‘Survivor’ braces for more unexpected twists | Inquirer Entertainment

‘Survivor’ braces for more unexpected twists

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:31 AM December 17, 2011

CRUZ AND MONTERO. Different motivations.

Solenn Heussaff doesn’t mince words. So, when we asked her what she thought of the reality show’s current batch of castaways in “Survivor Philippines Celebrity Doubles Showdown,” she said, “Masyado silang maarte. For me, it’s like, ‘Didn’t you know what you were getting yourselves into?’”

The actress/host knows whereof she speaks – after all, she was one of last year’s most admired contestants when 18 participants were flown to Ranong, Thailand, for the reality challenge show’s third edition.


Solenn adds, “While it’s true that their challenges are more difficult, their island (in San Vicente, Palawan) is much prettier! We didn’t have coconuts or sugarcane – and, they have clean water. Sa amin, even after you washed yourself, madumi at mabaho pa rin.”



Last week, we asked “Survivor’s” onsite psychologist, Lillian “Ali” Gui, to share her observations about the show. She notes, “It’s instructive to see how differently people react to stimuli when taken out of their comfort zones. This only proves that ‘celebrities’ aren’t any different from you and me – they also get sick or angry, and they express frustration when they get hurt. They enjoy more perks more than we do – but, their reactions are not much different from ours.

“In the real world, you’re provided with all the comforts in life, which help you deal with anger, frustration, sadness and other extreme emotions. On the island, you have nothing, so the stressors are magnified.

“The evaluation they went through helped me assess their personalities. After filling up a psychological interview form, they had two sessions with me: The first one was in a controlled environment, and the other was in a more informal setting, where they were allowed to say or do what they pleased. This clued us in on their motivations for the game.”

We met GMA 7’s Leo Sanchez-Matias (AVP for public affairs), codirector Rico Gutierrez (Nico Dante Garcia shares the directing chores with him) and the reality show’s production team, as well as the 20 castaways in Palawan just before they went to the island.

So, you can imagine our shock when we learned that one of the season’s biggest “bombs” exploded on the first day itself – when Geneva Cruz decided to head back to “civilization” after only the first challenge.


In the next 10 days or so, Jackie Forster, Angelicopter, Filo Cucueco and Ellen Adarna also decided to quit. What happened? Ali answers, “As far as Geneva and KC (Montero) are concerned, they had different motivations for joining the show—it was a case of unmet expectations.

“Geneva was so focused on what she wanted to get out of it na hindi na n’ya naiintindihan ang nangyayari sa paligid n’ya. Gusto n’yang buuin ulit ang pamilya nila, but KC’s priority on the island was to play the game.”

What did she think of Isabel Lopez? Ali says, “Isabel turned off some people, because of her manipulative ways – but, at the same time, mothers identified with her, because she was willing to play the contravida and do whatever was necessary to help her daughter, Mara.”

Another pair we were rooting for early on was the duo of Jackie and Angelicopter – so, we felt bad when they decided to leave the show during the tribal council, in which host Richard Gutierrez lost his cool and reprimanded the castaways for being “bratty.”

‘New’ element

The psychologist says that a “new” element introduced into the game is also affecting the dynamics of the tribes: The “pairing” up concept. She explains, “Dati kasi, each castaway had to work individually. Now, they have partners to discuss things with – so, they’re more empowered to speak up. There’s strength in numbers. You know that whatever decision you make, somebody’s going to back you up! But, there are lessons to be learned from this edition.”

What’s the best strategy to win the game? She notes, “It’s a combination of different elements – so, you have to keep changing strategies. They say that you have to be ‘under the radar,’ but that might be perceived as a sign of weakness. Just play the game well and adjust as needed –and, own up to your faults.”

Two of the strongest castaways “revisited” the show this week – Season Three winner, Akihiro Sato, and Jon Hall. What did Aki do that Jon didn’t? Ali quips, “They’re both physically formidable, but Aki had better social skills. Both are nice guys – but, while Aki was consistently calm and quiet, Jon was too aggressive!”

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During a light moment, Jon said, “I’m the better player, but Aki’s the nicer guy. Hopefully, if there’s going to be an all-star edition in the future, I can get back at him (laughs)!”

TAGS: Celebrities, Entertainment, Rito P. Asilo, Survivor, Television

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