausto and Dayal and Alabang housewives Pamela and Vanessa caught up with them.
At the first pit stop at UST, the couple found themselves in a foot race to the finish with the feisty housewives and lost. With one last chance to be saved, race master Derek Ramsay then asked first place finishers Marc and Kat if they wanted to use their Salvage Pass to gain a 30-minute advantage in a given task or save the last placers from elimination.
With their eyes on the prize, Marc and Kat naturally chose the 30-minute advantage and Crystel and Mykey were eliminated.
The second leg of the race found the 10 remaining teams racing to historic Vigan in Ilocos Sur in a three-episode cliffhanger that concluded with another down-to-the-wire finish.
Enjoying a 10-minute headstart, Marc and Kat were forced to use their 30-minute advantage to the get to the first cluebox as compadres Boom and Cheng and bombshells Dani and Mish were hot on their trails.
Things got more interesting at the Vigan Public Market as the racers stumbled on their next Detour, the Nguya or Gawa challenge where they would either make two dozen longganizas (Gawa) or eat 70 longganisas (Nguya) in order to get their next clue.
“Longganisa queen!”Jervi screamed, never forgetting that humor is one thing that’s keeping their team within striking distance of the leaders.
Either of the two tasks turned out to be a daunting one for all of the teams, even for Marc and Kat who initially chose Nguya but switched to Gawa after these health buffs found the longganisas too fatty for comfort.
But no one was more frustrated with the task than Dani who could not rely on partner Mish to make the longanisas. Even though she’s a vegetarian, Dani opted to eat the longganizas so their team could advance to the next task.
“u could’ve help me eat the longanisa. if we made it wrong, we got to do it again. u saw me struggling, u should’ve help”, Dani tweeted her partner.
“I was not ok with eating at all we discussed this and agreed to choose ‘make’. U wudn’t even try2 help make b4 begging 2 eat,” Mish shot back.
By comparison, the other team of sexy celebrity friends CJ and LJ have kept their composure and just endured eating all those longanisas. In 7th place at the beginning of the leg, they finished second in this task and found themselves trailing and forming an alliance with Marc and Kat for the next task.
At the intersection of Barangay Pagburnayan, two teams must combine forces and transport 50 burnay jars to Calle Crisologo using a horse-driven bamboo cart as their only mode of transportation. There was a one-minute penalty for every jar that would get broken in excess of five during their transport.
For breaking 11 jars, Fausto and Dayal and Dani and Mish were slapped with an 11-minute penalty while the foursome of reunited friends Sheena and Gee and Pamela and Vanessa broke 20 jars and got a 20-minute penalty, allowing the other teams to widen their time lead as they headed to the next Roadblock on Quirino Bridge.
There, one team member must ride a kayak and paddle through the river to reach his partner who would rappel down the bridge. Once reunited, the team must then reach the river banks by kayak to receive their next clue.
“Ang sakit na ng singit ko!” Saida cried after hanging in her rappel for several minutes while waiting for Jervi to get to her.
Marc and Kat kept their leads at this juncture but CJ and LJ are right behind with amigas Saida and Jervi and father and daughter team Ed and Angel not too far behind. Football brothers Anton and Armand are right behind them as were Boom and Cheng.
The last clue directed the racers to Plaza Burgos, where they must play the classic Pukpok Palayok game. Only one blindfolded team member was allowed to smash the clay pot which contained their next clue, while the partner would use a tambourine to guide the blindfolded teammate to the pot.
Compared to the other challenges, this was fairly easy for all the 10 teams. Finishing this would yield them their next and final clue, which turned out to be a mad dash to the pit stop where the last placer could be eliminated.
Marc and Kat won their second leg in a row and another P200,000 prize from sponsor American Tourister, bringing their total winnings to P400,000 so far. They were followed by CJ and LJ, Saida and Jervi and Armand and Anton.
The football brothers improved their standing after finishing sixth in the first leg. But they were told by Derek that he could check them in because they did something that deserved a time penalty. So fourth place went to Ed and Angel followed by Boom and Cheng, Sheena and Gee and Dani and Mish.
Then in an unwelcome case of déjà vu, Pamela and Vanessa found themselves in another foot race to the finish, this time against Fausto and Dayal, who easily outran them to the pit stop.
Resigned to their fate that it was the end of the line for them, they were surprised to learn that luck was still on their side.
“I commend your spirit and honesty kaya siguro meron kayong anghel na nagbabantay sa inyo,” Derek said before telling the overjoyed housewives and viewers’ favorites that yes, they are still in the race.
This brings us back to Armand and Anton. Turns out one of them made a phone call to someone from outside the race, which is against ‘TARP’ rules. When asked to explain, Anton said it was his fault, he missed his mother and just wanted to say hi.
That outside communication cost their team a 24-hour penalty, making them the last placers instead of Pamela and Vanessa. Pre-race favorites to win it all, the early elimination of the Azkals brothers was a shocking conclusion to the latest episode of “The Amazing Race Philippines”.
As the race continues, will Marc and Kat maintain their lead for the third leg in a row? Or will CJ and LJ, who are now beginning to work like a well-oiled machine, catch up with them?
More importantly, how long will the luck of the Alabang housewives hold? Will they finish last again and still be in contention after another team unwittingly breaks the rules? Can they be more than just the comic relief that most viewers see them?
“The Amazing Race Philippines” airs every Mondays to Fridays at 9PM and Saturdays at 8:30PM on TV5.