Eric and Rona Tai see their marriage as an advantage in ‘The Amazing Race Asia’
By Jill Tan Radovan, InterAksyon.com
November 9, 2016 · 10:51 am
Eric and Rona Tai. (Photo by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)
Eric Tai is best remembered on local television as the muscular, able-bodied and baritone-voiced Eruption who would introduce his co-hosts on the noontime show “It’s Showtime.”
The Tongan actor, model and rugby union player has officially left noontime programming but moved on to arguably his most exciting –not to mention physically and mentally demanding—career high ever.
He and wife Rona are one of the 10 teams selected to be part of Season 5 of “The Amazing Race Asia.”
The couple, however, almost got eliminated in the pilot episode after they encountered some difficulty managing their first challenge—to identify and select a compass that reads 210 degrees southwest from out of 1000 compasses. The Tais were second to the last in handing the prescribed compass.
Nonetheless, Eric and Rona were able to make up for their weak start and fared better in the succeeding challenges. Episode 2 saw them finishing fifth overall after hurdling challenges that include hitting targets with traditional bamboo guns while trekking in tandem land skis, as well scouring through a large teas plantation in search of a puppet.
In Episode 3 of the popular reality competition series, they placed sixth with only eight teams remaining but managed to bounce back in a big way in Episode 4, finishing fourth overall.
Being the only married couple in the race, Eric and Rona see their marriage as a definite advantage for “The Amazing Race Asia.”
“Being married for…three years? We lost count already. This really made us…strengthened our relationship,” says Eric.
“We got to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Rona chimes in. “And there are other strengths that we’ve discovered along the way.”
Being part of “The Amazing Race Asia” meant that they weren’t allowed to use phones or gadgets so that they could devote themselves to preparing and reconditioning for upcoming challenges. This, Rona explains, allowed she and Eric to focus more on each other. They were able to talk more sans the distractions and discuss even matters involving their future as husband and wife.
Rona admits that Eric is actually the better half when it comes to solving puzzles. As it appears, the competition requires more than brute and brawn; it involves understanding clues to find answers and get to the next step.
Eric seems to have everything in the brawn and brain department down pat as he gets most of the answers. Rona attributes this to her husband’s extensive experience as a gamer, which has helped enhance Eric’s reflexes and ability to think and move fast.
“I thought it would be a hindrance. I was like, ‘Ano ba ‘to, laki-laking bata!’ But it really paid off,” says Rona, revealing her initial distaste for Eric’s video game habits.
Eric and Rona are happy to report that they didn’t have any real arguments during the month they shot “The Amazing Race Asia.” They did however feel the pressure and panic at certain instances. Calming each other’s nerves became quite a challenge but that didn’t stop them from sharing words of encouragement.
“Keep on going,” Eric would tell his wife.
“Just finish. Finish the game,” Rona would tell Eric.
Despite his obviously strong physique and experience as an athlete, Eric admits that “The Amazing Race Asia” is unlike anything he has ever gotten into.
“It’s a totally different ball game. Unless you’re used to running around with your heavy backpacks already. That’s one thing you have to be extra mindful of. When you’re running, you’re running with an extra 15 or 20 pounds on your back. That’s completely different from what I normally do on a daily basis lifting weights.”
The $100,000 grand prize is an attractive incentive, and would certainly go a long way in their wish to have a child via the In Vitro Fertilization method.
“With the prize money, we hope to start a family. We were told basically that we can no longer start a family naturally, we can no longer get pregnant naturally. So we have to resort to IVF and that does cost money. So we use that as a motivation,” said Rona.
But the money is not the only reason why Rona tried out to be part of the race. She wants to correct the preconceived notion about buxom people like herself. “I want to change the views of people that big people are lazy and can’t move. I want to serve as an inspiration to others that you can live the life you want to regardless of your shape, size, color or gender,” she shares.
Joining Eric and Rona from the Philippines are beauty queens Maggie Wilson and Parul Shah. “The Amazing Race Asia Season 5” airs on Thursdays, 9PM on AXN.http://www.interaksyon.com/entertainment/eric-and-rona-tai-see-their-marriage-as-an-advantage-in-the-amazing-race-asia/