MANILA, Philippines – The Amazing Race Asia season 5 ended on Thursday, December 15, with two teams from the Philippines making it to the Top 3: former beauty queens Maggie Wilson and Parul Shah were the grand winners, while Eric Tai and Rona Samson finished in 3rd place. (WATCH: PH team Parul Shah, Maggie Wilson's 'Amazing Race Asia' winning moment)
This is the second time a Filipino team has won Amazing Race Asia, the first being Richard Herrera and Richard Hardin's victory in 2010.
In a phone conference with other members of the press, we spoke to Maggie, Parul, Rona, and Eric on Friday, December 16, a day after the winners were announced.
Here's what both teams shared of their fondest memories from the race and their plans for after show.
There were 10 legs in the race and for each one, the teams faced difficult decisions and physically demanding tasks.
But for the two Filipino teams, the first challenge – the compass challenge – was the toughest. (READ: 8 things to know about PH teams on 'Amazing Race Asia' season 5)
For the compass challenge, teams had to search through 1,000 compasses to find one of 10 that pointed in a different direction. The last team to find a compass would be eliminated.
"The most stressful challenge for me was the compass challenge. Because none of us knew of the twist and we literally found out about it at the very beginning that we can all get eliminated in the first 5 minutes of racing. It would be probably the most stressful task that we ever had to do on the race," Maggie said.
"It was very, very stressful for us… but that’s what most of the challenges are," Eric added.
After being in the lead to lagging behind the others, all @eruption23 can do is wait. #AXNTARA #TARAFINALE A photo posted by The Amazing Race Asia (@theamazingraceasia) on Dec 15, 2016 at 5:49am PST
It may have been hard, but they said none of them had thought of giving up at any point during the race.
"What we have to think about is we’re already were deciding to put our lives on hold for a whole month and to give it all out for our country. And so, there’s no turning back. There's really no turning back," Rona said.
On the other hand, Maggie said: "I mean, you have to understand. They are not going to give us challenges that we won’t be able to do. We always had in the back of our mind that if a man can do it, a woman can do it too."
Discovering new things
In the end, Maggie and Parul didn't just win – the best friends learned something about each other too.
For Maggie, she said that she never expected to be so strong.
"What I realized about Parul is... Parul and I, we work out, we run, and every time we have go to the gym to do weights, she would complain like 'I hate doing this because I can’t move, it’s too heavy.' And then all of a sudden, on top of a mountain, she has to carry 80 kilos worth of sulfur! And so... I was like, 'Girl I didn’t realize you were that strong!'"
On her end, Parul was impressed with Maggie's temperament over the course of the race. "With Maggie, going into the race together, she was very impatient and surprisingly, she wasn’t!" said Parul. "But Maggie was very patient, very understanding. She wasn’t short tempered."
Parul added that while she was very emotional throughout the race, Maggie could hold back her tears.
But at the end of the race, it was Maggie who eventually broke down in tears. "Yeah, because I tried to hold back my tears for a long time," she explained. "So it was like suddenly I was like, 'Oh my God.'"
Parul added: "On the last leg of the race... the night before, I was already feeling – I was already telling Maggie, 'Oh my God, I can feel it in my gut, this is it, we’re going to win this tomorrow," Parul said, recalling that Maggie even told her not to say anything and jinx it.
When asked what it means for the Philippines to win first and 3rd place, Rona said: "We just hope that all the Filipinos are proud of what we have done for the country. I mean definitely we worked together. We didn’t work against each other."
"I think that’s one thing about the Filipino spirit. One you find a kababayan (countryman), in a competition, you’re going to help them and that’s what we did," Maggie added.
It’s official! @wilsonmaggie and @parulshah88 are the winners of The Amazing Race Asia Season 5!! #AXNTARA #TARAFINALE A photo posted by The Amazing Race Asia (@theamazingraceasia) on Dec 15, 2016 at 5:51am PST
With the race over and the $100,000 prize money awarded to them, Maggie and Parul said they will split the money. Parul is set to give her share to her family.
"With my share of the money I'm actually going to help my family. My dad – because apparently before the race, my dad had a stroke during my birthday. And Maggie and I did not know that my dad actually had another stroke while we were on the race. It was really bad. We did not know about it because we don’t have communication with family [during the race]," she said.
Parul added that the second stroke paralyzed the right side of her dad's body.
The race has opened up a lot of opportunities for both teams when it comes to their plans for the future.
"Give us another reality show," Eric said in jest. "The show was big leap for us, I guess personally, and also for our careers as well. We just hoping for the best and we still work hard to fulfill our personal goals and our career goals for our career."
Having children is also something that Eric and Rona are planning for the future.
@eruption23 has to be one of the sweetest guy’s alive! Check out what @rownita had to say about him at the end of the race! #CoupleGoals #AXNTARA #TARAEricRona A video posted by The Amazing Race Asia (@theamazingraceasia) on Dec 17, 2016 at 3:02am PST
For Maggie and Parul, they aren't sure what to do just yet.
"I mean last night the grand finale, everything was surreal and I think now this time is actually kicking in, so I'm just happy that I’m going on a break with my family and then we will see about what’s for next year. Maybe continue on TV," Parul said.
"Maybe do [guestings] internationally, regionally, that would be amazing," Maggie said. "So yeah, fingers crossed. Will work on that." – Rappler.com