Celadon’s fourth annual Binondo Amazing Race (BAR) was held last February 4 and 6, 2017 with this year’s theme as “Warring States”. A preliminary round for the free-for-all participants, who hailed from different schools around Manila, first tested their mettle during February 4. For the main event composed of Celadon members held on February 6, a total of eight teams participated in the main event and were given names of Chinese states, namely: Team Qin, Team Qi, Team Chu, Team Yan, Team Han, Team Zhao, Team Wei, and Team Jin. The fight was on as the eight stations located within Binondo and Ateneo de Manila University were set to challenge the might and agility of the participants.
As a cultural and historical learning experience for the participants, each team gets to relive the rich Chinese culture found right at the heart of Binondo in the course of BAR. The participants get to travel to the ancient and modern places in Chinatown and see how the have transformed over the years. Teamwork was tested and ties of friends were strengthened as they go through the fun-filled adventures hand in hand.
Before the race started, each team was given a total amount of Php 200 to be spent wisely for transportation or other necessities throughout the day. In order to fully focus on the activities, their mobile devices were not allowed to be used. Each team was also given one facilitator to guide them within Binondo so that they will be safe and protected. A replica of the map of China and a storyline was also given to them to figure out their way around Binondo.
The route for each team was arranged to avoid overcrowding in one station. Once a team has finished a task in one station, they will be given a clue that will lead them to the location of their next station. They will use the map and storyline given to them at the start of the race to decipher where their next station is located.
In no particular order, these were the challenges the teams played in Binondo: Find Thy State, Lucky Dragons, Around the town, Act It Out, Build Your Fortress, Wanton Station, and Spot Pose Post.
The first station was located at the Bellarmine Field of Ateneo. The teams played “Watch Your Step” and were tasked to acquire special hint cards that was essential to their journey by popping their opponents’ balloons. The more hits they get, the higher the chances they have in completing the tasks in the other stations. The teams proceeded to travel to Binondo after the 15 minute timer has elapsed.
Find Thy State was a challenge stationed in Galeria de Binondo. For this station, the teams must solve the riddles given to them in order to find the golden coins hidden all throughout the area to acquire points, testing the participants’ critical thinking skills.
Spot Pose Post was held in Chinatown Gold’s Center. The story in this challenge is that the emperor of the states has found out that a piece from his wall is missing and thus sends out his best soldiers on a journey to find the missing piece. Since the emperor is an impatient one, he requires each team to post a picture of them holding the missing puzzle piece on Facebook as an immediate proof.
The Build Your Fortress challenge was stationed in Hope Christian High School. The Great Wall of China was the main idea of this challenge since the point of it being built was to protect their state from invaders. Each group was tasked to build a tower and when the time was up their towers must withstand the endurance test. If a team’s tower fails the test a huge penalty will be sanctioned for the team.
Act It Out held in St. Stephen High School involved the members of each team to communicate without talking or making any noise. A member of the team will be given a word and the member will act it out but only until the turn of the last player can he/she speak for them to win points.
The Lunch Station was held in Wai Ying. Here each team gets to have their lunch but before that they must perform another challenge. The emperor decided to teach the team how to make wontons and thus the goal for each state is to make the required number of wontons in a given time.
Around the Town was a challenge stationed in Ongpin Street. Just like the time in the Qing Dynasty, the team which acquires the most number of lanterns will have the highest status symbol. The objective of this challenge was to expose the team members to the different stores along Ongpin.
The Lucky Dragon Challenge was held in Lucky China Town. The journey requires funds but luckily there is a cave full of treasures. In order to get these treasures the participants must disguise themselves as a dragon and perform the dragon dance. Once they finished performing the dance the team will be able to find the hanging angpao and get the money for their journey.
The race proper ended at 4:00 p.m., and all the participants, core team, and volunteers gathered at YMCA for the awarding and closing ceremony.
Team Qin (Joshua Tan, Raven Sy, Shaira Santiago, Catherine Wu, Kel Fabian, Mauren Dy) won second place with each receiving a shirt sponsored by Chinatown TV, and water bottles by Vital..
Team Wei (Thomas Chia, Duane Chan, Kurt Ang, Paul Binag, Aaron Uy, Hosh Domingo, Marco Landicho) won first place receiving a cash prize of P2000.
“I’ve been with BAR since its beginning, and for me, BAR isn’t just a project, it’s THE project! It’s a long, tiring process with unexpected twists and turns, but these moments are also filled with fun moments with great people who show some amazing passion and dedication. And everything is built towards one day of running for the participants, who, with smiles of satisfaction, make our hearts warm — and that’s what kept me coming back every year!” remarked Himig Marcos, the VP for External Affairs.
Janet Tiu, one of the BAR project heads, said, “The months leading to the project was a tough journey for the team, but the laughter and cheers of the participants assured us that it was worth it.”
Oliver Chia, one of the winners from Team Wei declared, “It feels great to have won this extreme race. In each station, my team worked their hardest to get the best time and best result we could possibly achieve. It just feels amazing to know that all our hard work, sweat, and energy used was worth it.”
When asked about the lessons learned throughout the race, Team Wei answered by saying, “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey, the friendships, and the WEI.”
Written by Wesley Cua and Arwin Lao.
Photos by Wesley Cua, Isaac Cheung, Quimbe Dy and Janelle Ormoc.