Leg 16.01 – “It shot up my nose and mouth!”
In 2013, Typhoon Yolanda (known internationally as Haiyan) devastated the Philippines, especially here in the province of Leyte. Almost five years later, recovery is progressing, but still a long way to go.
Here in Palo, Leyte almost 74 years ago, General Douglas MacArthur landed and began the campaign to recapture and liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation in World War II. Now, this national park commemorating that historic moment will also serve as the Starting Line of this 16th season of The Amazing Race Philippines: DryedMangoez Edition!
As always, teams must first face a Starting Line task to receive their first clue. Teams will inflate a rubber boat and take it down to the water where they must row themselves out to over 400 floating letters. They must find the letters that will correctly spell out the last name of the general immortalized in this park.
The first FOUR teams to correctly spell “MACARTHUR” will receive an advantage at a point later in this Leg. And the order of completing this task will determine the order at the first Route Marker outside of the Philippines.
BUT WAIT! There’s more! The first team to complete this task will also win the Fast Forward Note! That team will be given a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 which they can use to request the Fast Forward Pit Stop clue any time from the start of Leg 2 to the end of Leg 10.
After teams have completed their spelling lesson, they will open the first clue revealing their first destination is Queenstown, New Zealand! All teams will be on the same flight from Manila to Queenstown via Sydney on Cebu Pacific and Jetstar arriving at 7:35pm tomorrow.
Once in Queenstown, teams must search the airport carpark for flagged 2019 Kia Sorentos.
They must drive themselves to Mrs Wooly’s Campground in Glenorchy.
Teams will be spending the night here. The first four teams from the Starting Line task will enjoy a more luxurious glamping tent complete with extra amenities and food. The rest of the teams must assemble their own tents for the night.
BUT! Teams will also have an opportunity to win an Express Pass! Each team will be timed on how fast they can correctly pitch their tents. The team with the fastest time will win the Express Pass! The first four teams can choose to go for the Express Pass as well, but must forfeit their luxurious glamping tents and all the amenities that come with it to stay in the regular tent they will eventually assemble.
At 7am tomorrow morning, teams will be released every 5 minutes in groups of three based on the order they finished the Starting Line task. They will be handed their clue which reveals a Blind Detour! Teams will only be given the Detour choice, Long or Short, and the locations of each Detour. But the clue will not provide any further description or detail. Teams must choose which Detour to attempt based only on the provided information.
For Long, teams must drive to Nevis Bungy where they will learn that each team member must individually jump 134m into the gorge, the highest bungy in New Zealand.
For Short, teams will drive to Kawarau Bridge where they will learn that each team member must do a 43m bungy jump, at the world’s first commercial bungy site, in which they will get dunked in the river, head first.
After the Detour, teams can make their way to Goldfields Jet. They will hop into a jet boat and be taken on an exhilarating ride to a gold rush site.
Teams must search the area for gold panning supplies and then pan enough gold to receive their next clue.
That clue directs teams to Coronet Peak where they will find ANOTHER! Detour: Save or Slalom.
In Save, teams must use an avalanche rescue transceiver to search for a dummy who has been buried in the snow. Once teams have dug the victim out of the snow and brought him to safety, they will receive their next clue.
In Slalom, teams must complete a downhill slalom course on a snowboard. If both team members can make it downhill without falling over, they will receive the next clue.
Teams must now “Find the founder of Queenstown.” They must figure out that the clue refers to the statue of William Gilbert Rees. Teams must park their cars in the marked area before retrieving the next clue.
And that clue tells teams to make their way on foot to the Pit Stop, St. Peter’s Anglican Church.
The first team to check in here will win P200,000 courtesy of Shell V-Power Nitro+.
The last team to check in here WILL be eliminated.
And we’re back! This is a very full first Leg. I wanted to do a nice contrasting opening Leg in which the Starting Line was at a very tropical place and the first Leg involves snow of some kind. This is close enough I think. lol
I’ve had Tacloban and Leyte on my TARPHDME wishlist for a long time. I wasn’t sure how or when I could use Leyte on TARPHDME considering they are still obviously recovering from the devastating Yolanda. But I think we can do it in a way here that allows to put a spotlight on the resilience of Filipinos while still pointing out that there is much work to be done.
Anyway, MacArthur Landing Park is a beautiful location for a Starting Line. Even a Finish Line (*wink*wink*).
It appears spelling things is a favorite Starting Line task concept for TARPHDME. lol But it gets teams in the water, which I wanted to have to contrast with the snow later on in this Leg. Having the Fast Forward Note again and having teams win it this way gives purpose to the Starting Line task. But we also need to motivate the trailing teams to finish the task since all plane tickets will be provided to them and all will be on the same flights. So having the Starting Line task determining the order for an Hours of Operation Route Marker later in the Leg is what I came up with.
Flying to Queenstown will take more than a day, which is a logistical nightmare. That’s one whole day of production wasted on waiting around airports. But it’s a necessity and unavoidable. I really wanted this Queenstown Leg to be the opening Leg. And I really wanted the MacArthur Landing Starting Line. So, we gotta make do with what we have (or want ;)).
Arriving in the evening, we need to provide some accommodations for the teams. So what better way than to have them out camping. Especially in New Zealand, it should be a wonderful experience. But to spice things up, we add in that extra Express Pass Duel Duel basically. I definitely like the idea of the first four teams winning a reward, but then giving them the option of forfeiting that reward for merely a chance at the Express Pass. It should provide some exciting moments and competition there. Even some drama maybe. And timing each team instead of first come, first served type of deal is the most fair.
I’m not particularly a fan of bunching teams up only to release them at staggered times. But I had to bite my tongue here and just go with it to give some consequence to the Starting Line task. But having only 15 minutes difference between the first and last groups should be fine. This is a full Leg with plenty of opportunity for teams to move up or down.
Bungy jumping can be a little tired on TAR. But it’s still a thrilling experience for the teams who actually do it. I decided to spice things up here with a Blind Detour.
What’s interesting is that at the Detour, there will be a few things we hope to work out in our favor in terms of entertainment. First, teams will have to obviously wait in line at either Detour. It’s a first come, first served task. So if one Detour has a longer line and a team chooses it instead of switching over to the other Detour, there is a risk of falling far behind.
Then there’s actually deciding on which Detour to go to based only on the vague “Long” or “Short” clue and the location. Teams will see Nevis Bungy as the location and obviously reason that “Long” involves bungy jumping. So they might decide to go to “Short” instead thinking it is not also bungy jumping. Only, they will learn that it might be a shorter fall, but they’ll have to get dunked in the water which sounds very fun.
Next up is another thrilling task. The jet boat looks very fun and exciting. So that’s great to have more thrills on this first Leg. The gold panning is just an extra Route Marker to fill this Leg out. But also take advantage of a great, stunning location.
We then come to our second Detour of the Leg. It’s a nice curveball to have two Detours on the first Leg. And it definitely helps make this a packed Leg. The two tasks are certainly not new to TAR. But both should provide some challenges to the teams. Both have their own difficulties so we might see teams get very frustrated and upset, especially after a long day.
One more Route Marker and mental-ish clue to find the statue. More interaction with locals, yay!
And then the Pit Stop in a nice, quiet spot in Queenstown.
Overall, a very full, very packed opening Leg. Definitely lots of great opportunity for competition.