Leg 1: “Kaka-simula lang, I’m already tired na.”
Quirino Grandstand has been the site of some of the most historic moments in Philippine history. And today, it will be the site of a historic start to The Amazing Race Philippines!
Thousands of Amazing Race fans are gathered here to see 11 brand new teams off on a Race around Asia!
The teams’ first destination is… Singapore. And teams can only fly on one of two flights flying out of Manila. The first flight on Singapore Airlines will carry 5 teams and departs at 2:15pm arriving in Singapore at 5:50pm. The second flight on Philippine Airlines departs at 3:20pm and arrives 1 hour and 20 minutes later at 7:10pm.
To get tickets on these flights, teams must search amongst pouches attached to 150 large yellow and red balloons scattered across the grounds. Only 12 balloons contain the yellow and red Race flag teams will use to exchange for plane tickets on the flight of their choice and their first clues.
However there are also 2 other flags teams may find. Two balloons contain yellow-only flags. Teams who find a yellow flag can exchange it for an Express Pass. Two other balloons contain green flags which teams can exchange for a Fast Forward they can use on any Leg beginning with Leg 2 up to Leg 8. However, taking an Express Pass or Fast Forward will automatically put them on the 2nd flight.
Teams can exchange flags with each other or give another team a flag that they find, but cannot exchange flags once they’ve already exchanged one for their plane tickets.
As soon as they’ve received their first clue and tickets, teams can grab their bags and run through the crowd, say goodbye to their loved ones cheering them on and hail a cab on Roxas Blvd. to the airport.
Once teams have arrived in Singapore, they must make their way to the Parliament House of Singapore to find their next clue.
And that clue reveals the first Double Road Block of the Race.
A Double Road Block is a two-part task that must be split between both team members. And just like a regular Road Block, teams must decide who will do which half of the task based only on the clue question before opening and reading the full task description. Double Road Blocks do not count towards the regular Road Block count.
For this Double Road Block, teams must decide: “Who’s willing to go in reverse and who’s ready for a swing?”
After making their way on foot to Clarke Quay, Teams will need to overcome a huge adrenaline rush, and maybe their worst fears, as they ride either Singapore’s G-MAX Reverse Bungee or the GX-5 Extreme Swing.
There are several boats situated in the Singapore River, each illuminated with different colors. The team member hopping on the G-MAX Reverse Bungee must count the number of boats illuminated yellow (6). The team member riding the GX-5 Extreme Swing must count the number of boats illuminated red (17).
Once they’ve given the correct number of boats, they will receive their next clue. If they give an incorrect answer, both team members must hop on the ride again before making another guess. If teams fail to provide the correct number after 3 guesses, they will incur a one-hour penalty which they must wait out before being given the next clue.
Teams must now make their way to the Night Safari where they will search the marked trails on their own for one of 11 departure times for the next morning: 3am (4), 3:30am (3) and 3:45am (4).
After resting for a few hours at the Night Safari, teams will receive their next clue telling them to cross the border using one of the provided taxis and head to Malacca, Malaysia.
Once in Malacca, teams must find the Jambatan Old Bus Station. What they must figure out is this a bridge where they will find the next clue.
And the clue at the bridge reveals their first Detour of the Race.
For both Detour options, teams will make their way by taxi to Christ Church. The choice, Decorate or Drive.
In Decorate, teams will decorate one of these colorful Malacca rickshaws according to a provided picture which they will choose. Once their decorated rickshaw is approved, they can receive the next clue.
In Drive, teams will pedal a rickshaw and pick up three different groups of 4 passengers in the surrounding area at provided addresses to bring them to Christ Church. Each team member will have 2 passengers per trip. Once they’ve safely dropped off all their passengers, they will receive the next clue.
After completing the Detour, teams must make their way to Portuguese Square in the Ujong Pasir District of Malacca.
Portuguese colonists settled in Malacca in the 16th and 17th centuries. the descendants of those colonists have continued celebrating that heritage up to this day.
And here, teams will learn and perform the Branyo, a traditional dance of the Portuguese community of Malacca. Once they have performed the dance to the satisfaction of the instructor, they will receive their next clue.
That clue points teams to St. Paul’s Church. Built in 1521, this historic church at the summit of St. Paul’s Hill is the Pit Stop for this Leg of the Race.
The first team to check-in will win P100,000 from Shell V-Power Nitro+.
The last team to check-in here…
Will find out, along with the other teams, that this is a Superleg and they must continue Racing! Teams must now make their way to the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur!
And the race begins! Taking TAR25’s Time Square Starting Line to the next level, I really like the idea of having a HUGE launch at Quirino Grandstand. TV5 would be able to make it an all-day event to help attract TARPH fans, TV5 supporters and anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of artistas. I thought of this idea back when TAR25 first premiered. So that was long before TV5 teamed up with Quezon City for their all-day New Year’s Eve celebration. I’m guessing that was successful, so TV5 can use that experience here. Plus I’m sure Mayor Erap would love some big Manila promo.
(1/20/15 ETA: I also originally wrote this commentary before Pope Francis’ big Sunday mass during his visit.)
A big launch like this would help build buzz and hype up a new season of TARPH, which it would desperately need. Plus, it gives TV5 a chance to hype up its other shows and stars as well. They’d have their young stars dancing around, maybe TARPH alums hosting the inevitable games and freebie giveaways on stage, invite bands and singers. And using their Viva connections, probably team up with MTV Pinoy and I guess try to bring all those devoted Chicser and Wattpad fans out.
I do think they’d draw a sizeable crowd. I’ve seen videos of TV5 mall shows drawing big crowds, so I think they could bring in a good number of people for a would-be TARPH launch. Surefire way to draw a huge crowd though, sign Willie Revillame back up and have him help Derek send the teams off. lol
But my favorite part about this idea is having teams run through the (fenced off) crowd as they go from the main field where the balloons would be to Roxas Blvd to catch their taxis.
They’d be running through cheers and applause, high fiving people along the way. But the best part would be having the teams’ loved ones standing with the row of people. As teams run toward Roxas Blvd, they’ll spot their family members or significant others or best friends. They’d stop and give them a hug and kiss. The loved ones would give them one last “Good Luck!” A mom or even better, a grandmother would tearfully say goodbye to her two children/grandchildren and hope they stay safe on their travels. It would be amazing television, yeah? Epic start to what would be the first TARPH season out of the country.
I love GOOD Starting Line tasks and I guess this one is fine. It’s a mash-up of TAR20 and TAR China 1’s tasks. For this one, teams need to search for flags. And that’s because teams will be able to win the Express Pass or Fast Forward. But it doesn’t come without a little penalty. Being on the 2nd flight though shouldn’t really doom any team though considering the equalizers on this first Leg and (Spoiler Alert!) on the next Leg as well. So it would be interesting to see if teams take the risk. If no team decides to take the Express Pass or Fast Forward, it’s their loss. Having or not having an Express Pass or Fast Forward usually doesn’t matter in terms of the Race or episodes themselves anyway.
A clever move though would be for teams to take their time searching for the EP or FF flags since they’d be on the 2nd flight regardless. It could be a huge help if they win either award, right?
The first Double Road Block is basically an opportunity for the big high flying, adrenaline task right in the first Leg. The boat counting is just an added task to keep the bungee or swing from being boring or lame since surely there will be teams who won’t be able to count on their first try.
The Night Safari is the first equalizer and also helps logistics by having teams depart at just the right time to allow this Leg to be completed early enough to have them arrive in Kuala Lumpur in time.
Malacca appears to be a great city and surely, TAR would be able to find better Route Markers and tasks should they visit in the future. It has a great mix of culture, modern metro and historical sites.
I like the Detour. I think it’s very TAR and makes use of a landmark in the city. The decorating can be tedious and they’ll need to have attention to detail. “Drive” will test teams’ navigational and people’s skills as well their physical capabilities, needing to pedal these rickety rickshaws in the midday sun.
The Branyo dance and visit to the Portuguese district is basically TAR Canada 2’s Detour in Macau.
And I enjoy TBC/KOR/Superlegs, especially on the very first Leg. TARPH definitely needs to work their teams a little harder in future seasons and this would be a good way to let them know right at the beginning.