Mini Amazing Race provides taste of TARP

LIVEFEED - Bibsy M. Carballo (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

Meeting the 22 competitors of The Amazing Race Philippines (TARP) was almost like judging a beauty contest. They are almost all lookers, have strong personalities, share common experiences in media and appear to possess enough spirit and spunk without becoming obnoxious. Hosted by Derek Ramsay, the series that has completed its taping, will air starting Monday, Oct. 29, weekdays after Wil Time Bigtime and Saturdays after Talentadong Pinoy Worldwide on TV5.   

Based on the American series, the reality game show is produced by ActiveTV (producer of The Amazing Race Asia and The Amazing Race Australia) for TV5. Auditions were held last March to April for applicants who are at least 21 years old, citizens or residents of the Philippines for two years, with knowledge of English and Filipino.

Looking up on the Amazing Race history, we found out that the popularity of the show led to the creation of international versions. The Amazing Race Asia was among the first versions created and we found the presence of beauty contestants, media personalities and linkages with Pinoys everywhere. Amazing Race 2’s Tisha Silang is the ex-girlfriend of former Survivor Philippines host Paolo Bediones and was once Bb. Pilipinas-Universe, but had to forgo her crown due to her Canadian citizenship.

Controversy hounded eligibility of Season 4 entries Lani Pilinger and Jacinta James, born and raised in Australia but residing in the Philippines, as well as Richard Hardin and Richard Herrera residing in the US with parents from Cebu and Bulacan. However, SPE Networks Asia Ltd. defended the right of the two teams to participate, saying it was not a matter of nationality, but also of where they live and work. Eventually the two Richards took home the $100,000 grand prize of The Amazing Race Asia (TARA) Season 4.

Two million pesos are at stake for the winning pair out of the 11 presented to the press last week. They are LJ Moreno and CJ Jarabata, best friends with TV/movie experience; brothers-in-law Dayal Chowdary Jr. and Fausto Reyes; Marc Duñgo and Kat Tan who share the gym, plus past competitions; Jervi Lisaba and Saida Diola of a noontime TV show; and college chums Sheena Vera Cruz and Gee Canlas.

Housewives Pam Spella and Vanessa Ishitani are proof that one can race and be homemakers; Ed and Angel Movido are father-daughter in media; Boom Vergara and Cheng Enriquez are single fathers; Armand and Anton del Rosario are football brothers; Dani Castaño and Mish Van Ruyven are bombshells raised abroad with Dani representing the Philippines in the 2008 Miss World pageant; and Crystel Castro and Mykey Lacson who are in a relationship.

To us, however, the most interesting part of the TARP launch was the mini-race where 10 reporters from the entertainment beat went through a mini-challenge that wasn’t as easy as it seemed. This is something that appears to be uniquely homegrown and attracted quite a number of press people for the experience as well as cash and goods from sponsors.

In the end, grand prize winner was Glen Sibonga, with Kelvin Lamboloto and Nerisa Almo as runners-up. The experience gave them a taste of what it could be like in the real competition. Each competitor was provided with a pair of mentors as teammates from the actual race who were as strict as if they were doing it for real.

Glen had the pair of Dayal and Fausto to help him out. Not all, however, were happy about the strictness of their teammates. Jojo Gabinete, in particular, related how he got into shouting matches with Danielle of the Dani and Mish team assigned to him. Sounds just like the real competition!  

LJ, who sat at our table, comfortably chatted about her experience, comparing it with her Pinoy Fear Factor days where she was eliminated and how the TARP gave them the chance to see more of the country. This niece of Alma Moreno is also particularly at ease with the press having met many of us previously. Everyone is familiar with her story, her love affair and eventual marriage to star cager Jimmy Alapag, Fil-am point guard of Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, and now her cake business. She has done TV/movie roles like The Leaving, Working Girls, Nasaan Ka Maruja? and Ikaw Ang Mamahalin, and is happiest to have been reunited with teammate Cyndy Tan Jarabata alias CJ.

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