Survivor Insights 46: Amanda Wins Survivor Philippines Season 2 in Palau

Amanda won Survivor Philippines season two and she was the first Pinay Sole Survivor. Truth of this matter is; she deserves the title more than Justine and Jef. Here’s why:

1) Amanda was the immunity queen of this season.

With respect to Shaun, he won the very first individual immunity challenge and the one who was in the possession of the hidden immunity object and played it during the Tribal Council. But it’s totally a different case for Amanda, she won immunity two challenges in a row. The first was an endurance game and the second, it was all physical and speed. She and Mika were in a race while building the tower but Amanda emerged as the better player that time. Although she did not won the final immunity challenge against Charles, she leveled up her game to her advantage during the tiebreaker (fire challenge).

2) Amanda played a social game that has a long-term effect.

Among the final three, Justine was the great player, socially and mentally. She tried her best to get the numbers on her side although she was not part of the original Korror or Airai for a long period of time. No doubt, Justine was the Mentalist of this season, not Troy. The only downfall with Justine’s social game, she became too aggressive. Too upfront and that destroyed her overall game. As for Amanda, her social game did not only involve the strategic side of the game. Remember what she said during the final tribal council? Amanda combined HEART & BRAINS in her answers. She got too personal when she needed to and that what made her the true sole survivor of this season.

3) Amanda stayed loyal to her alliance.

The one great thing about Amanda was she did not choose to play the “TWO FACE” like Parvati Shallow did in SURVIVOR MICRONESIA. The two-face is probably the riskiest type of game in SURVIVOR. This strategy can only yield a winner or an error for you. Amanda’s game was right in the middle. She was not the most outspoken castaway in her group. In former Airai, between Amanda and Mika, Amanda was the follower. In New Korror, Amanda remained number 2 in terms of strength and power (next to Shaun, Marvin and Suzuki) and the most deserving to stay among the girls (Echo and Jef).

4) Amanda was not a threat.

If there’s a big threat in the final three, that was Justine. Justine played very well. She deserves the title but if she won, that could be predictable. It’s nearly like Roger Federer with several rough tests en route to Wimbledon title. For Amanda, her “intelligence” game was an average. Her social game was just in the right lines and luckily, she played her chances very well. During the final four, Amanda could have been the last member of the jury but she decided to side with Jef and that worked. Thanks Jef! Kudos for you too. Je’f’s game was not as solid as Amanda and Justine’s but she got lucky and drove her way into the finals. You see, luck is always a part of the game and you need to learn to use it as your last resort. Amanda got also lucky and yes, that cost her 4-3 votes over Justine.


Survivor Insights 45: Evil Russel Stays Alive

I was not feeling well while watching SURVIVOR SAMOA episode nine. My head was in great pain and I accidentally fell asleep after the Immunity Challenge. But I suddenly woke up during the last two votes in Tribal Council and whoa, Kelly took the cut.

“It was a bummer to see Kelly go, as she was a bit of an innocent bystander.  But when you’re playing the “quiet” game that can happen.

Coming into tribal council Galu was clearly cocky, but they damn sure did not leave with the same confidence.

When Russell stood up to play the idol once again, the reactions of Kelly, Dave, Monica and Laura were solid gold.

As I continued to read Russell votes, you could feel the Galu tribe growing anxious… wondering… whose name (from Galu) was going to come up on the parchment.

When Kelly saw her name, she knew it was over.

Goodbye dreads.  Loved having you and you will be missed, although I’m sure Erik is excited you’re sticking around to be on the jury.” Jeff Probst wrote on his blog.

Russel H Stays Alive

If there’s anyone in SURVIVOR who played like the Mentalist and a fortune teller, that would be Russel H. Russel, the great strategist. Russel, the manipulator. And he’s the first survivor who found the hidden immunity without a clue… TWICE!

I was amazed with Russel’s ability to analyze things around him. Finding what is hidden is like chewing a peanut to Russel. He went there, get around, look up the sky, scan through the trees, walk down the bridge and there you go, there was the hidden immunity idol once again and whoa, a kiss from Shambo. Sweet.

This time around, Russel played it for a purpose. It was in the right timing. Former Galu (Shambo, Brett, Dave, Monica, John and Kelly) voted for him, unfortunately, it was not his time to go. KUDOS for Russel once again. Whether he advance further in the game or not, he deserves a spot in the next SURVIVORS ALL-STARS.

Bottomline is, Kelly was blinsided. She was clueless about it and Shambo, with the help of Russel, created a plot against her.

The Reward Challenge

I enjoyed this episode’s reward challenge. Natalie completely thought Dave’s group was the underdog but things were not really as it seems. John, Kelly, Dave and Shambo carried pole filled with black and white coconuts like a cheetah. I just wondered why Kelly and Shambo were not given a chance to help. John carried the pole all by himself and Dave shouldered all the load.

It was a tight race between Team Dave and Team Mick. Dave helped his team reveal all the four numbers using the coconut poles and it boiled down to Laura and Monica.

Although Laura went up for her group, Monica (the 25-year-old law student from San Diego) did not put much-pressure on herself and success, Team Dave won.

Another Dark Horse or the One Next to Go?

Laura won this episode’s immunity challenge. She was behind Mick and Shambo during the second part of the challenge but she took a big step, solving the wall-puzzle-maze like a pro.

“Laura came through in a big way and clearly had no idea how desperately she needed immunity.  Had she not won, she would have been voted out and Kelly would still be in the game. (Jeff Probst)

Kelly’s RealityNewsOnline Interview

Survivor Insights 44: First Blindside in Aiga

The remaining twelve called themselves “Aiga.” According to Brett, this a Samoan term for extended family and hahaha, as I was reading the blog of Jeff Probst, this is what he said;

“Extended family? Gimme a break. (Truth be told, Brett probably really means it and Brett is the kind of guy that outside of the game you’d be friends with, your families would dig each other, and you’d end up having a lifelong friendship. But this is in the game and that’s a different story.)”

“Plus, think about it, Brett had to research that name before he even left America, which is downright irritating. Not sure why it’s irritating, but it is. Maybe it’s because Brett is so likable.”

No need for me to doubt, Brett reminds me of JT of this season. He was a “nice guy high” on camp. Almost everyone liked to be his friend and like JT, Brett was playing an “under-the-radar” game to his advantage. Unluckily, the game was really on when he broke the boys’ alliance.

Russel’s Dominance Came to an End

This was the first time I saw Russel H was out of his comfort zone. His social game was slowly disappearing. You could clearly see in his poker face that he was already scared for his life and whoa, he played his hidden immunity idol during the Tribal Council.

I am not sure if playing the hidden idol was a good shot for Russel. I could not read what’s exactly on his mind that time but I was sure, Russel could not anymore control his paranoia and that alone, he was forced to play the idol.

I am not sure what will happen to Russel but here’s my take, the next episode will be intense, just like this merged episode, and honestly, I like Russel to stay but the road to survival will be very difficult. Perhaps, Russel needs to turn the heat down and be submissive (just for the meantime) with the numbers.

“Who’s Erik, Our Erik?!”

These were the words of Shambo upon the shakeup in Aiga’s camp. Brett and Dave were threatened by Erik’s aggression. Erik was gunning for Monica and just by watching it, I was confused. Why Erik (the season’s proud womanizer who held two degrees, Psychology and Sociology) wanted Monica out when that plan could wait? Call me bias but my decision remains the same. Erik and Monica were one of my first impression bets and if it’ll come to a point they need to get rid with each other, that could have happened in the final episode. Who knows? This season could be Aras-Danielle (season 12) all over again.

But it was too late.

Erik’s plans backfired at him. He was again a victim of blindside and became the first member of the jury. It’s disappointing he did not play the hidden immunity idol before the votes were announced.

Plain and simple folks: Erik was one of the physical threats of this season, sadly, he ended his game off. His outspoken attitude devoured him. His confidence already became a danger to his alliance and Dave could not do anything but forced to break it.

As what Erik said in his Reality News Interview, Survivor is “one of those crazy games of opposites where you become weaker but you become stronger. You see the most disgusting side of human beings but you also see the most beautiful part of human beings when they become raw and real. Even if it goes against you, it’s still beautiful. Sometimes we make mistakes but sometimes we make great decisions that are very human spirited.”

Erik at Ponderosa

Erik the day after

Who are the Wildcards and the Dark Horses?

Two Galu members won this week’s immunity challenge.

John did not waste time. His focus was unbreakable and boom, hit the ball with a bat and scored 5. In women’s side, Laura wowed everyone. She hit the ball with great power and zoom, she scored 4.

This was the great thing about female-after-male Immunity Challenge. It was an open ground for Laura to win. Her chances were high. For John, he might have a hard time defeating the other alpha males but still, his chances were not slim. John could dominate.

I opened this post by saying Brett’s playing style reminded me of JT’s. His charismatic demeanor can probably help him go farther with a best friend along the way.

The only question is, if Brett is JT, who’s Stephen? It’s hard to pick who’s the Stephen of this season. Stephen was all-brains and perhaps, Dave can handle to be in that position.

I don’t know with the Foa Foa three (Mick, Jaison and Natalie). They were totally the underdogs in this episode and only Russel was making a huge effort to advance. But seems like, Russel’s playing style somehow reminded me of Randy in Gabon. Russel’s sharp understanding of the game can either yield errors or winners for him. No matter what, Russel still needs the help of the three to survive.

Let’s put that Natalie was responsible for Erik’s cut. Okay, that type of social strategy works. Everyone in Galu believed her but I am not sure if that strategy would be for long-term or just for now.

With respect to Monica’s game, inactiveness was not an answer. She needed to weigh things at the right corners and breeze through. She was a beautiful woman and yeah, I am excited to see if she uses it and flirt her way to survival.

What’s The Ugly Truth?

Katherine Heigl does it again. Her latest romantic-comedy film, The Ugly Truth, was crazy. I watch it last night and I could not stop laughing. The most hilarious scene was the restaurant meeting. Abby, played by the 2007 Emmy’s Best Supporting Actress (Katherine Heigl), was wearing an underwear with vibrator inside. Accidentally, Abby could not find the vibrator’s remote control, which flew in the hands of a young kid sitting behind them.

Abby was in great pleasure while talking to her colleagues. Mike, the male chauvinist host of the show THE UGLY TRUTH as played by Gerard Butler, was sitting next to Abby and he’s the only person in the group who knew why Abby behaved uncomfortably.

That scene was really crazy. All I did was laugh and laugh even my stomach was already aching. Katherine Heigl nailed the CEVICHE scene. She really acted like a woman who was totally out of her comfort zones.

Critic Ratings:

It’s a bit upsetting this film received negative feedback from several boards of critics. Rotten Tomatoes only gave it 15% approval rate while the AV Club marked it a D.

That’s all right, The Ugly Truth was still a major success. Wikipedia reveals its gross revenue reached $104,863,190.

Personal Ratings & Insights:

I am not a big fan of romantic comedy films. The Ugly Truth is not the kind of film I regularly want to watch. This genre is not even in my top list of movies of all time. But, I am laughing my lungs out watching this movie and that alone deserves a nod. Although the script is not made for “Oscar’s Best Picture,” The Ugly Truth is still in its solid state and it echoes the events in real life.

Most people create set of rules when it comes to romantic love without understanding these rules only destroy the fluidity of a relationship. No matter how you justify it, love is probably the hardest algebraic expression that has no specific answer. Even the experts in psychology could not exactly explain its mysteries.

Love happens naturally. You can’t fight it no matter how painful it is and that’s the ugly truth.


Survivor Insights 43: Merge is Coming

The boys’ alliance (Erik, Brett, John and Dave) in Galu was heating up. They immediately elected Shambo as their leader and that leave three girls (Monica, Laura and Kelly) in vulnerable positions.

Heck, I could not understand why these boys wanted Monica out. If These boys singled out Monica as a weakling in challenges, was that enough to vote her out? Monica played with confidence during this episode’s reward challenge.

It was all good when Shambo appointed Brett to be the leader of the challenge. Foa Foa was trying to survive, finding pairs and trying to catch up but Galu did not feel threaten. Who sealed the challenge with a win? It was Monica. Monica does not deserve to go.

Foa Foa Losing Streaks

At Foa Foa camp, Mick was overanalyzing the reasons of their loses. It’s quite ridiculous to listen to him. Mick believed in superstitions when in real life, he’s a doctor- a strong believer in science. The truth of the manner was superstitions had nothing to do with Foa Foa’s downfalls.

All of them showed confidence in challenges but the consistency was not there. They could not simply pick up the broken pieces and zoom through. Perhaps, is it because they were all hungry and they could not 100% focus? Maybe. Physical comfort was also a big factor here.

But I wonder why Galu could still win two challenges in a row when they were just alarmed by Russel S unexpected exit.

Mental toughness, this was probably the one thing Galu had but Foa Foa did not have from the start.

I was not sure if Foa Foa still got the numbers in the next episode’s merge. Back in season 18, Jalapao was 3-1 in the final four although they were completely underdogs during the merge (4-6). For now, Foa Foa’s hopes to stay in the game was all up to Russel H. If his cunning skills will work, bringing Mick, Jaison and Natalie in the circle, they can survive. If not, no Foa Foa in the final four.

And Jeff Probst agreed with me,

“The miracle would be making it to the merge and then making something happen. Big and immediate. Count on Russell to give it his best shot… If there is a crack in Galu’s armor he will find it and he will do his best to exploit it in the most beneficial way. Thus, Russell is Foa Foa’s only hope at this point. He’s just crazy enough to risk it all on a wild plan. Natalie is very sharp and if he holds onto her, together they could make something happen.”

Jeff Probst Blog

Galu Wins Immunity!

Liz and Natalie were quick in fishing the puzzle pieces but Dave had a hard time. He was struggling. Foa Foa was in the lead.

They were first in the puzzle board but each one (Mick, Jaison and Liz) had a different idea. Emotions were everywhere and seems like they were working as individuals rather than as a group.

Galu managed to regroup themselves and chose to stay focus on what they’re doing.

Luckily, Brett, Dave and Kelly pulled it off. They found the pattern, stayed on track and success.

Galu wins immunity and coming to merge at 8!

BUT, is there really a merge or living only in same camps (like in season 5 in Thailand)?

Tribal Council

For that, the Foa Foa five found themselves sitting at the Tribal Council again. Jaison admitted his mistakes and claimed he was deserving to go. Yet, Russel H was not convinced. He and the group decided to oust Liz instead (4-1).

Here’s what Jeff Probst thinks,

“WAS LIZ THE RIGHT VOTE? That’s a tough one. I think Liz had a great attitude, but the trust factor was too much. I imagine this was one of those votes when you had to really trust your gut.

Question of the week: Will Foa Foa win another challenge or will they continue to crumble?”

Liz RNO Interview


Suzuki became the fourth member of the jury and it’s really frustrating this 21-year-old student did not do anything to stay longer in the game. Suzuki’s efforts were out the line. His social game was passive and he was all too nice. He had the hidden immunity object at hand and gave it up. For this, no one should be blamed for Suzuki’s exit but he himself alone. He had chances even when he gave the hidden immunity object to Shaun but those chances were left in ashes.

Shaun was a threat and he needed to go since the merger but he survived four tribal councils in a row as a Sonsorol. First tribal council, Shaun was saved by the immunity necklace. During the back-to-back Tribal Council, his social game worked on his benefit and luckily, he was still safe. Fourth Tribal Council, Shaun got 5 votes but was saved by the hidden immunity object, which Suzuki gave him.

As of last night, only five castaways were in a roll. Amanda, Mika, Jeff, Justine and Charles. My first impression bets are now down to two (Amanda and Jeff) but nevermind, Amanda won the last immunity “endurance” challenge (d. Shaun) that lasted for nearly six hours standing at the middle of a bamboo plank with only one hand supporting a bucket filled with water.

I knew Amanda could play a great social game although she did not win that challenge but I was still very glad she won that necklace and outplayed, outlasted the alpha male of the group.

Last night, Amanda won the reward challenge with a loved one. I appreciated if she chose Jef and her best friend over Mika and her dad. Plain and simple: Jef and Amanda were in one team since day one and the time has come for them to create a plan that will take them to the final two.

Amanda already brought Mika with her during the phone call reward and yes, it’s a bit disappointing her social game was off last night.

Strategizing with Mika could only mean her demise now that the three at camp (Justine, Charles and Jef) are gunning for her and Mika.

Geez, Amanda needs to save herself. If she’s ousted, I am down to one first impression bet, Jef and as I see it, Jef’s chances being in the final two is pretty slim. Of course, there are still ways she can destroy the bond between Justine and Charles but do you think Jef can outplay the two?