Tania just made TARA history! She ran the race while pregnant which just makes their accomplishment even more special!
to TANIA!! One heck/hack of a ride
By James Gabrillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Last updated 20:22:00 11/21/2008
BANGKOK, Thailand—Geoff Rodriguez and Tisha Silang are exhausted. It’s four in the afternoon and the couple just arrived in the city after missing their flight last night.
“Oh my God” were the first words out of Tisha’s mouth when she entered the hotel room where I was waiting for them. Geoff looked like he just wanted to lie down on the bed.
“When we finally stepped inside this hotel, we were expecting to see Allan (Wu, the host),” Tisha says. “And he’d tell us, ‘I’m sorry, you’re the last team to arrive.’”
I could imagine how stressful it was to find an airline that could take them here, in time for the finale party of “The Amazing Race Asia 3” where all the teams reunite and watch the final episode together.
What an irony that on the very day that their “Amazing Race” journey would end, they’re still racing—scrambling to get into the fastest flight, rushing to get a cab, dashing to reach their destination.
To settle for second
Seven countries, 11 cities, 21,000 kilometers of mad adventures—and for the Philippine team, the final outcome depended on a Phuket taxi driver.
Unfortunately for Geoff and Tisha, the cabbie had no idea where he was going to take them. This tight spot proved to be the most crucial of all as the couple was left to settle with the second-place badge, finishing behind best buddies Sam Wu and Vince Chung from Hong Kong.
“Thirty-six minutes and 11 seconds behind, dude!” Geoff screams with regret. Since he entered the room, he’s been manic, anxious, all over the place—you could tell that he’s upset and yet you can’t deny the little glimmer of excitement in his eyes.
“It hurts that this whole time, people would come up to us and say, ‘I’m sure you guys won!’” he says. “It feels bad to have let everyone down.”
Winner takes all
Tisha shares, “It feels especially—what’s the word?—poignant that we’re celebrating the finale here in Bangkok, exactly where this whole race started for us.”
When champs Sam and Vince entered the room earlier that day, it was the total opposite. Vince’s eyes were red. This guy didn’t get any sleep, I thought. Yet like his teammate Sam, he was unusually bouncy.
When I introduced myself, they shook my hand with a bit of suspicion—naturally wary of the whole journalistic agenda, I thought. When I told them that I just got an exclusive screening of the final episode a few seconds before they entered—meaning I knew that they had won—they breathed a sigh of relief.
“All this time, the hardest thing has been to hide the fact that we actually won,” Sam says. “It’s good to finally let it out!” He then resorted to jumping around the room shouting, “We won! We won!”
Both attribute their win to a mix of luck and sheer ability. “Luck played so much. But on the things that we could control—like our tempers—we handled with the best of our abilities,” recalls Vince, who’s wearing a pink shirt with the words DELAY NO MORE emblazoned in front. “The other things, we just relied on prayer.”
“We were confident with our abilities,” Sam says. “We went in thinking we could win this. But when it finally happened, we were full of disbelief. I was like, NO WAY!”
Embrace the race
For third placers Ida Nerina and Tania Khan, it’s about looking back at the whole experience and realizing that they’ve had the best time. I chatted with all the other teams and they unanimously pointed out these two as the ones who had the most fun throughout the race.
“There is just no point in getting stressed out,” says Tania, a 36-year-old heiress in Malaysia. She entered the room in a wheelchair, still recovering from a little accident last weekend when her right foot was stepped on by a four-inch stiletto worn by “a girl who had too much tequila.”
She’s also very much pregnant. “I actually didn’t know that I was two months pregnant when I did the race—when I bungee-jumped, ate bugs, and perspired on the desert. We wanted a complete, fulfilling, fascinating, crazy experience—and hell yeah we got that!”
Her best friend Ida, a popular actress, seconds her thought. “We went to the race expecting the best and the worst, expecting to enjoy and cry. We wanted to appreciate everything that the race would put us through and that’s the reason why we had such a bubbly disposition.”
Valuing it all
“People ask us what we learned from this race and it’s not just one thing,” Ida says. “It’s a plethora of things that make up who we are now.”
“For the entirety of my life, I made decisions based on what my family and my husband would think,” Tania beams. “This race I did for myself.”
These insights ring true for our local team: “I can’t believe some of the things that I was able to do,” says Tisha. “I’m not an extreme sports person. I’m not athletic. But I discovered that I just have to be determined. That will carry on with me in the years to come.”
On the other hand, Geoff sees the whole experience as something that has made him surer of his values. “People may have said bad things about the way I played the game,” he says. “But I never said anything bad about anyone. What they saw was the real me. If they can’t live with that, then sorry. I sleep each night knowing I’ve been true to myself from start to end.
Of detours and pit stops
For the winning team, it was about rousing the competitive spirit and looking deeper at one’s self: “It was an adventure and a competition. Two things I like the most,” Vince says. “It’s a package nothing like anything in this world.”
“This, for me, was about understanding myself. To dig in and know what I’m made of,” Sam says. “I’m not Vince. I’m not sporty. I’ve never gone bungee jumping. I’ve never gotten a tattoo. The race pushed me to go beyond.”
Surely, “Amazing Race” is much bigger than any of these people. It’s a race made up of complexities, a zest for culture, and love for life. But more than that, it’s a race that forces you to look at yourself and the way you treat others—no matter if they’re your best friend or your partner or a complete stranger from a foreign country.
“What’s a bigger mirror than a television series broadcast to millions of viewers?” Tisha says, hitting the target. “Hey, what’s really more important now is figuring out what we do next after this whole thing wraps up tonight.”
It is a few minutes before the finale party as I type this, and I think to myself, yes, the race is still on.
NEXT WEEK: Catch the full interviews of Super with the top three teams plus full coverage of “The Amazing Race Asia 3” finale party in Thailand. http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/you/super/view/20081121-173628/One-heckhack-of-a-ride