Survivor Insights 131: Philippines – Strength vs. Loyalty (Episode 3)


This Tribal Council reminds me of what happened in the sixth episode of South Pacific. It was when Upolu let go of Mikayla (strength) and Coach decided to keep Edna (loyalty).

Unfortunately, for the Matsing tribe – did the two-way alliance between Malcolm and Denise benefit for choosing strength?

Strategic-wise and for the time being, the answer is yes. Letting go of Angie was the right thing to do. It seems an easy decision for the tribe.

But here’s the thing: There are two sides, even three, in any situation and believe it or not, when I was listening with Rob Cesternino’s podcast, he was reading what I have in my mind, or … it can be the other way round.

Here’s how we see things –

As the editing went, it’s quite disappointing that Malcolm and Denise might have completely erased the option of being loyal with Angie. Perhaps, both felt like a walking mess after losing three in a row. What may be in their minds is TO WIN.

Okay, that’s understandable and I get it. Winning is everything  – though this was only one side of the story.

The other angle was – Angie is viewed as the weakling and it’s obvious that her time is up. Keeping Russel may still be an asset. He got the brawn to help the tribe win.

Yet, here’s the truth – Russel is a returnee.

It was the perfect moment to get rid of him. By any means that he’ll make the merge – there’s a huge chance that he’ll jumpshift. It’s his second chance and there’s no stopping now. Russel will do everything to stay.

If Rob Cesternino can see Russel with the two other returnees (Jonathan and Michael), this is what I have in mind too.

These returnees don’t care about loyalty. They only care about winning. They’re going to zig, zag, backstab and kiss-ass to get there, right?


Abi-Maria found the hidden immunity idol in Tandang and what’s nice about this is –  she’s with Pete, not RC!

Between RC and Pete, I noticed Abi-Maria felt more comfortable being with a man. With Pete at her side, both can take their game into the next level. In the previous episode, I saw an Abi-Maria who became more paranoid with RC. As for Pete, it seems he can make things work for both of them. Pete got the numbers too after talking with Lisa to get rid of Mike.

Just like that, Lisa was playing the Sandra Tell-Me-What-You-Want-To-Do thing.

I’m not saying they can win. It’s still early to say. Anything can still happen. It’s just that the power that’s supposed to be a triangle alliance in Matsing (Denise-Malcolm-Angie) was handed over at Tandang (Abi-Pete-Lisa). In a tribe of six, the trio could be 51% powerful should they control every situation at the right timing.

Who knows? You’ll see them in the last three.


If you’ll rank who the power players in this episode, Jeff Kent should be in the Top 3. That four-finger-handshake negotiation with Jonathan was genius. It looks to me both men have agreed on something so important but it looks like Jeff only did it to get Jonathan’s trust.

Both men are smart and they are not stupid to realize SURVIVOR is a “me” game. Jonathan played the game twice and Jeff regularly compared the game to playing baseball. Either you played the game in the past or you played a sport for many years, there’s no big difference. As a professional retired athlete and a writer outside the game, I can sense both men have the proficiency to recreate a strategy board when something goes wrong.

You see, the editing was limited. The airtime for Kalabaw was not even close to enough. I don’t know if this is the right thing to say but it felt like there were plenty of intriguing moments in Kalabaw apart from the negotiation-thing and Jeff-Carter-Dawson meeting.

This tribe consists of physically and mentally competitive people. I have not seen all of them in confessionals and you know what, it’s not necessary. This tribe was unbeatable in any type of challenges.

EPISODE RATING: 9 of 10 stars

I hated it when Angie was existing the Tribal Council. Angie is clearly one of the cutest and sweetest faces I’ve seen in the show. She’s not someone I’m expecting her to be yet I still chose her as one of my bets. Existing the game so early, Angie also showed a lot of her ups and downs in three episodes. The camera loves her and most especially, she can’t deny how she craved for cookies. This moment was simply one-of-a-kind!

Photos courtesy of: CBS