#Survivor Insights 197: Game Changers – Lessons Of The Story (E1)

Too much strategy talks doesn’t make you smart. It makes you a threat.

Ciera Eastin, 27, Oregon
Ciera Eastin, 27, Oregon

No one wants to trust someone who dictates what and how to do things.

Tony Vlachos, 42, New Jersey
Tony Vlachos, 42, New Jersey

Photos Courtesy of: CBS

#Survivor Insights 196: Game Changers – My Early Favorites

Survivor opens 2017 with a new and fourth season of all returnees. After All Stars (Season 8), Heroes vs. Villains (Season 20), Second Chance (Season 31), here comes Game Changers (Season 34).

Jack TV airs the complete season here in the Philippines.


I don’t read spoilers and news; therefore, I have no idea what twists and turns will happen. All I know is these 20 popular faces are divided into two tribes of 10 – Nuku (above) and Mana.


Layers and layers of unpredictability make an all returnee season stands out from the rest. Amber instead of Rob? Sandra over Parvati? Zero votes for Spencer?

Can you spot the similarities? If not, I’ll tell you. I’m a 16-year-old fan. I should have expected them all but I swear, these seasons are all heartbreakers. It left a mark to me permanently.

Yet, here I am again. I selected 4 early favorites after watching Jeff Probst’s cast assessment. I read their profiles too.

My Early Favorite 1: JT (31)


JT won this game way back in Tocantins (Season 18). It’s a landslide win over his close buddy, Stephen, who played a more strategic game.

He came back but only finished tenth in Heroes vs. Villains. I remembered his exit marked as the funniest and dumbest episode in history.

Now he’s on his third attempt, what changes can he do to make things right?

When asked what will be his new strategy, he said he’ll be more careful in choosing an alliance. In a season without Russel Hantz and Parvati Shallow, how far can he go with this strategy?

Sandra stands as the only person who won twice, will JT be the first male to win twice?

My Early Favorite 2: Sierra (29)


Sierra played an almost flawless social game in White Collar, Blue Collar, No Collar (Season 30). She’s there but not quite.

This time around, Sierra wants to play big moves. She believes she’s a strong and more determined competitor. Looks like she’s in it to win it all (which sounds a bit uncontrollable to me).

Yet, she’s with JT in the same tribe. Will they be friends with benefits or foe with benefits?

My Early Favorite 3: Caleb (28)


Caleb regretted nothing in his first attempt in Kaoh Rong (Season 32). He’s the most valuable player before he was medically evacuated due to extreme dehydration.

It’s true. Caleb was never voted out. No one also attempted to. This season though, it’s interesting to see how his renaissance outwits, outplays and outplays 19 returnees who never experienced what he went through.

My Early Favorite 4: Michaela (25)


Returning for the second time, it seems Michaela learned her lessons well. She’s now planning to constantly monitor what others say about her than her saying this and that.

She’ll pay close attention to feelings (which is a great thing). In a game full of hungry people, emotions are always high. Can a Millennial Michaela control her own emotions and work her way on top?

Photos Courtesy of CBS

Never Trust Too Much

I knew him since third grade. We became homies in high school. Other people couldn’t understand why. He and I were like black and blue. We’re complete opposites. He’s walking-able who loves math. I’m spastic with a walker who loves psychology.


Notice the polarity? Yet, there’s this one episode in life that tested our bond.

College days, the friendship continued but limited. After graduation, we realized we fell in love with the same girl (love triangle for crying out loud!). I won’t name names but this girl was my closest friend.

She’s special to me. He’s my best friend.

I knew he felt a bit angry when I revealed I was falling in love with his high school crush. But I gathered all my courage. I went to his house and we talked like adult men.

Bad times happened. We went home brokenhearted.

He went to Manila for a new job offer. Friendship still continued. Homie and I continued chatting in Facebook – about work, money, new lifestyle and new love. Crazy stuffs included.

I dated someone. She was my college classmate. I was trying to know her better. I discontinued. I realized I never loved her.

Homie dated too. It seemed he had a new girlfriend for some time but he’s in denial to admit it. His Facebook status stayed “Single” but I didn’t buy it at all.

We bonded multiple times when he went back here in Davao. I knew what he went through. It ain’t easy and I chose not to detail it here.

It’s too personal to share.

It was late 2014 when I noticed our friendship was fading. Each time I invited him to chill somewhere, he’s always busy.

No problem with me. Yet, I noticed something different. It’s something unusual.

He’s getting more tired when I reached out through telephone or chat.

He’s complaining a lot. Too pressured.

I could put myself in his situation. I wanted to help but I wasn’t sure how.

I was only the best friend. I belonged in his second layer of support system.

I was aware telling him to relax was never enough. There were times I insisted him to chill, to cut his routine but his hectic schedule won’t allow him.

We never met in two years. Birthdays. Christmas. Ordinary days. We only talked online.

As expected, he complained a lot. Tired of this. Tired of that. Too much stress.

His voice sounded sad most of the time.

If he’s telling me the truth, it’s okay. If he’s telling me lies, that’s okay too. Yet, I couldn’t still deny there’s something different in the situation.

To make things clearer, I consulted his current situation to a psychologist. My goal was to understand and help him better.

I seemed to realize I was in the best position to help him. I clarified things to his mom and sister.

I asked if he was still doing anything to relax. Glad to hear he still was.

Currently, he finds a new girlfriend. In my mind, I said awesome, this is something new and something good to him.

It helps him become less sad. It gives him the sweet direction despite of a hectic routine.

I joke him though when we chat. These are the kind of bro-jokes shared by two young adults.

We’re millennials, you know.

I always laugh whenever I sent him these jokes. Yet, for some reasons unclear to me, he takes these jokes seriously.

I consider him conservative. Too sensitive in many controversial topics. I’m a liberal on the other hand.

I talk openly to him. I can approach a situation seriously (if needed) but most of the time, I say things jokingly. He’s my homie anyway.

I’m not sure what happened. He and his new girlfriend talked about me. The way I understand things, he shared some private information between us to her.

I never meet his girlfriend. I don’t even know the name.

I’m looking forward meeting her but that’s another different story.

I wonder why he reveals those information when it’s something too personal.

I don’t need to read their chats to know but I have good ideas what these are.

Come on, we’re brothers from another mother. Yet, this time around, it confuses me why he did that.

Yeah. We have an imperfect friendship. Things get more serious.

I, however, completely trust him to protect our conversations no matter what.

He has my life on his hand. I have his.

Back in the love triangle days, I never mentioned anything bad or good about him whenever I was with his crush.

The situation that time was: His crush and I (close friends) is entirely different from him and I (best friends) and I, his crush and him (triangle).

Seems like, I can feel confident if he shared the private conversations he had with his new girlfriend to his high school crush.

His crush was my close friend. She knew my story. She could judge me fairly.

I’m fully aware he wants his new girlfriend to trust him. Yes. She’s a complete stranger to me, however.

Why go too personal to someone new?

If he wants to talk about themselves then go ahead. Yet, I belong to a different zone.

Yes. I know. He only wants to introduce me but why introduce me with the private conversations we had (which is surely sensitive to other people, even it’s a joke)?

In this situation, it goes out like this:

Him and his new girlfriend (romantic relationship)

Him and I (best friends)

This time around, he belongs in the center. I trust him to protect me just I protected him. It’s no-brainer.

I don’t exactly understand. Seems like, the trust I have for him collapse.

As what Warren Buffet said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

He holds my reputation. He holds the story of my life. Why share it to someone I never knew? For how long have he been sharing this?

I heard his answers but come on, I’m no stupid. Why?

When I ask why, it doesn’t mean I want more answers. It means I couldn’t believe it.

We’re homies. Yes. But we have limitations. Every friendship has. Every relationship needs it.

Our world is our kingdom. No strangers allowed, right?

Given. He trusts his new girlfriend, and he plans to marry her.

Why immediately give her the kingdom we built for years?

As I said, her girlfriend and I never meet. I don’t even know her name. We’re not friends yet, even in Facebook.

Realistically, their world isn’t my world. My world is his world too. Not hers.

For now, it feels a mixture of disbelief, hurt and betrayal. Looks like I have no best man when the time comes for me to marry.

The story of our friendship turns sour instantly. Broken chain.