Leg 20.01A – “This Isn’t the ‘Amazing Race’ I know!”
Happy 20th Season! Imagine that! And what better way to celebrate than for Filipinos to challenge people around the world for Race supremacy!
That’s right. Six Filipino All-Star teams take on six All-Star teams from the United States, Canada, Australia, Vietnam and Israel on the biggest Race yet!
It is just before sunrise and the 12 teams are arriving at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games Cauldron in front of the New Clark City Athletics Stadium.
Teams are informed that they will all be given brand new Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5Gs. In addition to using the phones to document their time on the Race, for the first time ever, teams will be given TWO chances to use the Google Maps app during the Race. Teams can use the app twice (one use defined as one Point A to Point B navigation or one 15-minute use without navigation) any time until the end of Leg 8.
In the event a team wins a Fast Forward Note, that team will exchange their Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra for a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.
After the usual welcome and more teases of twists and tasks, huge and bright fireworks light up the pre-dawn sky signaling the start of the Race!
Teams must run inside the stadium and search the seats for their backpacks and their first clue using only the light from the fireworks above.
That first clue tells teams to make their way to the New Clark City Aquatics Center where they will find the very first Detour of the Race: Fire Swim or Fire Dive. For both sides of the Detour, teams will be assembling a replica of the SEA Games cauldron using pieces they will find in the pools.
In Fire Swim, teams must search the Olympic-sized swimming pool for the pieces they need to assemble a replica of the cauldron. When assembled, they must light the cauldron’s flame and then swim the length of the pool with the flame still burning in order to receive the next clue.
In Fire Dive, teams must perform a synchronized dive off the three-meter springboard and then swim to collect only three, more fragile pieces needed to assemble the cauldron. Once lit, teams must walk the cauldron to the end of the pool to receive the next clue. Order of diving is first come, first served.
After the Detour, teams must choose one of the 12 waiting vehicles from Kia’s 2020 line-up and drive themselves to PMP Man Made Paradise Farm and Resort in General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.
Here, teams will find a Roundabout! The two turnoffs for this Roundabout will give teams the opportunity to win either a Fast Forward Note or an Express Pass.
On the first turn off, teams must herd all sheep tagged with their team color into a pen. The team with the fastest time will win a Fast Forward Note at the Leg 1 Pit Stop.
For the second turn off, teams must herd as many ducks as they can into a pen in 15 seconds. The two teams who can herd the most ducks will win an Express Pass.
Both the Fast Forward Note and two Express Passes are valid until the end of Leg 10.
Teams can also decide not to attempt either task, but they will forfeit their chance to win either prize. There is also no time credit for any team that attempts either turn off of the Roundabout.
After completing one or both turn offs or if teams decide against attempting either one, they can open the next clue which reveals a Road Block: Who can lay it all out on the table?
For this Road Block, teams must prepare a budol feast table exactly according to an example by memory. Teams can only look at the example twice once they have already begun assembling their table. Any extra looks beginning with the third will incur a five-minute penalty each.
After the Road Block, teams must now drive themselves to this farm in Laur. And here, teams will find another Road Block: Who wants to Race? The team member who did not complete the first Road Block MUST complete this one.
And this Road Block is also a Switchback Duel Duel!
In a Switchback to (Real) Season 2’s Road Block Duel, teams must choose a carabao and trainer and ride a wooden chariot along a straight course. Teams must capture three flags along the way and cross the finish line to grab the fourth flag first to win the Duel Duel. The loser will have to face the next team. If neither team grabs all four flags, both must go to the back of the line. The last place team must pamper their carabao before being given the next clue.
That clue directs teams to Barangay Calaanan in Bongabon. And here, they will find ANOTHER Detour: Wrap the Rattan or Onion Orders.
In Wrap the Rattan, teams must tie up two bundles of loose rattan before then preparing enough rattan which they can use to weave a basket or bag (their choice).
In Onion Orders, teams must head to this onion warehouse where they must unload freshly harvested onions from a farm and repack them according to different orders that will be delivered across Luzon. Once they have loaded the sacks onto the proper delivery trucks, they will receive the next clue.
Teams must now drive themselves to this farm. Nueva Ecija is known as the “rice granary of the Philippines.” For this task, teams must harvest one row of palay, enough for eight large bundles. They must then transport the bundles 1km on foot to this mobile rice huller where they will throw in the palay to remove the husks. Once they have filled two sacks worth of rice, they will receive the next clue. As there are only two rice huskers, it is first come, first served.
Teams must now make their way to Minalungao National Park. Here, teams will choose a bamboo raft and paddle themselves down river to search for their next clue.
That clue is up on a cliff. Teams must climb up and then jump off back into the water where they will now choose a kayak to find Minalungao Cave.
And inside the cave will be an Abandoned Mat! This is a SuperLeg and teams must continue Racing!
The first-place team at the Abandoned Mat will win P100,000 courtesy of Shell V-Power Nitro+. The last place team must perform a Rewind on the second half of this Leg!
WOWOW. This was a LOOOONG Leg, wasn’t it? And it’s obviously not over yet. Perhaps this could be an entire SuperLeg on its own, really. Very much overloaded with tasks. So it’s certainly open to having parts of it chopped off, especially as an opening Leg.
So as this is a Philippines vs The World season, I wanted to have the international teams Racing through the Philippines at least one Leg. I tried to include some very Filipino tasks here for them to enjoy before they leave the country and I think we have a good mix here.
First off, we have ANOTHER Starting Line at New Clark City. This route was originally designed for a regular season. So I was looking for an easy, but landmark location for a Starting Line before having teams head to the who-knows-if-it-will-ever-be-built New Manila International Airport in Bulacan.
I thought New Clark City would be that location. And this was first designed around the time of the SEA Games last year, so it was fresh in my mind. Another original plan was to have the Starting Line at sunset to allow for the fireworks as well as a wonderfully lit stadium and aquatics center. We can still do that in the pre-dawn hours of course so we can have the Leg take place throughout the whole day.
I definitely wanted the Starting Line task at the Aquatics Center through. Not really sure what kind of task, but this Detour should make for some great opening chaos. The catch of the diving side being teams having to wait in line could contribute to the interesting drama. Both tasks are straightforward and shouldn’t take long. But it is the chaos we want to see right off the bat.
The Google Maps twist was a last-minute addition. It’s an opportunity for more sponsorship moneys from both Samsung and Google. But it also brings TAR into the modern world a little without harming the integrity of what the format is about. Giving teams a chance to use Google Maps, which has become such a part of people’s everyday lives, can end up being strategic for some teams. Teams would still be able to ask locals for directions of course. But you never know when teams would need instant directions just like that. It could become a make or break moment for them if they have Google Maps to help them in an emergency.
Giving the teams a phone also allows them to take photos of their Race experience when they see fit. Gives us some social media content. Gives the teams a chance to capture memories from their perspective. And perhaps even a TAR26-style Final Task using their photos? We’ll see!
We bring in a Roundabout, something that’s obviously foreign to the international teams. But it allows for a strategic decision for teams on whether or not to go for either the Fast Forward Note or Express Pass. Instead of either being an automatic prize, we go back to teams needing to decide if it is advantageous for them to go for either. Of course, teams can opt not to. But having them in a Roundabout returns both the Fast Forward and Express Pass to their original roots.
The first Road Block is essentially a “pay attention to details” and “memorization” task. The boodle fight table is definitely very Filipino. And forcing teams to have good memorization by having the five-minute penalty for extra looks could be a tense, controversial requirement.
Next up is the TARPH2 (the real one) Switchback which I know has been done once before on TARPHDME. (Can’t remember which one! lol) But I thought it would be perfect for this provincial Philippine Leg here and for international teams.
The second Detour has two typical provincial tasks as well. Again, something for the international teams to enjoy in the Philippines. But also neither task gives the Filipino teams any advantage either.
Same goes for the palay/rice task. It’s a very physical task. And by this time, it should be past noon and well into the afternoon. So a physical task in Philippine heat?! Keep those medics close by.
Finally, we end this first half of the SuperLeg with teams cooling off at Minalungao National Park. It’s a great location and should be a fun way to close out this very long “Leg.”