New twists & turns in The Amazing Race Asia

() - October 8, 2006 - 12:00am
kUALA LUMPUR – Victory belongs to the most persevering. Televiewers across the world will find out if there’s any truth to this when AXN’s The Amazing Race goes Asia on Nov. 9 at 9 p.m.

Roughly a thousand pairs of two persons each responded to the invitation of the four-time Emmy award-winning reality TV show to be part of it. The number was trimmed down to 10 teams that got the privilege to globetrot, hurdle challenges, locate the clues and be seen all over Asia and beyond.

The Amazing Race Asia promises new twists and turns as participants traverse the road to the finish line.

"Luck is just as important as skills and abilities," say BJ and Tyler, winners of The Amazing Race Season Nine. "We were just very lucky. We didn’t play dirty. We didn’t make it easy for the other contestants."

Asked what’s the best thing one can do in a race, the two chorus, "Have much fun while racing and maximize your time."

Hopefully, this is what husband and wife tandem of Ernie and Jeena Lopez and best friends Aubrey Miles and Jacqueline Yu will do during the race. They are the only Pinoys in the Asian special. They will join contestants from Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia.

They will battle it out for the $100,000 prize at stake.

"We are nervous and proud," says Aubrey of making it to the final cut of The Amazing Race Asia. "Being here is like winning. We have to do our best. This is not something we will give up easily."

Aubrey and Jacqueline are big fans of the show. They have been religiously watching it since season one. So when AXN announced about The Amazing Race Asia, The Paris Hilton-Nicole Richie tandem never had second thoughts of joining the audition.

"We are different as individuals but we share the same interests like going to the mall and doing challenges," says Jacqueline. "We look girly but we are sporty. Perhaps, the reason (the executives of the show) got us in is we are feminine and competitive."

Besides, Aubrey, a TV and film actress, and Jacqueline, a commercial model, are friends in real and reel life.

Before The Amazing Race Asia, Aubrey was cast to play a lead role for a soap. Jacqueline, on the other hand, was about to enter mainstream showbiz via a TV show.

Since playing in the reality TV series is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, they begged off and brushed aside the offers.

"Everyone is competitive and strong," says Aubrey of the contest. "We don’t look athletic but we have the determination and focus."

Completing the Pinoy delegation are Ernie and Jeena Lopez.

"Is this for real?," says Ernie of The Amazing Race Asia experience. "Up to now, the fact that I and my wife made it – that we are here, still has to sink on me."

"I’m still wondering why (AXN) chose us," adds Jeena. "What was that they saw in us."

Like Aubrey and Jacqueline, the Lopezes are avid followers of The Amazing Race. They have been dreaming of playing in the show. The couple never thought the opportunity would come this early since only American citizens can join.

For their video, Ernie was his sporty self on motorcycle. Jeena was in command behind the steering wheel of a sportscar. The images showed that the two were in for another roller-coaster ride, err race, of their lives.

The race for them started way before the final interview for the Asian spin-off took place.

Ernie and Jeena were in the US for a vacation. While enjoying their break from the hustle and bustle of Manila, they got a call from AXN for The Amazing Race Asia audition. Since they would not miss this opportunity for anything else in the world, the couple cut their vacation short and headed for Manila. They went through the audition and interview until they landed in the finals.

By the way, Ernie and Jeena are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. The race is a honeymoon of sorts for them.

"We hope our marriage will be the source of our strength," says Jeena. "We’ve been together for 10 years. We know how to communicate with each other. We can read each other’s minds."

But then again, it’s different when the participants are thrust in a game of surprises. They can only accomplish so much. The race is not all about having a game plan. It’s taking the task one day at a time.

As Ernie puts it, "How can you come up with strategies if you don’t know what will happen next?"

To make it, Ernie and Jeena believe one must be physically prepared. A healthy attitude and mindset is also important.

More than all these, Ernie and Jeena are in tip-top form. She rides, rock climbs, scuba dives and plays golf. He plays tennis and triathlon. It is the athlete in Ernie and Jeena that might bring them to the final destination of the competition.

Now, a quick look at the other contestants of The Amazing Race Asia.

: Singapore; Representatives: Sharon Wong, 31, headhunter, Melody Chen, 28, actress/host; Relationship: Friends for eight years.

: Hong Kong; Representatives: Sandy Sydney, 29, personal trainer, Francesca Vonetzdorf, 27, model; Relationship: Boyfriend/girlfriend.

: Indonesia; Representatives: Mardy Juwono, 36, general civil contractor, Marsio Juwono, 34, photographer; Relationship: Brothers.

: Thailand; Representatives: Andy Lawson, 28, entrepreneur, Laura Kluk, 37, entrepreneur; Relationship: British couple.

: Sri Lanka; Representatives: Howard Bicknell, 39, area manager for a British Tour Operator, Surendra Abeysundara, 31, interior designer and events manager; Relationship: Best friends for 10 years.

: India; Representatives: Sahil Shroff, 26, model, Prashan Raj Sachdev, 26, model; Relationship: Friends for five years.

: Malaysia (Team 1); Representatives: Syeon Park, 28, business development manager, Andrew Tan, 26, managing director; Relationship: Boyfriend/girlfriend.

: Malaysia (Team 2); Representatives: Zabrina Fernandez, 26, TV producer, Joe Jer Tee, 29, TV producer; Relationship: Former colleagues.

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