Leg 22.01– “Wag sumubsob sa sand, that’s embarrassing.”
The Amazing Race Philippines: DryedMangoez Edition is back! Surprising! But also exciting! And for this COVID Era 22nd season of the (fake!) Race, teams will encounter some twists and tweaks to ensure everyone’s safety while still maintaining the exciting worldwide competition.
Teams enter the revitalized Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium in Manila, the Starting Line for this Race.
Before teams set off, they will be informed of some of the season’s unique features.
Teams will be flying to several beautiful destinations around the world. And to allow that to happen, The Amazing Race Philippines: DryedMangoez Edition has entered an unprecedented partnership with Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. The country’s two largest air carriers will provide special chartered flights using the newest and most modern planes in their fleets to safely bring cast and crew around the world. Each airline will take over different flight itineraries across the course of the Race.
This season will also have only two Non-Elimination Legs. And right off the bat, teams will learn the first of those two Non-Elimination Legs will happen at the end of this first Leg. The second one will be on the Penultimate Leg. That means, there will be an elimination at every single Leg from Leg 2 onward until there are only three teams left. So teams will have to Race hard every Leg, knowing this fact.
Like in the previous two seasons, all teams will receive a brand-new Samsung Galaxy S22 in order to allow them to document their time on the Race. But perhaps more importantly, teams will again be allowed to use Google Maps for a limited time on each Leg.
One of the tweaks to ensure the safety of teams, crew and everyone they will meet along the Racecourse will take place at every Pit Start. Teams will now depart in pairs, ten minutes apart on every Leg except the Final Leg, based on their finish in the previous Leg. There will be opportunities for teams to potentially move up in the order for Pit Starts. But teams will learn more about those opportunities when they come across them.
Now, teams have not yet Raced. So there are no Leg finish placements to base their Pit Start departure times on. This first Leg of the Race will have teams flying on Cebu Pacific’s brand-new A330neo to their first destination… Sharjah, United Arab Emirates!
To determine departure order once in Sharjah, teams will embark on a mini-Leg here in Manila before checking-in at a Mini Pit Stop. The first team to check-in at the Mini Pit Stop will win a Fast Forward Fold. That team will exchange their Galaxy S22 for a Samsung Galaxy Fold which they will use for the rest of the Race.
So! That’s a lot of Starting Line information. But it’s time to Race!
Good luck! Ingat sa biyahe! GO!
Teams run to the clues on their backpacks telling them to make their way on foot to the revitalized and recently re-opened Manila Zoo.
And at the Manila Zoo, teams will encounter a Detour: Chop It or Bring It.
In Chop It, teams will head to the commissary and help prepare meals for the zoo’s residents. They must follow a specific recipe and its correct measurements in order to receive their next clue.
In Bring It, teams will head to the commissary and make deliveries around the zoo before meeting the star of the Manila Zoo, Mali. After giving her a treat for the day, teams will receive the next clue.
And that clue directs teams to the Mini Pit Stop at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Teams must make their way on foot.
Teams will now board the special Cebu Pacific flight from Manila to Sharjah where they will resume this first Leg in the morning at the iconic landmark, the Flying Saucer.
Again, teams will depart in pairs every ten minutes. And the first clue directs teams to choose a brand-new 2023 Kia Sportage.
They must drive themselves to City Centre and find Jollibee who will give them some breakfast, an inkwell they must keep until further notice and their next clue.
That clue tells teams to drive themselves to Big Red, the largest sand dune near Sharjah.
Here, teams will get their opportunity to claim an Interchange which allows them to switch Road Block participants in the middle of the task. To claim an Interchange, teams will enjoy some sand skiing. After strapping on a board, teams must slide down the sand dune, making sure to pass through four flagged gates. Both team members must complete the task in order to claim an Interchange. If a team misses a gate, they will receive a five-minute penalty for each one. The two fastest teams will receive a 2nd Interchange.
After reaching the bottom, or if teams decide not to attempt the task, teams will find another Detour: Letters or Luck.
In Letters, teams will go dune bashing and must spot and memorize Arabic letters that they will encounter along the course. They must then put the letters in the order they encountered them in order to spell out a word related to the next Route Marker. When correct, teams will be given the next clue.
In Luck, teams will hop on a quad bike and follow a route using a map and compass to reach four checkpoints. At each checkpoint are baskets covering hourglasses of different time lengths ranging from 5 to 15 minutes. Teams must choose a basket upon arrival at each checkpoint and wait until the sand runs out before being able to proceed to the next one. At a final, fifth checkpoint, teams will receive the next clue.
After this Detour, teams must now drive themselves to the newly opened Sharjah Safari.
Here, teams will choose one of the five different regions of the largest safari outside Africa. Teams will take a bicycle tour along a marked path and must spot ten different wooden animals roaming the area alongside the living animals. Teams must collect tiles from each wooden animal until they reach the end of the safari route at which time they will receive the next clue.
And that clue reveals the first Road Block: Who feels entileted?
For this Road Block, teams must arrange the tiles they collected in the order they encountered them on the safari. As this is a Road Block, teams are forbidden from getting help from their partner, nor can they get help from other teams.
After the Road Block, teams can now drive to the Rain Room in Sharjah. Here, teams must find the next clue without getting wet in the dark room.
And that clue directs teams to the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum. Here, teams will find another Road Block: Who’s got the write stuff? Any team member can perform this Road Block.
For this Road Block, teams will receive the final clue of the Leg telling them to head to the Pit Stop at House of Wisdom. But teams must first recreate the final clue of the Leg in traditional Arabic calligraphy. Once approved, they can drive themselves to the Mat.
The first team to check-in here will win P200,000 courtesy of Shell V-Power Nitro+.
The last team to check-in here, as warned at the Starting Line, will not be eliminated as this is the first of two Non-Elimination Legs. This last team must choose a Non-Elimination Penalty Envelope:
This time last year, I wasn’t sure I’d be doing another TARPHDME. But here I am lol I started putting this together in January of this year and I really don’t know how I became motivated to do so. Especially with the extra challenge of trying to be as realistic as possible with countries not yet fully opened at the time of a supposed February-March filming. But it was that challenge that actually made this a bit more fun than it had been in recent years for me.
So of course, TARPHDME22 comes after TAR33’s post-COVID episodes. And the tweak here of having teams departing in pairs at set intervals is largely taken from TAR33. But also from its use on TAR Vietnam and even, yes Ten’s TAR Australia. *shudder*
Especially during COVID, it does actually make sense to keep teams sort of bunched together. And it also adds to the competition aspect as I’ve always believed the Race is better when teams are neck and neck and not hours apart from each other.
To ensure teams will continue to hustle and not just Race to avoid last, making every Leg an Elimination Leg should do the trick. Teams will have to go full speed at all times because they know there are no second chances. And knowing how important departure position could be next Leg should push teams to finish as high as possible at every Pit Stop.
Starting off this Leg, having a bit of a mini-Leg in Manila before departure made much more sense as well rather than just a typical Starting Line task. All the foot travel between the three Route Markers should be a good enough challenge in addition to the Detour to set teams up for their first staggered start once in Sharjah, UAE.
The Manila Zoo first came to mind as a Starting Line since they had just re-opened when I was starting to put this together. And originally, the Manila Mini-Leg was limited to just the zoo. But I figured why not add some extra Route Markers to make it more unpredictable. And this area has many landmarks that could be used. So I moved the Starting Line to the Rizal sports complex and then the Mini-Pit Stop to the CCP. (The Manila Yacht Club was also a possibility.)
Now for the charter flights, another TAR33 post-COVID element that we are borrowing. Instead of going with a charter company, why not add an extra sponsorship opportunity by having an actual airline let us borrow a plane. Now, AirAsia might have been a more likely airline open to sponsorship because they have wrapped their planes in special livery for different things in recent years.
But we went with Philippine Airlines AND Cebu Pacific as a sort of goodwill-kind of gesture in the hopes of promoting Philippine tourism and the country’s re-opening to the world. It should be a win-win for both airlines as they get some great international exposure. But it is also a chance for them for some good PR after two years of angry and frustrated customers waiting for their refunds. (I was one of them! Lol)
Anyway, thinking about our first destination. Much of Asia was still closed or had very restrictive entry requirements back in February. One of the closest “big” destinations that was more open was UAE. And in wanting to branch out from just Dubai or Abu Dhabi, Sharjah came up as a good option.
For this season of TARPHDME, the brand-new Kia Sportage will play a huge role as there will be lots of self-driving. But also because I am in love with the new Sportage and am hoping to get my hands on one soon lolol
Anyway, the Jollibee Route Marker is just another nice sponsorship/product placement opportunity.
COVID of course still limits what kinds of things we can do. So we maximize our time at the sand dunes. First with the Interchange task, which is simple enough since we actually do want the teams to get an Interchange to use on the Race. It adds to the potential drama.
And then the Detour are both recycled tasks from previous TARPHDMEs and other real TARs as well. But tweaked a little bit. I think the Luck side of the Detour has some potential for great drama. Especially if teams are bunched up and end up passing each other at each checkpoint. We could also add more checkpoints for maximum drama and frustration. But I think that would not match up well in terms of time with the Letters side of the Detour.
Next, the Sharjah Safari just opened as well. I would assume the local tourism office would like to show it off. So we have it here. Not really sure what we could do here. But the task here reminds me of a TAR30 task I think. And it’s okay I guess.
The Rain Room is just something I came across during Google scouting. So I threw it in there.
And finally, the calligraphy Road Block is just another task to add to this Leg. And it could shake up final placements here. It might be too similar to the Letters Detour. But it’s alright.
A good Pit Stop at the House of Wisdom. Perfect for those signature TARPHDME 8K UHD drone shots of course!
Overall, a solid opening Leg. It was very interesting to put together with the COVID considerations. But it should work.