The Philippine team reigns as the country winner at the Last Palm Standing, the 18th Subaru Palm Challenge. There’s no denying the immense conditions of this challenge, especially since weather conditions can shift from dry to wet real quick. It’s also a challenge where both mental and physical strength is put to the test. Success isn’t determined by one’s muscle density, brainpower, or fat percentage. It’s a combination of these three, among other factors, working together harmoniously to keep competitors sane throughout the competition.
The Philippine team, which consists of Lordgie Vallente, Mark Albert Guballa, Reggie Purugganan, Cyrus Corpuz, Nikko Blancada, Joaquin Ireneo Fabros, Filmark Bernante, Carlo Talahib, Donn Marc Pantaleon, and Isaah Kevin Locsin, stood strong for the first 24 hours of the competition, while all the other competing countries succumbed to Singapore’s humid heat. However, through the next 24 hours into the competition, which was the second and third day of the competition, Singapore’s heat started to take a toll on the Filipino competitors.
Ultimately, it was a first-time competitor named Joaquin Ireneo Fabros who stood the longest, thus earning the country winner award representing the Philippines–a first for a Filipino newbie. An SG$1,000 award was given to celebrate his achievement.
In the end, all of these athletes’ preparations were more than worth it. With a combined time of 424 hours and 54 minutes, the Philippines was also crowned as the country team winner–the first time since 2016. A cash prize of SG$10,000 was given to be divided equally among the team.
During the fourth day, the contestants had to endure rain when the sky opened up on the last morning of the competition. For safety reasons, the contest was suspended for 40 minutes during the thunderstorm.
Against all odds, it was a Thai competitor named Siripon Toosadee that took the overall crown after holding on to the Subaru Forester for 76 hours, 55 minutes and 5 seconds. The 41-year-old dispatch driver succeeded in his fifth attempt and won a brand-new Subaru Forester 2.0i-L worth THB1.33 million. As the last member standing of the Thai team, he also won an additional SG$5,000.
Siripong said: “I entered this competition to prove myself, to challenge myself. Though I’m physically exhausted, I am extremely happy to have won, after pushing myself beyond the limit for four days. I want to thank my supporters for cheering me on. I am truly grateful to them. I am also very much looking forward to driving my new Subaru with my family and friends. For now, I would like to buy a cup of iced milk tea to celebrate my win.”
It was a tough fight till the end for the Thai veteran who faced Luu Van Quoc from Vietnam. The 29-year-old self-employed Vietnamese emerged as the first runner-up and won SG$1,000 as the Region Winner.