When Yannie (my CS host in Jakarta) told me she met Andri (my host in Jogja) at the “Jogja Rally 2008”, I nodded and thought nothing of it. Actually, I thought it was some national festival or holiday. A week later, I met Andri and he got the chance to explain to me that the “Rally” is a CS event like the Amazing Race organized by the active group in Yogyakarta. It was like a ton of brick fell on my head – what a brilliant idea!

Fast forward 10 weeks later, on the sunny morning of May 31, 2009, cs participants from Manila, Iloilo, China, France, Germany, USA gathered at the UP Diliman Oblation, the start off point of this race. I was so happy with the attendance. The participants were soon group into 4’s and it nicely came out to a respectable 9 groups! After the taho cocktail, photo session, introduction, guidelines, and the first clue revealed, the groups scrambled toward the first stop-the UP sunken garden. As for me, Lu-ann and Diana, heart pounding, we raced to Cubao-X, to post clues and wait for the participants to arrive. I barely took my hands off the last clue when the first team arrived (actually it was just one person, Richard). But within a few minutes, all 9 teams were scavenging Cubao-X.

Then we left Diana in Cubao while Lu-ann and I rushed to Binondo. We were to be stationed at Cukeng Coffee Shop, stop #7. I relaxed as soon as I parked the car outside the cafe. Oh don’t think that this race is nerve wracking only for the participants! But we we had time to eat and stroll. I took Lu-ann to Wai Ying in Benavidez St. to eat lunch and also gave the restaurant a heads up of the crowd heading this way.

At the café, the task was for the team of have coffee or dessert, but not before having photos verified of the 3 shops and food they were to hunt around Chinatown. The team of DJ arrived first, closely followed by Vergel’s, the rumor was that these 2 teams were in alliance. Love the flying intrigues. Makes us sound so huge! ^_^

I was very surprised by the participants’ competitiveness. They were way ahead of schedule. While we expected them to slow down at the Chinatown leg and enjoy their lunch, they “take-away” their food items and chomped on the way. Needless to say, they had no time for desserts either. Some teams were impressively strategic that while halfway through their “ice” coffees (smart idea), one pays the bill, while another hailed cab for going to the next destination. But there are some teams also who took their time and ordered hot coffees, ice creams and other desserts.

After all 9 clues were handed out, we paid for our bill, and very slowly made our way to Mall of Asia baywalk where the final destination will be. And we were indeed very slow (inserting errands along the way) because by the time we arrived MoA, several teams have already arrived. It was barely 230pm.

We gathered at Crocodile Grill after and listened to the highly charged, pained, drained, hungry, but happy racers who recounted their respective odysseys. I was really enjoying their adventure tales and mishaps. A team who were initially leading, found them last place at mid-race because their cab driver lost them. Then there is one who were leading towards Mall of Asia but their camera’s memory conked out on them leaving them panicky. A team was trying to rent a whole jeepney forbidding the driver to pick up more passengers, but failed. Someone complaining of missing clue giver. Some were harassed by security guards (or the other way around). But it’s all good. In the end, there were only many, many great stories. ^_^

The following is the actual race itinerary (as creatively designed by Ronnie)

(1) To UP Sunken Garden to find the clue. They have to search for it hidden at the platform. We needed the time to set-up Cubao-X. The clue will instruct them to go to Cubao-X via LRT and Jeepney and sprinting of course.

(2) At Cubao-X, they have to search for 8 characters pasted around the Cubao Expo complex. Then rearrange the characters to spell out their next destination: 2-2-B-A-N-C-T-R (Tutuban Center)

(3) At Tutuban Center, they’ve to go to Prime Block and find a specific toy store shown in the attached photo (with the clue) where they’re to get their towels and next instruction. The photo has no store name, just picture of the store staff and stuff toys. It was located at the 3rd floor of Prime Block.

(4) Then to the PNR (Philippines National Railway) stati0n office at the end of Tutuban Center and take photos of the 2 antique train cars displayed at the lawn. And get the next clue, of course.

(5) They’ve to *walk* all the way to Binondo Church at Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz to receive their next clue.

(6) To explore around Binondo area on foot looking for specific food items to eat and take photos as proof. The catch was the food item, the restaurant/shop, and street name where they were located were all written in Chinese characters. Ha ha. Everyone found everything. Impressive! The food items were:

(6.1) Chicken Feet at Wai Ying in Benavidez St
(6.2) Xiao Lung Pao at Dong Bei in Yuchengco St
(6.3) Ube Hopia at Eng Bee Tin in Salazar St

(7) At Cukeng Coffee to get coffee and desserts then head to Manila Cathedral by taxi or pedicab or foot.

(8) A photo reenacting the Memorare Manila @Plaze Sta Isabel by my sisters, friends and I was attached to the clue. They’ve to find a monument in similar position and have photo taken with it.

(9) Photo Hunt around Luneta for the following items.

(9.1) Jose Rizal monumento guards
(9.2) Giant Philippines Map in Pond
(9.3) Lapu-Lapu monument
(9.4) Calesa
(9.5) Luneta park goer
(9.6) Quirino Grand Stand

(10) Then they were sent to Mall of Asia to have their 12 photos developed and present to the volunteer at the ice skating rink.

(11) They have to go online and get final instruction at the CS Philippines Group thread, CS-Manila Summer Scramble 2009.

(12) Which shall direct them to Ronnie’s blog to download a file that
will send them to the final stop at the Bay Area. Of course not before decoding one last puzzle.

winning team karen, izka, khrys, dj

Here are links to some of the participants’ animated narrations, photos, and videos: AJ, Greg, and Ryan. Official and non-official photos by Marvin and CS Manila multiply site. Photos used in this entry were pulled from just mentioned links. Thanks, guys.

Roll call of volunteer clue givers: Pauline, Lindsey, Gian, Rachel, Ohd, Diana, Luann et moi. :)