I AM a huge fan of reality TV shows like “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race.”
So when the invitation came to try Sun Cruises’ Adventure Challenge in Corregidor, designed in the tradition of “The Amazing Race,” I jumped at the opportunity.
Most Pinoys have probably already visited the historic island known as “The Rock” on a field trip in school. Onboard the colorful tranvia (pre-World War II streetcars), most visitors get a quick tour around the island, brush up on their history, view several ruins, museums and a war memorial, and marvel at the battery of cannons and mortar before a leisurely buffet lunch and cruise back to Manila.
Now imagine being transported back to World War II, but this time you get to race through Corregidor’s nature trails, explore the ruins, navigate the fortress’ hidden tunnels and search the forests for clues to get ahead.
The Corregidor Adventure, which was opened to the public this year, offers just that. While the race’s route includes many historical sites visited on a typical tour, it also allows you to explore parts of the island you wouldn’t normally get to visit.
“It’s a great outdoor activity for people of any age, as long as they’re physically fit,” says Bobby Aquino of Sun Cruises. “While it’s ideal for corporate team-building activities, we also see this as a great experience for families, clans or barkadas that want to experience something different on the historic island.”
We were first assigned into teams and given corresponding bandanas to mark team colors (red and orange). We were also provided with a “survival kit” containing items that came in handy during the race (a bottle of water, sunscreen, an energy bar, a face towel and a flashlight). Tour marshals were assigned per group while a medic was on standby to ensure the safety of participants.
Different challenges in the Corregidor Adventure are designed to test the group’s ingenuity, stamina, powers of observation, puzzle-solving ability, and time management skills. However, teamwork is the most important factor and your team will only see victory if you can work well together.
Despite not knowing the other media participants in the group initially, we soon found ourselves racing across the island, working together to decipher clues and delegating tasks at certain points of the race.
The race features very doable challenges (no extreme bungee jumping or gross meals), which made it possible for even children and elderly family members to join. Average racers take around 2.5 to 3.5 hours to complete the race, depending on the group’s speed.
The tour is certainly a good option for families with kids who are more into adventure sports than historical sightseeing. For a summer clan gathering or extended family reunion, I can imagine some parents/grandparents opting to do Corregidor’s guided tour, while the younger generations can form teams and do the Adventure.
I won’t spoil the adventure by revealing specifics on the challenges. But according to Aquino, the tour management continues to develop variants of certain tasks so expect the challenges to evolve in future tours.
Just a tip, if you’re into photography, you might want to rethink bringing a bulky SLR (or assigning a non-playing companion or the marshal himself to be the photographer), as it may slow you down or distract you from challenges with the numerous scenic spots you pass. We barely paid attention to the stunning ruins, tunnels and scenery in our quest to stay ahead, only pausing for a photo op when we thought we had a good lead on the other team (who soon caught up with us).
After the last challenge was completed and to cap the experience, the race ended with a celebratory “boodle fight” of paella, liempo, fish fillet and grilled chicken for lunch. We also got to try out the fun ROCKet Zipline, a 200-meter suspended cable about 20 feet off the ground that takes guests from the back of Corregidor Inn to the South Beach area in 25 seconds.
Sun Cruises is offering great prizes (like an overnight stay at the Corregidor Inn inclusive of meals, tours and zipline rides) for those who can conquer Corregidor in the fastest time (for groups that join before May 31). So what are you waiting for? Experience the adventure island of Corregidor for yourself! •