September 28, 2015
The first Amazing Mensa Race was held May 2014. We joined it, ran and did challenges all over Bonifacio Global City, and ultimately lost. However, it was a great exhilarating experience which we hoped will happen again.
Teasers for the Amazing Mensa Race 2 were initially posted just 2 weeks prior to the race itself. Those two weeks were very busy for both me and my cousin Harry so we were not able to register right away. Harry even had to register while he was in Hong Kong, just three days before the race proper. We also had to have a third member this time. So, I asked my daughter Haley to join us. We hastily called ourselves The H Team.
This new race promised to be a much bigger, more exciting one. The first clue was that it was going to start at Kilometer 0, which meant the Rizal Monument. We did not have time to coordinate outfits for this one. We decided to go all-neon on suggestion by my wife.
Going to the race, I already felt this will not be an easy race for our team. Globe was having a system upgrade that day, so I was not able to avail their Unli-Surf promo. Consequently, my daughter and I will not have internet on our phones. We will only be depending on cousin Harry's phone which had LTE.
We met all the other teams (10+ teams!) under the tree behind the clock across the street from the Rizal Monument. We just paid the registration fees there -- really last minute for everything. Our host Dr. Zoe gave us a brief orientation. This will only be a 4 hour race. She talked about the Cyburban app which will be giving us the tasks. We were told to be careful with our spelling because we lose points for every wrong answer given.
When it was time, we were lined up in front of the organizers, just like they do in the TV show. After the picture taking, Dr. Zoe gave the go signal. We all turned around and ran towards the Rizal Monument (across the street!) as instructed. The race was on! It really felt thrilling right there at the start.
First stop: RIZAL PARK!
When we reached the monument, we turned on the Cyburban app for the first question. From that start, our team already felt the difficulty of playing this race with only one phone with internet. The very first of the 15 trivia questions already had us stymied. It was looking for an island shaped like ginger between Panay and Siquijor. The first logical choice was Negros, but it was wrong. We tried Guimaras, Bohol, Cebu -- all wrong!
It was then that we decided we really needed to go to the Philippine Map in the park to check this out. And it was on the other side of Rizal Park near Taft Avenue! When we got to the Map, we got the answer easily. It was Caluya Island. It was literally located between the Panay and Siquijor squares on the map legend on the poolside. And it had "luya" (or ginger) in its name.
Aha! So this was the type of questions we were going to encounter, so the rest went on more smoothly. However, as the questions were revealed one by one (you can only open the next question when you answer the first question correctly), it required running back and forth the two parts of the park looking for data mostly on labels of sculptures. We knew what to do, but we had such a slow pace due to physical exhaustion. Very frustrating.
We spent a whopping two hours there in Rizal Park. We do not see any other racers anymore. Anyhow, we finished ALL the questions in that set and we're very proud of that.
Next stop: INTRAMUROS!
In Intramuros, we were given certain sentences or phrases we had to fill up then get specified letters to form words. While we figured out the phrases, like those from the Reina Ysabel statue or the Urdaneta-Legaspi statue, we could never figure out the words to be formed from the marked letters! We also had a big error on reading the map coordinates given by a certain clue and we ended up in a totally different location, thus wasting a lot of time. We gave up on this stop. Very frustrating.
Next Stop: BINONDO!
In Binondo, it was a Detour: PRODUCT or PRICE. If you choose "Product," they give us a certain product, then you have to find the store that sells it. If you choose "Price," they give us a product and store, and you need to find out the price. Logically, we chose to do "PRICE" because it sounds easier.
The list of the stores brought us to Ongpin and Benavidez. The only thing that made it difficult was that certain products were out of stock! While the sales clerks at Wankee or 7-11 were able to name prices of products not on their shelves, Ongpin Supermarket could not give us the price of a 60 gm. bag of black champoy. The task was to send in the total of the prices of all 10 products, and just because of one absent price, it turns out we cannot give an accurate total. Very frustrating.
Next stops: FISHER MALL and PARKS AND WILDLIFE in Quezon City.
Since it was already past 5 pm, we decided to forego these tasks and just head off directly to the final destination, All-American Burgers in MAGINHAWA ST. in Teachers Village.
I have never been to that street ever before despite it being so popular with the foodies.
We had trouble looking for the place, but we did find it. However, at the last moment, I was called home for an important domestic matter so we did not go up anymore. Too bad, we did not get to know and congratulate the winners and the organizers personally. We were not able to discuss the race experience with the other racers or ask what those mystery words were in the Intramuros challenge.
When we got back home, my cousin messaged me that he was in fact receiving texts from the organizers, but these were on the cell phone he did NOT bring. So we did not know that it was physically impossible to do ALL of the tasks, and we were supposed to strategize how to use our time. We were also not aware that there was only one hour left and we should wind up and head back to Maginhawa. Frustrating to the very end.
Anyhow, important lessons were learned in this race in terms of technical preparedness. We were fighting frustration all the way because of this severe limitation. We will definitely be back (and hopefully more prepared) for the next race.