The Amazing Race Philippines 2, Leg 3 Wrap-up – "Kailangan talaga, effort palagi… Kahit mahirap, 'Go!' lang kami."

So I’m not sure how I can write a complete wrap-up of the Leg considering I didn’t even (or, more accurately, was not able to) watch two and one-thirds of the six episodes of the week.

But there’s definitely still plenty to talk about with the three and two-thirds episodes I was able to watch.

First of all, let me take this opportunity to again thank the wonderful Filipino TV pirates who post low quality recordings of (almost) every single show from ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5 onto sites like YouTube and Dailymotion which are then aggregated on dozens of ad, pop-up and malware-infested blogs for people around the world to watch. So even if sometimes, some episodes don’t get uploaded or if they are SUPER low quality, they still deserve our thanks and gratitude and not anger or frustration.

There are definitely appropriate parties to direct frustration towards, but it’s not those pirates and blog owners.

Those TV pirates actually have no responsibility to upload such things and don’t really owe us, the honest viewing public, anything. So if there are missing chunks or even whole episodes nowhere to be found, we can’t be mad at them. We also can’t be mad at the owners of those blogsites who actually make an illegal profit from those pirated uploads because they’re actually just linking to the videos that have been posted by someone else.

So even if there are dozens, hundreds, even thousands! of people around the world (judging by the view counts of such pirated episodes) who would actually be interested in watching certain shows and be excited about them and would love to spread the word about them and post about them on social media and discuss and enjoy them which in turn would help boost that show’s chance for success in a crowded marketplace when it really needs more interest…

Well, there’s nothing we can do if certain things aren’t available on the internets.

Anyway…

It really was great to see the Race actually visiting a location I’ve been to. My family and I were able to visit Manaoag and Our Lady of Manaoag for the first time last year and it was great. Beautiful place.

I was excited back when the first sightings (courtesy of the Manaoag police department!) first popped up on Twitter of the teams (specifically a blonde-haired woman who would turn out to be Tina) getting off a bus in Manaoag and of a red-clothed team (Matt & Phoebe) getting a Kia (!) SUV blessed by the priest.

Then there was the first look at maybe half the teams when someone posted an Instagram video of several pairs running around Lyceum-Northwestern University (of a grey-shirted guy – Jody, the very recognizable Daniel & Charlie, a neon-shirted team – Jet & Yna and a foreigner-looking M/M “COLLEGE” team – Kelvin & JP). Plus, there was a very intriguing picture of Derek standing next to a dead body!

And TAR quickly heading into Ilocano country was awesome.

So I was really looking forward to seeing this Leg. But what resulted, I’m not so sure about.

On Monday, having the teams search the vendors outside the church (and there are A LOT of vendors) for a clue and key was fine. But the car blessing task presented a couple of odd questions. First of all, were teams actually supposed to memorize the prayer? And if they were, then why did some teams read off the paper when in front of the priest? If they didn’t actually have to memorize, then it’s okay that some teams mistakenly wasted time on it.

But if teams were really supposed to memorize it, then aba, why weren’t teams penalized? If it’s a case of “Well, they only stole glances, so it’s okay.” Then it actually isn’t okay because then the task is too ambiguous to be at all fair. You either have to memorize it or you don’t. And if they did have to memorize it with no help from the paper, then some teams got off easy with breaking the rules.

Maybe that was a onetime thing. I’ll let it pass.

With Tuesday’s episode, it was apparently a Road Block, but I wouldn’t know. The low quality pirated uploaded was missing the first six minutes of the episode. But from what the upload did include and from the previews, it looked like a great, fun task. Teams actually had to do a physically demanding task that no one else could help them with. And this season of TARPh desperately needs some of those tasks.

The 2nd task of Tuesday’s ep was a dancing task. What was great about the task was it highlighted Dagupan being known for bangus. So it was a nice little cultural treat.

But remember that ambiguous prayer task the day before? That apparently wasn’t a onetime thing. A lot of fans on the internets (fans who were actually able to watch the episode!) noted how there seemed to be some strangely selective judging at this dancing task (like there was at the prayer and all the way back to the Prescila task too).

Some teams were obviously way off, yet still got the clue. Meanwhile, the trailing teams, who were also obviously way off, were asked to repeat the practice and performance. So again, what was the objective of this task? Were teams actually supposed to learn anything or did they just have to go crazy and smile?

Wednesday’s episode was interesting. The MacArthur CLUES were excellent. Very creative and actually challenging for the teams. But then the actual task at the school…

It didn’t seem all that difficult. Teams just needed to be very observant to see which items were NOT World War II era items. That’s fine. But then a certain group of teams just could not resist putting ten heads together to figure it out. Why must this happen?! #TheBrainTrust pretty much eliminates any kind of competition that is supposed to be present on The Amazing RACE. What’s the point in racing then if teams are just going to tell each other the answer?

I and many other fans have already talked about the MANY cons of alliances on The Amazing Race. But basically, you get into an alliance on The Amazing Race, you are just asking yourself to be screwed. Royally screwed. Your “friends” as Phoebe put it apparently at the Mat, will not hand over P2 million or let you get in front of them. Unless that’s really how this alliance aims to run the Race. Open doors, letting teams get ahead of them, giving other teams’ advantages, not wanting to actually compete.

If this keeps up, I really don’t know what to think of this season.

Thursday’s episode was pre-empted right? No? Oh…

Thursday’s episode… well, I didn’t see it. But dead bodies and operating rooms definitely seems like interesting aspects for a Detour. Would’ve loved to have seen it, especially if it was better than the other tasks on this Leg and it included RR blowing up #TheBrainTrust. Oh well.

And finally on Friday, ANOTHER luck task to determine who goes home?

Why?! This would be an okay task if we didn’t just have TWO such tasks in the last Leg which ultimately determined who went home. To have it be the last task AGAIN? Just, no. If anything, teams should’ve been forced to eat every single puto they removed from the tin to at least make this task challenging and not just another dumb luck task.

This season of The Amazing Race Philippines has had a lot of good things going for it, but it also has a lot of bad. They’ve done a lot of bad things which I think is a direct result of the tweaked format. This week especially made me miss season 1. Season 1’s Legs were normal TAR Legs. With this one-Route Marker-a-day format, we’re getting some really half-hearted tasks that really feel like filler.

Plus the HaMerotz LaMillion/TAR Israel influence has actually had a negative effect on the show. First the horrible Filipino version of the Double Battles and now the U-Turn/Yield voting on EVERY Leg which is only there to provoke drama that should not be the main focus of The Amazing Race. The Race itself, if planned well with good challenges and good casting, should be enough to incite drama as we can see with the reinvigorated TAR25.

I would gladly exchange this format for season 1’s erratic schedule. I think a lot of things would be different, including how these teams (which is a great group of teams, great casting) actually compete.

Anyway, I just want to say again that if myself or any other TAR fan out there has any not-so-positive words about the show, it’s because we care. Seriously. There are many TAR fans out there who want The Amazing Race Philippines to succeed and live on for many seasons to come. And any criticism should be taken as constructive. It’s not like the comments are some lame network war-type bashing. The comments, whether it’s the Leg design or reaction to the teams or frustration on the lack of official episode uploads, are all made with the hope that things get better and will help the show thrive.

My Subjective Team Rankings for this Leg

GAP

So my weekly team rankings are definitely a lot more subjective than the daily, per-episode rankings.

But there is no doubt Tina & Avy are the team I am rooting for the most right now. They have Raced the way The Amazing Race is supposed to be run. They’ve been able to overcome hurdles from both the Race and the other teams for three Legs now. And they’ve been able to do it on their own. They’ve Raced well when things were actually in their own hands. When luck is involved, they’ve unfortunately gotten the bad kind. But Tina & Avy have been one of, if not the only team that has run the Race like you’d see on any other TAR around the world. Plus, they’re fun.

How can you not be rooting for Kelvin & JP. Yeah you can feel sorry for them for being U-Turned twice. But it is how they’ve responded to those U-Turns that deserve some kudos and support. They’ve been able to overcome the extra obstacle and fight to survive. Add in a little luck and they may have justified the other teams’ voting for them to be U-Turned. But that they have been able to go at it alone and still do very well should be admired. Not only that, but they are hilarious to watch! If Luz & Chen’s elimination meltdown was unprecedented, then Kelvin & JP’s car “TANGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” meltdown was historic. I’ve never seen any team ever scream at each other like that. It was amazing!

I do hate to think though that if given the opportunity, Tina & Avy and Kelvin & JP would gladly join some sort of #TheBrainTrust alliance. But thanks to the other teams excluding them, they both have come off as the least annoying and most rootable teams.

AJ & Jody are an interesting team as they are quiet most of the time, even when it comes to #TheBrainTrust. Yet their random arguments and pikonans are so amusing and hilarious. The only thing I do not enjoy is AJ apparently wanting to quit all the time. That’s a BIG No-No. Roch & Eji are still a fun team to watch. Their competitiveness is awesome, but they are so fully involved with #TheBrainTrust that I feel so sad. I think they can definitely go at it alone and #TheBrainTrust is only holding them back. Plus, Eji’s shrieks are still as loud and fun as ever. And seeing them getting in their own Sportage fight was great to see too.

Jet & Yna… WHY?!?!?! Their display at the MacArthur task was really embarrassing. Yelling at the other teams about alliances is just insane. What was that, seriously? I feel so disappointed by them because I think they are playing too hard with this alliance stuff. They are definitely bossy and that whole display will only get them more enemies. They could definitely Race well without talk of alliances or deals and all that. So why they continue to play this way is beyond me. They did so well in Leg 2 when the talk of alliances died down and now in Leg 3 they gave birth to #TheBrainTrust. I just hope that seeing Matt & Phoebe’s betrayal wakes them up to the fact that alliances are no good.

I must applaud RR & Jeck, or at least RR specifically for wanting to blow up #TheBrainTrust. But at the same time I can’t help but think she only wants to do that because she isn’t in it. After being one of the biggest promoters of alliances and sharing answers in Leg 1, her pulling out the Christian card and washing her hands of such allied behavior almost comes off as hypocritical. Yes, she can still provide some fun one-liners (though not on Luz level of course), but the drastic contrast in their Race philosophies between the first Leg and this Leg is just too crazy to even wrap your head around.

Matt & Phoebe are split for me. Matt’s betrayal of #TheBrainTrust was awesome. But Phoebe’s talk of friendship and all that nonsense is exactly how you SHOULD NOT run this Race. I feel like Phoebe is too reliant on the help of other teams. And she really shouldn’t be since she and Matt have proven they can do things, maybe even better, on their own. They need to stop concentrating on alliances and instead do more bickering with British accents.

Daniel & Charlie are the most bottomgoddes-y bottomgoddesses ever. That they placed 9th in every Leg is hilarious. I don’t think it was all language barrier. They just didn’t know how to follow directions. If it weren’t for Matt, they probably would’ve suffered an even worse elimination. Their random cussing and all that was amusing, but I’m not too sad to see them go. But Charlie’s “Why?! Beekaws of Gohd?!” line and delivery was one of the funniest moments this entire season?

What to make of Vince & Ed. First presented as boring nerds, they have now become pretentious, entitled and overly confident. Their repeated “We’re better than the other teams” attitude and talk of formulas and whatnot reminds me of some of the most annoyingly smug TAR contestants of the past. Most recently, Jim of the in-progress TAR25.

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