Filipino beauty queens Maggie Wilson-Consunji (Filipino British) and Parul Shah (Filipino-Indian) won the Amazing Race Asia Season 5 that ran across 12 cities in six countries.
After a tightly-fought final race that ended in Bali, Indonesia, Maggie and Parul were declared the winners of the US$100,000 cash prize, beating by just a few minutes another pair of beauty queens — Chloe Chen and Lee Yvonne from Malaysia.
The only other Filipino team in the race — fan favorites Eric Tai, a member of the Philippine rugby team Volcanoes, and his wife Rona Samson — came in third place.
When the Filipino teams met the press two months ago during the premiere of the Amazing Race Season 5, Maggie mentioned that their motivation in joining the race was to help Parul's family as their father had suffered a stroke.
In a post-race interview during Thursday's finale, Parul said, “It was such a relief to win because the money can help my family, especially my Dad who suffered a stroke."
"He taught me to never give up in life and I did this to prove that no matter what life throws at you, never give up,” she added.
In a news bulletin released right after the airing of the finale on AXN Channel, Virginia Lim, Senior Vice President and Head of Content, Production and Marketing, said, "It was our toughest race yet with several surprising twists and some extremely challenging conditions."
"All 22 racers should be super proud of what they achieved during their journey. Their determination, camaraderie and sense of humor ensured that The Amazing Race Asia was the top program in its time slot amongst all English general entertainment channels in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines," Lim said.
In the premiere episode of the race, Maggie and Parul struggled with the tasks they had to complete to move on to the next round. Throughout the race, the beauty queens only stayed in the middle of the pack. But they performed well in the final two legs of the race.
They formed a "Team Pinoy" strategic alliance with Eric and Rona to take out other strong contenders.
“We played the game really well and climbed the ladder ever so slowly. We didn’t want to come in first in any of the legs because we didn’t want to have a target on our backs," Maggie said.
"Who would have thought that two beauty queens would win! I’m pretty sure we’ll be talking about this moment for decades," she added.
Eric and Rona competed strong but were eventually worn out by fatigue.
“We’ve accomplished so many things that we didn’t think we could do before. We came third but we’re leaving our weaknesses in Bali and coming out of this stronger. So that’s why we’re winners,” Rona said.
Her husband Eric said, “What I learned from The Amazing Race Asia is to believe in your partner. Newly married or long term married, you can always work together. You’ve got to believe in each other and just go out and tackle it. This is the best experience we’ve ever had as husband and wife.” — BAP, GMA News