SURVIVOR Insights 158: San Juan Del Sur – It’s Blood vs. Water Again! (Episode 1)

Watching the premiere episode made me realize a Blood vs. Water season can be two-times better with all new players and without Redemption Island. With no single returnee around, this season started fresh. It felt a lot different too. It opened a new chapter of adventure and excitement, unlike in season 27 – where things were successful, ratings-wise (9.73 million viewers during the pilot), but were too experimental.

The nine pairs were divided into two tribes. “The Coyopa Tribe with orange buffs is made up of Jaclyn, Val, Josh, Alec, John Rocker, Wes, Baylor, Nadiya and Dale. The Hunahpu Tribe with blue buffs is made up of Jon Misch, Jeremy, Reed, Julie, Natalie, Keith, Missy, Drew and Kelley (CBS).”

Survivor San Juan Del Sur Cast

With Nadiya’s gone for good, only seventeen new faces were left and I already made up my mind who my first impression favorites are. It’s my pre-season routine since Borneo to choose a set of favorites based on what I read and watch in their bios and cast videos, respectively. Whoever I choose, I seem to expect one-two-three-four or if not impossible, all of them will either make the merge, make the final 4 or one of them wins.

For the record, I picked the winner six times. Aras Baskauskas in season 12, Parvati Shallow in season 16, JT in season 18, Kim Spradlin in season 24, John Cochran in season 26 and Tyson Apostol in season 27. In B-B-B, Woo would have became my seventh.

This feels pressure, yeah, but will my instincts still work this season?

First Pick: JON MISCH

Survivor San Juan Del Sur Jon & Jeremy

This 26-year-old Hunahpu member plays against his college sweetheart, Jaclyn. In his bio, Jon reveals he’s an outgoing, unpredictable and intuitive financial assistant residing in Waterford, Michigan. His hobbies include working out, playing piano and researching wine. He believes he can win the season because he’s physically and socially fit to outwit, outplay and outlast others.

Jon reminds me of Hayden in season 27. Both have the right combination of class and charisma to last longer. Other players will like Jon due to his camp abilities to start a fire and de-bone a fish but may perceive him as a tripe threat considering his social skill to tell people what they only need to hear.


This 36-year-old Hunahpu member plays against his wife, Val. He reveals in his bio he’s an athletic, straight-forward and smiling firefighter residing in Foxbro, Massachusetts. His hobbies include basketball, working out, watching fantasy football and coaching his daughters. He believes he can win the season due to his ability to bring people to his side. He claims he’s a monster in physical challenges.

I remembered Jeremy as one of the standout characters during the pilot episode. Upon arrival in the arena, he outplayed his wife in the very first duel of the season. His wife was sent to Exile Island and he chose Keith to accompany her.


Survivor San Juan Del Sur Baylor and Kelley

This 20-year-old Coyopa member plays against her mom, Missy. She reveals in her bio she’s an entertaining, determined and passionate student residing in Nashville, Tennessee (Dallas Texas according to her cast video). Her hobbies include songwriting, snow skiing and yoga. She believes she can win the season because she feels secure and confident to not allow others’ opinions affect her game.

Baylor joined the show to compete with herself. She wants to challenge her limitations and hopefully, she becomes a better version of herself. Baylor seems to have a different game plan but I still can’t help but ask, will she play like Ciera Eastin? Will she also vote her mom out just to get far?


This 28-year-old Hunahpu member plays against her dad, Dale. She reveals in her bio she’s a competitive, reliable and stubborn marketing manager residing in Seattle, Washington. Her hobbies include playing soccer, tennis and board games particularly Scrabble. She believes she can win the season because she never gives up. Her positive belief to complete various challenges might help her get on top.

Even with a competitive personality, Kelley was an under-the-radar type of character during the pilot. The edit didn’t give her enough airtime, except for that one moment wherein Jeremy approached her for an alliance.

Immunity Challenge Alert: 1 Hunahpu, 0 Coyopa

The first immunity challenge of the season was a tight race between the two teams. It involved racing up a giant tower and solving a complicated puzzle. During the final stages of the challenge, Coyopa was already working on the puzzle while Hunahpu was still climbing the third tower. However, Jon, Reed, Kelley and Julie brought victory for Hunahpu as they finished the puzzle first.

Poll Time:

Photos Courtesy of: CBS

IPTL Manila Leg Starts 28 November 2014 at Mall Of Asia (MOA) Arena, Philippines


The long wait is over as the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) brings an extraordinary tennis team competition in the Philippines for the first time. Tickets are now sold on all SM Branch outlets.

The grand event will officially start on November 28 until the 30th at Mall Of Asia Arena (MOA).

IPTL Press Conference in Manila
During the Manila Press Conference

Mahesh Bhupati serves as the IPTL brainchild while Eric Gottschalk acts as the Chief Operating Officer (COO). The goal is to market the sport in Asian countries, particularly in Manila who only saw tennis superstars during the Fire And Ice Exhibition between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg twenty more years ago (The Passionate Fan, Yahoo Sports 2014).

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Watch Gottschalk’s interview for Sports Desk

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“SM is the biggest conglomerate in the Philippines and having them as a partner adds a lot of value to our property and validates the potential of our league. I would like to thank SM for their long term commitment to the IPTL and the Manila Mavericks and we look forward to staging a World Premiere at MOA Arena in November (IPTL Press Release, 28 August 2014).” Bhupati said, who won four Grand Slam titles in doubles and eight in mixed doubles.

IPTL Format Explained
Click The Photo To Watch The Video

IPTL will introduce new rules for an indoor surface. I’m not sure what type of hardcourt will be used but I’m certain the competition made an exciting team format for a sport that is always played in singles and doubles.

Each team (Manila, Singapore, India and UAE) will play five sets of different ties. That’s one set for men’s and for women’s singles, another set for men’s doubles followed by a set for mixed doubles. Finally, a legend’s singles will close out the show in the fifth.

Unlike the traditional scoring, IPTL adds a power point in the mix. Please watch the video above as it explains the format in detail.

IPTL First Leg
FIRST LEG: November 28, 29 & 30

Five-time grand slam champion, Maria Sharapova, and 2013 Wimbledon Champion, Andy Murray, will led the Manila Mavericks. Their team mates are:

  • Jo-Wilfredo Tsonga – The 2008 Australian Open finalist
  • Kirsten Flipkens – The 2013 Sportswoman of the Year in Belgium
  • Carlos Moya – The retired Spaniard who was a former World No. 1 and 1998 French Open Singles Champion
  • Daniel Nestor – The lefty Canadian with eight slam titles in doubles
  • Treat Huey – The 28-year-old Filipino pro with three titles in doubles

Where Are The Tickets?

IPTL Tickets For Manila Leg

Admit it, this is a lifetime experience for all die-hard young and old Filipino fans.

Reason 1: Tickets are available in all SM Tickets nationwide (click the photo on the right). Tickets are expensive, yes but it’s still worth the pay considering it’s a three-day pass and you’ll watch more than two tennis superstars in one of the grandest venues in the country.

Reason 2: News reports say early bird rates are given until the 15th of September.

Reason 3: Manila wasn’t even the original location for IPTL first leg should the organizers haven’t changed the venue from Bangkok (UK Daily Mail, 10 May 2014).

Reason 4: Organizers will hold side events where fans can meet their favorite tennis stars (Sports Desk, 3 October 2014).

General admission costs 2,500 Php while the VIP clocks at 49,000 Php. Again, these rates are good for a three-day event.

I’m no good in math but as I understand it, you’re paying 16,000+ Php each day if you’ll choose the VIP area, which can only accommodate 44 people. Upper box, lower box and patron are the other types of seating with 3-day passes.

Apart from Manila Mavericks, other players will come to represent their teams. These confirmed players are:

Serena Williams (18-time Grand Slam Champion in singles), Daniela Hantuchova (Former World Number 5), Tomas Berdych (2010 Wimbledon finalist in singles), Lleyton Hewitt (2-time Grand Slam Champion in singles), Patrick Rafter (retired 2-time US Open Champion in singles) and Nick Kyrgios (ATP Rising Australian Star) will play for Singapore Slammers.

IPTL Second Leg
SECOND LEG: December 2, 3 & 4

Ana Ivanovic (2008 French Open Champion in singles), Gael Monfils (Former World Number 7) and Fabrice Santoro (retired Australian Open Champion in doubles) represent Micromax Indian Aces.

IPTL Third Leg
THIRD LEG: December 6, 7 & 8

Marin Cilic (2014 US Open Champion in singles), Eugenie Bouchard (WTA Rising Canadian Star), Richard Gasquet (Former World Number 7) and Goran Ivanisevic (2001 Wimbledon Champion in singles) will play for UAE Royals.

IPTL Final Leg
FINAL LEG: December 11, 12 & 13

IPTL revealed “more” players will come and play in MOA Arena. While reading, I was asking myself “what do they mean by “more?”

“More” speaks volumes. It might either mean other superstars will come or these are the surprised replacements should there be unexpected injuries to any of the players written above.

But enough of the guessing game. This is IPTL, not Wheel of Fortune. Thankfully, the organizers released the match schedules for Manila Leg. I hope they will also release the players’ names in each tie so I can make early predictions.

First Day, (November 28, Friday)

  • 4:00 PM, India vs Singapore
  • 7:30 PM, Manila vs UAE

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Second Day, (November 29, Saturday)

  • 4:00 PM, UAE vs Singapore
  • 7:30 PM, Manila vs India

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Third Day, (November 30, Sunday)

  • 4:00 PM, UAE vs India
  • 7:30 PM, Manila vs Singapore

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After Manila leg, IPTL moves on to Singapore, India and UAE. The scheduled dates are December 2 to 4, December 6 to 8 and December 11 to 13, respectively. UAE will be the final leg of the team competition and the team with more number of games win will hail as the overall champion.

IMPORTANT: For more news and updates, please follow IPTL in Twitter. You can also contact SM Tickets for more information.