(STAR) By Jerry Donato (Photo is loading... Richard Gutierrez hosts GMA 7s Survivor Philippines for the second time.)

PALAWAN ,Philippines To be fit is to carry out challenges. To outwit and outplay castaways is to survive the tribal council. To have the right allies and Lady Luck on ones side is to win GMA 7s Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Doubles Showdown. The ever-reliable Richard Gutierrez hosts the reality show for the second time.

The castaways know all this by heart. This is what they intend to do to endure the islands harsh climate and dangerous terrain for 36 days. Ten pairs answered the back-to-basics call of Survivor. They are the chosen few whose eyes are set for the long haul.

Its like the ultimate game ever the ultimate survival game, says KC Montero of the reality show. Theres no other game that competes in the level of Survivor. Ive been watching Survivor in its past 22 seasons in the States. I watched last years (Survivor Philippines) edition. I didnt think twice (of joining).

Im after the experience and I want to know how much patience I have, shares Geneva Cruz. Everybody wants to win. I want to win, too.

The former couple-turned-best buddies will bank on their competitiveness and are bent to enhance their social skills to get through each elimination.

Im very competitive all through school, recalls KC. Ive been an athlete. Just being part of a game and competing in it is definitely a good feeling. Thats the feeling you get when you win in a game whether its an athletic accomplishment or you write an awesome story that wins something. Its the feeling that you get. Im in it to win and money works, too.

This early, KC and Geneva are sizing up the competition and making a game plan for it. They are trying to figure out their possible allies among the other 18 castaways. According to KC, the pairs represent different pieces of a puzzle. You have athletes, you boyfriend-girlfriends, you have friends, you have mother and daughter.

Speaking of the mommy-and-daughter tandem, Maria Isabel Lopez and Mara Yokohama are set to abandon temporarily the amenities of modern living and embrace the bare-essential experience of the island life. They will prove that their age gap is an asset rather than a liability. Their loyalty will seal their fate on the island.

I told Mara that I have the wisdom, says Maria Isabel of her strengths. I have the faith for my age. I know Im physically fit. (The younger castaways) have the youth. Im a junior citizen. Im a realist and I see the (whole) picture.

In real life, Im really a survivor, shares Mara, who is into surfing. Me and my dad always go camping. This is my environment. I grew up with the sea. Im used to it. The only difference is that we are prepared when we camp. We have cooking ware and tent. Here (in Survivor), we have to start from (scratch). We build our own shelter. I have the experience but it will be different from what I normally do.

Survivor Philippines is an opportunity for Mara to show mom Maria Isabel her world and for Maria Isabel to support Maras dream.

Im the mom. If you become instrumental to making your daughters dream come true, why not? says Maria Isabel. This is not my dream. Survivor is not my dream. Im already in my comfort zone. Im happy with my life and with my art. I experienced to be in the Miss Universe. I went to Cannes filmfest. This is my daughters dream come true and Im instrumental (in making it happen).

After Maras persistent pleading to have a chance in joining Survivor Philippines, Maria Isabel finally gave in. She decided to decline her participation at the Toronto Film Festival for Kutchera and Chicago and Sao Paulo filmfests for Halaw and an offer to do a teleserye. Mara reasons out, We had European trips for her festivals (before). It will happen again. Survivor only happens once in a lifetime.

Since the chance to take part in Survivor Philippines doesnt come every day, its better that a castaway has a purpose, like breaking down stereotypes, to make his island stay special.

(We want) to get out of our comfort zones and see our limitations, says Chuckie Dreyfuss. (I and Isabel Granada) grew up in showbiz and we were pampered. We want to (test) our limits and see how far we can go. So we can prove that we have the ability (to survive).

Asked about their reaction that some castaways are towering and muscled, Isabel replies, Sabi ko, wala na bang tatangkad sa kanila? Then, thats when we can prove if (winning) lies in the height or in the strength? We are also competitive and we have to be. Nasa tama lang yung competitiveness namin. We have to enjoy (the competition). We dont do a certain thing just for the sake of winning. We have to enjoy it. So (televiewers) will also enjoy (watching us).

I cant be confident enough to say that we will be winners, adds Chuckie. We have no control over (the game) conditions. Its not even a physical game but its also a mental game. (Televiewers) also have to understand that whatever decision we make on the island is based on the mechanics of the game. We may or may not be deceitful. What Im saying is, how we think on the island may not be exactly how we think in real life. In our mind, its still a game.

Completing the cast are Carlo Gonzales and Arthur Solinap, Alyssa Alano and Aifha Medina, Albert Betong Sumaya and Maey Bautista, Stef Prescott and Gino dela Pea, Ellen Adarna and Filo Cucueco, John Odulio and Arnold Aninion, and Jackie Forster and Angelicopter Schmeing-Cruz.

Fans can now place their bet on the stronger castaways or may even predict which celebrities can withstand the plight of being a castaway. Survivor Philippines is everybodys game. It could be a survival of the prettiest, fittest and the luckiest. One thing is for sure: Only one castaway or a pair will emerge the Sole Survivor.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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