Caramoan Survivor Philippines

The Secret is Out - Survivor Philippines Happened in Caramoan

Monday, June 11, 2012Ryan Mach

Three, maybe five (I honestly don't remember how many we were that time) of us were huddled inside a small nipa hut, waiting for an event that we barely know anything about to happen. We were told to keep our voices down and were specifically advised to turn off our cellphone, or at least activate its silent mode so as not to create any noise. And no camera. It didn't make sense to us but they said it's very important that the place must look like it's completely uninhabited.  All lights from the bar and the nipa huts surrounding it were extinguished -against our will - including the solar lights scattered around the lawn, even those hidden under the bushes.

Except for the steady light coming from a thousand Christmas lights coiled on a man-made walkway bridge few meters from the place-that-must-not-be-named, the area was virtually dark. With dark clouds looming overhead, the chance of moon appearance that night was close to nil. It was the type of scenario that the production crew of a famous American reality TV show could ever hope for. For us, however, it was a curse. We wanted to witness what was about to happen, but it would prove quite impossible without any light in the area.

"A celebrity is passing by here any second from now," the owner of the bar told us in a careful whisper. That explained why they had to shut all the lights. "Which celebrity?" we asked, the excitement in our voice was palpable. "We don't know. They won't tell us," she whispered back. "I wish I had a night vision or something," I told my companions who were equally beside themselves. The suspense was killing us. We were dead tired, we were blinking off sleep, and yet, our stamina wasn't breaking down.

It was probably the physical and mental fatigue that made me contemplate of something quite absurd. We were inside an obscure resort at the far end of a beach, there was no signal (at least for Globe), lots of armed men inside the area, virtually inaccessible unless you have friends inside the camp. We couldn't be more stoked to have scored a homestay that has a small resort inside the camp where a special secret project was being held. It's the secret part that made me paranoid. What if they found out a few outsiders were here? They could dispose us easily because they had guns and there's a river nearby. I swear I felt like our heads were on the chopping block!
Take your torch , dip it in the flame. As you all know, fire represents life in this game. Once your fire is out, so are you.
A few hours ago, we were told over a sumptuous meal (huge crabs, blue marlin, large serving of chopseuy) that if the news got out, the governor who can be seen around the metro riding on a surfboard would be in deep trouble. So they've guarded the place, tightened security to make sure nobody would find out about 'the special project' happening there. But news, especially the juicy ones, travels like birds. And it's bound to come out in the open. Out of curiosity, we asked how much the governor would be paying in case the media caught the buzz. A whooping X million. That much huh, we're incredibly stunned. Okay, sure, we're not telling as long as we get to see the place.

We drove past green fields, trudged a path that spiraled down on a dangerous slope and trod on large puddles amid a narrow road, which they called quite aptly 'abortion road.' The tricycle bounced repeatedly but made it to the camp in one piece and miraculously unscathed. "That's the camp," the owner of the resort told us, pointing to a fenced area at the end of the road. It looked like there was some party going on. "It's off-limits even to the people who live here." But not for us because we were the 'owner's cousins' - at least that's how we were introduced to the calculating guard who manned the gate. Cameras tucked deeply inside our bag, we smiled at the gatekeeper silently praying for his approval.

We glimpsed foreign people going about their business inside makeshift workshops and trailer parks. We were psyched to see multi-colored flags waving at the far end of the beach. 'Pinch me, please, so I'd know for sure that I'm not dreaming!' I giddily told me travel buddies. "No camera please," the resort owner reminded us, as if she read what I was going to do. Let it be known that I'm a huge fan of Survivor so it's a completely mind blowing experience to be inch-close to the set of the most successful reality TV show.

The biggest treat happened when the host, Jeff Probst, himself passed by in front of us, just about a meter away from where we stood. I was totally awestruck to have seen him in person. I've great admiration for this guy because he's such a kick-ass game master. You can imagine how dumbfounded I was standing there, waving at him like an excited kindergarten. He looked at us with a slightly baffled expression probably thinking who the hell we were and how we're able to get inside the camp. But he smiled, good old Jeff Probst was smiling. In my mind, I heard him saying 'The tribe has spoken, it's time for you to go."
"You still can't believe it, can you?" P, my travel buddy, grinned at me as we sat inside a small nipa hut, patiently waiting for the highlight of the evening. I shook my head, still hardly believing our luck. Not everyone can say that they have seen Jeff Probst in person. The most tormenting part was, we're not allowed to tell it to anybody, not until the show was aired on TV anyway. "When is that going to happen?" I asked the resort owner. "Two or three years from now," she said. That long, how am I supposed to keep a secret that long.

Turned out, I won't have to wait that long because Survivor Philippines is airing a few months from now.

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