The Amazing Chase

I had been planning for some time to go get myself some new plants.  Then cousins flew in from the USA and I offered to host a dinner for them that same evening I was going plant buying.  Yes, plants and cousins all in one day.  My main goal being to buy new plants and get back home in time to prepare a 4-course dinner for my lovely cousins, Maybelle & Sonia, Manila-based Heidi and my sister Maricar who were joining us.

Join me as I recount this amazing chase.


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Phil Keoghan by Jennifer Boyer. (CC BY 2.0)

***For best results, you'll have to channel Phil while reading this.


Welcome to Metropolitan Manila.  Composed of 16 cities, it is  the National Capital Region of the Philippines.  It is from here that I embarked on a quest for must-have plants. 

My first task was to get up and depart at 3:40 am.

I had to make my way through the deserted streets to Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Once there I had to find a parking space . . .

. . . and check myself in for Cebu Pacific flight 5J 473.

I then had to fly 301 km (187 miles) to Bacolod City, also known as The City of Smiles and the Football City of the Philippines.

On board the aircraft, I sat through the usual safety demonstration, a bit disappointed that I had this:

instead of this: 

Amazing Race Detour Clue. File in Public Domain.Upon landing, I was presented with a detour.  A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons.  In this detour, I had to choose between "MEET" or "EAT".  In "MEET", I could go directly to the person I was meeting.  However, it was before 7 in the morning and while I would have gotten my job done quickly, I would also have risked disturbing him so early.  In "EAT", I would have to have breakfast.  This task is far less risky, not to mention much more yummy, but it will definitely be more time-consuming.  

I chose, "EAT".

Amazing Race Roadblock clue. File in Public Domain.Next up, a Road Block, sort of.  I was the only one in this so it had to be me, right?

The clue:  Who is dreaming of owning new tillandsias?

The task was to head to the nursery of Mr. Rene Dofitas and his lovely wife, Doreen, who are known for their hybrid Bromeliads.  

Rene embodied Bacolod that day, exuding Southern charm, this former football player and coach of the Philippine National Football team definitely brought a huge smile to my face.

The plant below is the largest T. streptophylla I've ever seen.  

Tillandsia novakii in bloom.

Tillandsia hildae.  If potted this plant can become very huge.

Mr. Rene Dofitas and me.  

My last task was to head to the final pit-stop back in Manila where I started.

I finally reached the final pit-stop for this race at 1:00 pm, less than 12 hours total.  I didn't just finish, I came out on top.

Remember earlier when I said Rene Dofitas brought a smile to my face?  Look at what I brought home with me.  Wouldn't you be smiling as well?

Masskara Festival of Bacolod, The City of Smiles. From . 


Don't miss the 20th season of The Amazing Race. Learn more by clicking on Phil. For readers in Asia, the AXN premiere is Mon Feb 20 at 8:10PM (GMT+8)Round Trip Manila-Bacolod-Manila on sale as of 02/13/12 for net price of P860.00 (also as of 02/13/12 equivalent to USD20, EUR 15.45)



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