Sunday, June 23, 2013


EPISODE 5: Message In A Bottle


The BACKPACKERS Ralph, Mon and York perfected the art of the blindside last tribal council when they voted out Rommel instead of Mina. "Jane and Rommel did not see it coming last tribal council. But we had to do what's needed in order to solidify the alliance with Jane. We do not want her to have more options," explained York. "Our first blindside," Ralph remarked while walking out of the tribal council area.


"I was really very shocked.  I did not expect that the guys will do it to me. Well what can I say, but nice blindside," says Jane who did not expect to see her beau walking out at tribal council.

"I was surprised to see Rommel go. We had a pact that we (original Pundakit) will get to the end, and I even honestly thought that he will win this game," says Mina who seemed to have nine lives in the game. Of all the castaways in the game, he has the distinction of being the only person to go in every tribal council episode.

"Are you still on board with us?," Ralph asked Jane. "Yes, I'm still in," replied Jane.

"Voting out Rommel left Jane with no other strategic options but to stick it out with us until the end. She can not really switch over to the guests as they are by a landslide, down in numbers. And that's cool because we liked working out with her. So this afternoon we made a pact that us four will be the final four in the game," told Ralph.

"My final four is me, Ralph, Mon and York. It was a power play last time when they voted out Rommel but I won't hold any grudges about it. It's how the game works. I knew right from the start that I will be as faithful as possible to my first allies which is the original Tapulao Tribe," Jane revealing her final four. With the four (Jane, Ralph, Mon and York) solidifying their alliance, Mina became the odd man out at Tapulao Tribe.

At Pundakit Tribe, Aaron suspected that the new persons in their team were trying to woo over one of them to gain numbers. "I do not have positive vibes towards the new people - Kenji and Nick are so quiet. I do not know if this new tribe is gonna be as fun as the old one. And then there's Ghei who acts like she is already close to everyone. I am suspecting that they are doing something fishy here," says Aaron. He noticed Kaye being awkwardly close to Nick. Aaron added, "Nick will tend to go over to Kaye and whisper something to her, which I really feel that they are playing this game. But I trust the old Pundakit that we will stick together. I trust Kaye."
Ghei, Nick and Kaye

"My plan in getting Kaye seems to be working because the two guys - Aaron and Gino, do not seem to know how to play this game. They don't talk strategy. They're down in numbers. They'll be easily seen as a physical threat once we merge and will be voted out one after the other. Right now I am playing through Kaye's naivete, and I'm gonna take her and Ghei and Kenji in the final four," explained Nick.

The mood at camp seemed to be very peaceful and quiet but little do they know that game play and strategies were being planted under the table. "My best interest right now is to trust Nick, he is very smart as seen in the challenges. Yes he is originally from the other tribe, but I do not have any other options right now. His knowledge of the game is very important," Kaye summarized that sticking with Nick is better than sticking with Aaron and Gino.

Because of the seemingly solid alliance at Pundakit Tribe, the persons in danger of going home were Aaron or Gino.

"I am very confident that my team will win because it is very apparent that we are stronger. But of course in Survivor you have to have a plan. And if we lose this challenge, we are going to choose strategy over physicality. Which means one of the physical power players will go because they are outside of my alliance, either Aaron or Gino," explained Nick.

Who's next? Aaron or Gino?
"Gino is a very likeable person. I enjoyed bonding with him in the game. He is like a big brother to me. I even got surprised that we are both registered nurses. He is very silent and down to earth. So yes, if Nick decides to vote him off, I will be sad,... but I have to do it," Kaye remarked on Gino.'

"It is honestly a toss up between those two. Aaron and Gino are both here just for the ride, and I don't like giving free passes," Nick told Ghei. Ghei answered, "if I were to choose, I would rather keep Gino over Aaron. I feel like I can bond better with the former. Aaron seems to be the more strategic between the two. Gino does not have a game plan."

"The people in my alliance prefer Gino over Aaron. Yes I agree that Gino is like a dead man walking because he does not have a game plan, therefore he is not a strategic threat. But the fact that he is likeable, exposes more threat in him because towards the end, he may just win based on the fact that everyone in the jury likes him. So I am kind of adamant in keeping him over Aaron," Nick confided.


The tribes met near the tribal council area where the next immunity challenge was set up. One person will be the caller, and four other tribe members will be the followers. The followers will be blindfolded. The goal of the caller is to lead the blindfolded members to get the five designated items for their tribe. Once all five items are gathered, the caller will then go down and join the group and must solve a difficult picture puzzle. The winner wins immunity. The losing tribe will go to tribal council with a mystery bottle handed to them. Inside the bottle is a note with a twist in the game.

The caller for Tapulao was York and the caller for Pundakit was Nick. Because Pundakit had one extra member, they chose to sit out Kaye. The Tapulao tribe had a quick advantage as York easily led Jane, Mon and Mina their items. Nick fell behind. York had a huge lead in the puzzle solving part which could have worked to their advantage. Nick finally led Kenji to Pundakit's last item and went down to solve their puzzle. York had an early lead but blew it when he could not figure out how to connect the picture puzzles. Nick took the lead but later on removed his puzzle pieces again and started from scratch. This proved to be the most difficult puzzle so far. In the end, the rest of the tribe (except Kaye who sat down for Pundakit) were allowed to help the puzzle solvers Nick and York. After a very long challenge, Nick won immunity for Pundakit Tribe!

The Tapulao tribe went back to camp with the bottle devastated by the loss. It was especially hard on York who volunteered for the puzzle solving part of the challenge. "We got the items first, but we were beaten at the puzzle," says Mina.

While walking back at camp, York's silence explained his obvious frustration. "I'm devastated... beyond words can explain," sighed a disappointed York.

"The puzzle was hard. Nick and York worked on it for hours! Before Ivan told everyone that it would be a group effort, so we were beaten as a group, yet again, and it sucks," says Ralph.
All afternoon York was just quiet, but he would quit the idea of blaming himself and throwing himself to the votes. "It was a group effort and I feel that everyone has his or her responsibility in the challenge," said a guilt driven York.

Meanwhile, because of the length of the challenge, they were called for tribal council early. Nobody did strategizing. It seemed everyone was just sulking about the loss. Although there were no talks, it was apparent that Mina was the main target.

"I have a Final Four deal with Ralph, York and Mon so it is very clear that Mina is going home tonight," explained Jane, the lone woman in the losing Tapulao Tribe.

"I can see that I do not have much options in the game right now. I am readying myself, although I want to play longer, I just can not see any breaking the barrier among the four of them (original Tapulao). My only hope right now is that the message in the bottle twist will work in my favor," narrated an expecting Mina, who spent his time all throughout the game with a target on his back.

The Message In The Bottle which the tribe received after losing the challenge was a big question mark for everybody. But Ralph may have a clear vision on what it may mean, Ralph explained "It could be a bottle with a note saying that we are merging. After tonight's vote, the castaways count will become ten, the normal headcount for people to merge in Survivor. So we just have to survive the Mina vote, and Jane, York, Mon and I will just need to squeeze ourselves through the individual phase."

"Mina's time has come, goodbye Mina," Mon mocked in a confessional. Mon has been the one who is most ecstatic in observing and recreating Mina's gestures in challenges. Mina appeared to be a strategic threat and surprisingly, a physical threat as well as he performed well in the challenges except the one where he and Mon battled head to head. With the message in the bottle twist, Mina's holding tight with enough hope to survive tribal council.

The five Tapulao tribe members entered tribal council. The defeated mood was very apparent. York was asked how he felt, "I am very very frustrated," answered York. Then he was asked if he was to blame and if it was just right for the tribe to vote him out. York, who was given the crucial task of being the caller and puzzle solver in the challenge defended himself that it was a group effort and everyone contributes to the loss or victory of the tribe. The spirit was very low. Ivan tried to pump up the tribe members stating that "You're almost halfway in the game. So why not give it your all and do your best to at least make it in the end, right?" Mon agreed that it was very frustrating to hear whenever the other tribe would celebrate after winning a challenge. "I am very thankful that I have been surviving every tribal council. But I know that this is a competition, you can either win or lose. I am just thankful I am still here. I still want to go on if given a chance," Mina stated after being asked on what his thoughts were. The five remaining members of Tapulao started to vote one by one.

VIDEO: Tapulao Tribe voting confession

Jane voted against Mon, Mina voted against Jane and the three BACKPACKERS amigos all voted against Mina. In a 3-1-1 vote, Mina was the sixth person voted out in SURVIVOR ZAMBALES: Backpackers versus Guests. He took the loss graciously and bade goodbye to his comrades at Tapulao.

Before preparing to head back to camp, Ivan reminded the four about the bottle given to them when they lost the challenge. He asked Mon to read it. "You have just voted out a tribe member, now it's time to vote one more." It was pure shock and silence. Everyone was surprised that the crucial immunity challenge that they failed to get would send two of them packing in one night. Ivan mentioned the rules that they can't talk to each other, and immediately the four, Jane, Ralph, Mon and York went inside the confessional one by one to cast their second vote for the night.

VIDEO: Tapulao Tribe voting confession - 2

When Ivan read the votes, two votes were cast against Jane and two votes were cast against Mon. It was the first tie-vote of the season.

Jane and Mon did not vote while Ralph and York re-voted one after the other. York switched his vote from Jane to Mon which broke the tie and made Jane the seventh person voted out in SURVIVOR ZAMBALES: Backpackers versus Guests.

This double elimination made Tapulao Tribe drop to three members (Ralph, York and Mon) versus Pundakit Tribe which has six members. (Ghei, Kaye, Aaron, Gino, Kenji and Nick) After Jane left the tribal council area, host Ivan gave nine Black buffs to Mon, Ralph and York. The three amigos were asked to go to Pundakit Tribe's camp and announce that they are now merging as one tribe. It is the start of the individual game until the Final Four. Who will make it?


Mina, the tribe has spoken...

MINA voted for JANE
JANE voted for MON
RALPH voted for MINA
YORK voted for MINA
MON voted for MINA


Jane, the tribe has spoken...

JANE voted for MON
RALPH voted for JANE
YORK voted for MON
MON voted for JANE

After the Re-Vote
RALPH voted for JANE
YORK voted for JANE

NINE CASTAWAYS... The tribes MERGE!   
RALPH: "We are here to give you our new buffs. We are now merging as one tribe."
With six BACKPACKERS in the merging tribe, the three remaining guests panicked.

GINO: "I can just pray that I will stay all the way."

NICK: "We are voting Aaron out, okay?"
RALPH: "Aaron, that's cool. Okay. Let me tell York and Mon."

But a potential power shift promises to blow the minds of some castaways.

KAYE: "Now I'm learning how to play this game. We have the army set into place. I am excited!"

MON: "Oh my god..What had just happened?"
Who will be voted out next on SURVIVOR ZAMBALES: Backpackers vs Guests!

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