RACE MANILA 2.0: Chronicles of Team Edwin
Words by: Karlo Miguel Cervantes, Lorenzo Dizon, and Niño Jose Gonzales
Last February 14, De La Salle University – Manila held its second installment of Race Manila for its annual University Week. Aptly entitled Race Manila 2.0, the Amazing Race-type event gathered 15 teams of two students and one professor each to race around key historical sites in Manila.
After completing tasks at ten stations, defending champions Team Edwin reclaimed their title and were declared winners of Race Manila 2.0.
Team Edwin – composed of accounting professor Niño Jose Gonzales and his former students Karlo Miguel Cervantes and Lorenzo Dizon – shares their Race Manila adventure in detail.
The accounting professor recalls pre-game moments and gaining momentum in Paco Park.
The time was thirty minutes past six. The teams gathered around the Race Manila mat at the Henry Sy Building lobby. We were assigned a race chaperone and were given Php 550 as budget for the whole race.
As the sun slowly beckoned its welcoming light, every team anxiously waited for the first instruction. My teammates already had their game faces on. This Valentines Day will be intense, I thought to myself.
The first clue awaited us at the Marian Quadrangle, the race master cued. And so countdown started.
“Go go go go go go,” I exclaimed in repetition. The race has officially begun.
DLSU HENRY SY. As racers sprinted towards the Quadrangle, I immediately saw folders lying on the grass. I ran towards them and immediately picked one – it contained the names Jaime Cacho and Joseph Hall. Our chaperone Jolly Obeles told us to find the alumnus’ graduation picture among the many images displayed at Saint Joseph Hall. I shouted to my teammates, “SJ Hall, SJ Hall.”
We ran towards the hall and searched. The team scattered around – other racers were in the same hunt for their alumnus.
I followed a system; the pictures were arranged in alphabetical order similar to a yearbook.
“Found it!” a racer shouted. I thought it was from my team – it was not. My team kept our calm. I sprinted towards the back end of SJ Hall and there he was – Jaime Cacho in his graduation pose!
Jolly gave us the race folder containing the clue to our next station. It resembled the popular 4 Pics 1 Word app.
A picturesque sunset. A cropped Manila Yacht Club, among others. Two words. No other than…Manila Bay.
MANILA BAY. We were the second team to leave the Quadrangle. Wanting to maintain the small lead, our team stumbled on a crucial decision – whether to go to Manila Bay on foot or by riding a cab.
The team paused and became indecisive. Soon, three teams caught up. “Tara, takbo na natin,” Karlo decided for the team.
While running, I saw Team JMJ ride the jeepney which will easily bring them at the intersection of Roxas Boulevard. It felt like man versus transportation for the teams. Street lights became either our friend or enemy.
Both teams were neck-and-neck as we crossed the Roxas Boulevard almost at the same time. We raced towards Manila Bay and our team arrived at the station map merely seconds ahead of Team JMJ.
At that time, Team Kahit Ano’s boat was almost ashore. The team has already retrieved the SMART flag floating on Manila Bay.
We did the same task after them. Following the mandatory pose with the SMART flag, we were given the next clue.
A picture of nails, Jose Rizal, a Korean star, a park. Nails Park? Paco Park! Of course, Rizal’s original burial site.
We were the second team to leave Manila Bay; Team JMJ trailed in third.
PACO PARK. Our first expense was for our taxi ride en route Paco Park. Enzo haggled and we saved ten pesos, a bargain considering our budget and the number of stations left to race.
When we arrived at Paco Park, Team Kahit Ano was already doing the task. We had to search for two emblems within the park.
Karlo quickly found the first emblem, three small skulls cemented together, in one of the chambers. I searched for the second, a sun emblem, near the entrance – to no avail. Fortunately, Enzo found it near the mango tree.
We raced towards the mat and were given the next clue. Team Kahit Ano was still searching for the second emblem. We have stolen the lead from them.
Next, Lorenzo Dizon narrates the game-changing tasks at Dangwa up to Intramuros.
DANGWA. It was Valentine’s Day on the race day. So, we already predicted that Dangwa as a possible station. We were right!
From Paco Park, we took the LRT from Doroteo Jose to Tayuman and rode a motorcab on our way to Dangwa. Once in Dangwa, we were tasked to locate a flower shop with the displayed race banner.
It was a daunting task. The maze of stalls coupled with the Valentines crowd made it more difficult to find the shop. We circled around Dangwa for fifteen minutes. Team Kahit Ano arrived sooner. We have lost our lead.
Sir Niño took a pause and found the stall! It was among the first shops we passed by. I wondered how we missed it.
Both teams received the clue from the shop owner almost simultaneously. Our next station was Plaza Miranda. It was another adrenaline rush for both teams.
PLAZA MIRANDA. Quiapo traffic was heavy. Team Edwin and Team Kahit Ano were just parallel jeepneys between each other, crawling down due to traffic.
We were wasting time. I cannot stand doing nothing so I suggested that our team run instead. Sir Niño and Karlo hesitated because it will mean another kilometer run. After much thought, our team decided that running will be to our advantage. The other team followed suit after. It was another foot race.
Arriving at Plaza Miranda, we were asked to answer trivia questions. Upon completing the task, we were given the clue to our next station. The competing team arrived shortly. We rushed for a jeepney ride to Intramuros.
BALUARTE DE SAN DIEGO. A jeepney ride and another sprint lead us to Baluarte de San Diego.
What greeted us was the sight of the infamous Soup Number Five, made from bull’s private parts. Sir Niño gamely devoured the meal by himself. I bet he never minded if he choked while eating. All for the team!
For the next task, Sisa escorted us up to the Baluarte. We had to unlock a padlock with the proper key hidden in one of the Baluarte’s canyons. After several tries by the team, Karlo accomplished the objective.
We had to chase Sisa for our next clue. As we exited the Baluarte, Team Kahit Ano arrived. They were still trailing behind us.
It was another discounted taxi ride to our next destination, Luneta Park.
Finally, Karlo Cervantes recounts the adrenaline rush of the last stations leading to the finish line.
LUNETA PARK. This station was definitely where we had the most fun. It required one of us to dress-up like Lapu-Lapu – complete with wig, sword and bandana – and take a selfie with the Lapu-Lapu statue at the park. And for our team, Sir Niño, a child trapped in a mohawk, just had to be Lapu-Lapu.
Everyone at the park was surprised when our modern Lapu-Lapu jumped and sprinted towards the statue as if he was going to another battle with Magellan. “Nag-YOLO si Sir oh,” Enzo exclaimed.
After the selfie task, another challenge required us to find a Rizal coin with a race sticker on it. We searched around the vicinity and thankfully, the sharp eyes of our Lapu-Lapu found the coin. We deciphered the next clue. We were off to Amazing Show.
AMAZING SHOW. This is the part of the race where we committed a little mistake. When we got out of the cab, we ran straight up to the building of the Amazing Show. But when we got there, that’s when we realized that the station was in front of the building and not really inside of it. A bit costly, in my opinion. If that were the finish line and we were neck-and-neck with the team behind us, such error could have cost us the race.
At the station, we had to find a particular pair of shoes that the Imelda Marcos impersonator fancied. Amongst thirty pairs spread around the station, Enzo found the pair Imelda wanted. Off to the ninth station.
RIZAL STADIUM. The pressure was mounting. We were inching closer to the finish line. Thankfully, we still had Php 204, more than enough for another cab ride.
Our cab got stuck in a little traffic near CCP. Sir Niño saw the second team riding a jeepney to the previous leg. “Guys, takbo na tayo,” our professor suggested. “Sir, relax, huwag masyadong intense,” I tried to calm him. Even our chaperone felt Sir Niño’s anxiety. Finally, the green lights continued. We finally arrived at the stadium and maintained our lead.
There were two tasks at the stadium. The first task required one team member to jump off from the top-most diving platform. It was almost three storeys high!
Unfortunately, it had to be me. I’m not afraid of heights but the moment between jumping-off that platform until you hit the water felt like eternity. After a prep from the diver, I took the life-changing plunge and shouted “SMART, jump in!”
After that dive, I joined my team to complete a puzzle. We breezed through forming the SMART logo and received our last clue.
Green archer. Henry Sy. DLSU logo. Alam na!
We ran our way to the finish line – yes, I was still wet. We still maintained the lead!
DLSU HENRY– The final sprint to the Henry Sy Building was when we really felt so close to the finish line. Fatigue wasn’t even a factor anymore. We were tired but we didn’t want to slack. At the back of our minds, we still entertained the possibility that other teams might catch up. Our team wanted to finish strong and cap off what has been an amazing experience.
We entered the school’s south gate, sprinted our way to LaSalle Hall, and finally made the victory steps towards the Henry Sy Lobby.
With the cheers from the expectant crowd and the three sets of exhausted yet accomplished feet landing on the Race Manila mat, Team Edwin has officially finished Race Manila 2.0 first!
Team Edwin shares their final thoughts on their victory and the race in general.
Karlo: Preparation plays a factor in a competition like this. I’ve also learned from the race the true value of teamwork and chemistry. Always trust your teammates.
Have fun and enjoy the whole experience. And haggle a lot!
Sir Niño: Camaraderie is key. When you level yourself with your students, you become humble and open-minded. It works for the team.
Most importantly, the team extends our gratitude to Him who provided us and the racers strength and safety all throughout. Without Him, our victory would not be possible.
Enzo: The race gave me self-fulfillment in achieving something not everyone can experience.
I am thankful for the team for the challenges before and during the race. It was a great and humbling experience for Team Edwin.
Together, WE HAVE CONQUERED MANILA!