How ‘Amazing Race Asia’ changed Team PH’s Eric and Rona Tai
Eric Tai and wife Rona of Team Philippines are thankful to high heavens for being part of AXN’s “The Amazing Race (Tara) Season 5” because it made them stronger as a couple and as human beings.
“The experience is amazing, a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Rona tells the Inquirer. “We probably wouldn’t have dared, or thought of [travelling like in ‘Amazing Race’], na sa sarili naming bakasyon. Or sariling schedule.”
“I mean who would go around the world libre [for free]. Everything is taken cared of, accommodations, expenses. For us we wouldn’t never ever get this opportunity elsewhere,” says Eric. “This is definitely an amazing experience we would never forget.
Eric is more known in the Philippines as a former co-host of ABS-CBN’s noon-time variety show, “It’s Showtime” and a Rugby player who once played for Alabang Eagles and the Philippine national rugby team.
In earlier interviews, it was revealed Eric married his non-showbiz wife, Filipino businesswoman Rona Samson, three times.
Inquirer.net asked him how different the races or challenges in “Tara” are from playing rugby.
“In rugby, before I step on the field, I come in prepared and we would play for an hour or a half, two hours to the max,” says Eric.
“Pero itong challenge [on Amazing Race] per leg, [it requires] a minimum of four hours, which is bihira. Or it could be a day or two per leg, and every time, we’re running on a journal,” he adds.
“With Rugby, he knows the certain skills that he would use. He knows the skills. He knows how the game’s played,” Rona butts in. “But this one, there are so many things they throw at you. Na ‘oh my god’ na hindi mo talaga alam.”
“Like what I said before, you need to meditate, kasi you’re very anxious. Like when you get your clue…saan tayo pupunta. You don’t know what’s ahead of you,” she adds.
“That’s the difference,” Eric says.
The race is the best thing
As for the most enjoyable part in the race, Eric explained it’s the idea that he and Rona are doing it together.
“We don’t have to worry about our family or loved one at home. This is my family right here. She is with me and that’s all I need to worry about. It’s us doing the race. That’s the main thing,” he says.
“[The race] is the best thing. Never in my wildest dreams [I imagined being part of the race.] Before I never thought I can do this. But being able to do [the race], it’s amazing, conquering our weaknesses, proving to yourself that you’re stronger than who you are,” Rona says.
They wouldn’t divulge yet the countries they’ve been to but they said it’s about six countries. The launch took place at the National Monument in Jakarta, Indonesia. About 11 teams from other Southeast Asian countries vie for the US$ 100,000.
“Every country that we went to was very exotic,” says Eric. “And there were some countries that we’ve never been to. [It’s] a first time experience for us.”
Ironically, the couple said going to the toilet is the most difficult part.
“You drink so much water because you’re thirsty and you’re in the middle of somewhere where there is no place to go for a toilet break,” says Eric.
“Every decision you do is—‘this is it’. This is what gonna cost us. So you gotta keep moving,” says Rona.
But was there a time they had an argument?
“I wouldn’t say nag away kami. There are misunderstandings but rare,” says Rona.
She is elated to have discovered something positive about Eric’s fascination with videogames. She explains Eric is a man who has no vices. He doesn’t drink, do drugs, smoke, gamble, much more womanize.
“But he plays videogames [a lot],” she says. She used to view it as something negative but now, it turned out to be a big help in having focus for a task.
“If you’re in a situation without cell phones, gadgets and you have to find your way like in puzzle games and not be distracted, being a ‘videogamer’ helps,” Rona says. “Eric is really good at figuring things out and that is because of the fact that he is a ‘videogamer’. It paid off. May benefit pala.”
Eric being a man of faith said the biggest lesson he wanted to share to the audience and new fans of “Tara” is “putting the Lord first in everything we do, dahil sa kanya, nandito pa kami at together pa kami.”
Race like no other
Given that this is the 5th season of “The Amazing Race Asia,” the couple said there’s something new to watch out for.
“It’s a race like no other talaga. People think they know how it is because of the past four seasons but there are lots of twists. It’s totally different. It’s a race like no other,” says Rona.
“It’s a game of luck. People would get lost because of [for example] the taxi driver. It’s real, it’s not scripted, no one would guide you unless ikaw ang didiskarte,” she adds.
“[The Amazing Race Asia Season 5] would make you want to be in the race,” Eric agrees. “The experience is so good we would want to do it again. Another reality show? Makakaya namin.”
Besides Eric and Rona, the other Team Philippines is composed of beauty queen-models Maggie Wilson-Consunji and Parul Shah.
“Tara Season 5” premieres Thursday, October 13, at 9pm on AXN. It airs every Thursday on AXN, same time, on Cable Link Channel 38, Cignal Digital TV Channel 61, Global Destiny Cable Channel 61, Dream Channel 20, GSat Channel 51, and SKYCable Channel 49.
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