Look Ma, 2 Pinoy teams!
By Pam Pastor
Last updated 07:39pm (Mla time) 09/29/2006
WE’VE kept our mouths shut long enough. Now we’re here to spill great secrets. And when we say secrets, we mean the identities of the contestants of The Amazing Race Asia, which will be aired later this year on AXN.
Yes, we have them all here--all ten teams competing for glory and US$100,000. Who are they? Where did they come from? Who should you root for?
1. Andrew and Syeon
Where they’re from: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
How they’re related: They’ve been dating for 18 months
The 411: Andrew is Malaysian and Syeon is an Australian of Korean descent. They met while snowboarding in Australia three years ago.
Their strengths: A strong belief in and support for each other.
Their fears: Andrew anticipates that the physical challenges in the race may be too much, especially for Syeon. Syeon is apprehensive about the emotional and mental stress. "Under the pressure of the race, a relationship can either go in a positive or negative way," says Andrew.
Their strategy: One, they will let Andrew make decisions during the race. Two, they will put their emotions aside as they play the game. Three, they intend to be in the top three at each leg. Four, they will rely on their extensive travel experience. Five, they refuse to play dirty.
Why you should root for them: Cheese galore. "You can’t put a price on this one in a lifetime chance to race around the world with a loved one," says Andrew.
2. Prashant and Sahil
Where they’re from: Mumbai, India
How they’re related: They’re friends.
The 411: Prashant and Sahil, models from India’s entertainment capital, have been friends for three years. Prashant organizes events and Sahil works for his family’s business and the two regularly hit the gym. Sahil is more outgoing and spontaneous while Prashant is more laid back and more patient.
Their strengths: Their compatibility, their mutual understanding as close friends and their ability to perform better under stress. Prashant also believes their different personalities provide their team balance. "The thing that I lack, he excels in." Their pride in representing their country may also be the fuel that can drive them towards the finish line.
Their fears: The two haven’t seen that many episodes of The Amazing Race.
Their strategy: Give the race everything they’ve got. Sahil says, "We won’t over- or under-analyze the situation, we’ll just do what it takes."
Why you should root for them: Because Bollywood hunks who have a mutual understanding are hot.
3. Sandy and Francesca
Where they’re from: Hong Kong
How they’re related: They’ve been dating for a few months.
The 411: Sandy, a personal trainer, and Francesca, a model, have known each other for a year and had only been dating for four months when they decided to join The Amazing Race Asia. They are eager to discover if they have what it takes to stand up to pressure in front of the cameras. Sandy says, "The race will be the experience of a lifetime."
Their strengths: Their confidence, being comfortable with one another, having a good head on their shoulders, a keen and positive sense of competitiveness and saying no to quitting.
Their strategy: Sandy and Francesca intend to have a really good time. They plan to play the best that they can, take things as they come and arrive at solutions whenever a problem arises. It looks like Francesca will be this team’s leader--she likes being in control and is a big talker. They agree that talking is a huge part of her personality.
Why you should root for them: Hurrah for new couples!
4. Laura and Andy
Where they’re from: Koh Samui, Thailand
How they’re related: They’re business partners and they’re a couple too.
The 411: Laura and Andy have been together for seven years and have been running a home business in Thailand. Andy is outgoing while Laura is more reserved. "Laura is more mature, so I bring a bit of youth into the equation," Andy said.
Their strengths: Their close working and living relationship. The two say they’ve "stress-proofed" their relationship even before joining the race. Traveling together isn’t new to them--they’ve been to 14 countries together. Laura keeps Andy grounded and Andy keeps Laura on her toes. Their different personalities create the perfect balance. Laura and Andy say they are resourceful and can think out of the box and they believe they have "that vital outrageous spark of creativity needed to win the race."
Their fears: No fears for this confident couple.
Their strategy: "When stress hits the other teams, we plan to still be laughing!" said Andy. Laura and Andy have no clear strategy though. They believe having a plan might "impair their ability to react in real time to situations that develop during the race."
Why you should root for them: Because people who can think out of the box rock.
5. Sharon and Melody
Where they’re from: Singapore
How they’re related: They’re former schoolmates.
The 411: Sharon and Melody were former schoolmates but they only bonded after graduating. Melody, who has appeared in films and television shows in Singapore, is an extrovert who loves sports. Sharon is a self-described office slave.
Their strengths: Their connection, their unified faith and single-minded focus--to win the Amazing Race Asia and have fun along the way. They both did a 10k Marathon in 2005 and survived stronger than ever.
Their fears: They are wary of things they will be asked to do. Melody has a fear of heights while Sharon is dreading “ambiguity and eating bugs.”
Their strategy: To focus on themselves rather than the other teams, making themselves their own greatest opponents. Their primary aim is to do the best they possibly can and come out with a stronger friendship, stronger mindsets and better people. Says Sharon, "As a team we are focused and mindful of the rules, here to have some good clean fun."
Why you should root for them: Because an all-girl team should win The Amazing Race soon.
6. Ernesto and Jill
Where they’re from: Manila, Philippines
How they’re related: They’ve been married for ten years and have three kids.
The 411: Ernie and Jeena met because Jeena’s sister is married to Ernie’s first cousin. Ernie started rock climbing with Jeena’s best friend and the two bonded because of their fanatical love of sports. "Our relationship is an adventure," Ernie says. Described as fun and boisterous, Ernie believes they are "the clowns" of the race.
Their strengths: Their potent mix of athleticism and experience. "We’ve survived ten years of married life, so I hope that speaks for how well we’ll do as a team," says Jeena. They’ve traveled extensively and are very sporty and fit. They hike, rock climb, technical dive, bungee jump and skydive together.
Their fears: Ernie’s intensity, Jeena’s drive and the couple’s sense of humor leave little space for fear. "We know that this will give us more challenges," says Jeena, "But we hope to keep up that lighter side of things."
Their strategy: Take each day as it comes. "We know that this will give us more challenges," says Jeena, "But we hope to keep up that lighter side of things."
Why you should root for them: Because there’s a huge chance they’ll win.
7. Aubrey and Jacqueline
Where they’re from: Manila, Philippines
How they’re related: They’re best friends.
The 411: The actress and model met through Aubrey’s sister and, despite their differences, have been best friends since. Aubrey said, "I am very organized, and she’s not." Jacqueline added, “She complains all the time, and I do not.”
Their strengths: "Our passion and being adventurous," Jacqueline said. The girls shouldn’t be dismissed as just "eye candy." Aubrey said, "We are really skinny, we don’t look so athletic, but it is all about what’s inside you." They are hard-working and have a strong competitive streak that should be watched out for. Although they jokingly compare themselves to Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, they might just be a force to reckon with, excelling in high-energy tasks like rock climbing and go-karting.
Their fears: The girls only expressed their hopes. "I think this will bring us closer," says Jacqueline.
Their strategy: They’re not telling.
Why you should root for them: Because girls rule.
8. Sahran and Howard
Where they’re from: Colombo, Sri Lanka
How they’re related: They’ve been best friends for ten years.
The 411: The two met through a series of coincidences that they swear is too complicated to explain. British-born Howard is an area manager for a British tour agency while Sri Lankan Sahran is an interior decorator and events manager.
Their strengths: Sahran is a typical Aries, who lives in the moment and makes decisions on the spot and Howard is a typical Taurus, who needs to think about things for a long while before he can decide. Howard calls the result "the seesaw effect"--if one is up, the other one is down and vice versa. Sahran and Howard see this as a strength, allowing them to pick the other up when he is down. The two have also traveled extensively together and are strong advocates of travel. Sahran says, "People’s problems come from their lack of understanding of other countries and civilizations in the world. The more people travel, the more understanding they generate within themselves." Howard adds, "Our team’s advantage is our sensitivity to the people and the environments we go into."
Their fears: Missing the comforts of home. Howard says he gets grumpy if he doesn’t have regular meals and Sahran likes having a shower every day.
Their strategy: To be motivated by new experiences and the excitement.
Why you should root for them: Because diversity is sexy.
9. Zabrina and Joe Jer
Where they’re from: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
How they’re related: Zabrina and Joe Jer used to work together.
The 411: The two met while working at a TV station and share an intense passion for reality TV. Now it’s their turn to be in the spotlight.
Their strengths: They are quick-witted, spontaneous, and more than a little gutsy. They know each other very well and are both heavily into competitive sports. Because of their differences, Zabrina and Joe Jer can compensate for one another’s shortcomings. They also believe their knowledge in reality TV can take them a long way. Being hardcore fans of The Amazing Race and knowing the game inside out, Zabrina and Joe Jer should know which mistakes to avoid. "We know the game," says Zabrina. "We really know it. We watch it all the time. We take note of all the things that go wrong and right in the game."
Their fears: Their lack in physical stature.
Their strategy: Let other teams underestimate their strengths.
Why you should root for them: Because they’re huge fans of the show. That’s like letting a groupie sing lead. Or something.
10. Mardy and Marsio
Where they’re from: Jakarta, Indonesia
How they’re related: They’re brothers.
The 411: Born two years apart, Mardy and Marsio spent a lot of time together when they were young and even lived together in the US for a while. Now that they’re adults, have jobs and their own families, the two haven’t been spending as much time together. They believe joining the race will be a good chance to reconnect.
Their strengths: "Our biggest strength is our brain, and our perseverance," said Marsio.
Their fears: Although they are concerned that their physical state is one of their weaknesses, the two have similar motivations. "We want to win The Amazing Race Asia for our children and our wives."
Their strategy: Let other teams underestimate them. They may not look athletic but these boys are active too, even going diving together. "Hopefully our brotherhood will keep us strong and keep us going through the Race," Marsio said. "We can cover for each other," Mardy agreed.
Why you should root for them: According to a scientific study, siblings whose names begin with the same letter are 70 percent more likely to succeed than those whose names don’t. Kidding.