In consideration to their physical strength, mental endurance, and emotional resilience, five men and five women emerged as the ten finalists, who battled for the Toughest Pinoy title in this year’s KIX’s R U Tough Enough? (RUTE) Final Showdown, held on Friday at the SM Mall of Asia.
The road to the final showdown was not a walk in the park; opened to anyone who is 18 years old and above, a legal resident in the Philippines, and is physically fit to undertake a series of tough challenges, the shortlisted 60 applicants were trimmed down to 20 in the basis of their toughness based on written entry, uniqueness of their story, and their physical appearance (has a fit body and can project toughness).
The 20 applicants were then invited for a panel interview, and after thorough deliberation, ten names were declared as finalists, whose rigorous training and preparations were supervised by KIX’s ambassadors Arnold Aninion and Aubrey Miles.
Miles, during the introduction of ambassadors and finalists, said that the first-ever battle of men versus women in RUTE only proves the rise and eventual domination of “girl power”.
“What those guys can do, we can do, too,” she said, earning a round of applause from the female audience.
The five women who represented Team Aubrey were fitness coach Quisha Mediatrix Baterna, marine scientist Maria Rachelle Gallman, gym part-owner Mary Jane Garner, musical theater performer Alys Andrea Serdenia, and personal trainer Joanna Marie Tantoco.
As for Team Arnold, it was comprised of gold miner Chekhov Agayo, geodetic engineer Ronald Jay-R Bolando, police officer Christopher Dulagan, student and fitness trainer Renz Lou Lagria, and another fitness trainer Mark Anthony Jay Refugio.
Aninion commended his team’s efforts to train and said that the toughest Pinoy would be a male. “You don’t know what your body is capable of until you challenge yourself. Toughness is a state of mind, and this is the perfect challenge to manifest that. We are, in all aspects, tough,” he declared.
But the finalists’ comprehension of the word “toughness” came to a whole new level, when the game coaches introduced the circuit challenge. The obstacle courses were geared up with six tough stations; all of which tested the limits of the finalists. With addition in their total time every violation, the winner of each team was determined by how fast the circuit challenge was accomplished.
It was kicked off with the Perfect Storm, a challenge comprised of four sub-stations with arduous exercises, and was followed by the uniquely designed lateral climbing wall, called the Z-Wall. Up next was the Bicycle Course, which gave biking a daring twist. The fourth challenge was to get through an inclined-wall, known as the Slip Wall, without dropping on the floor, followed by the Total Recall that tested not only the finalists’ physical strength but also their intellect. Lastly, it was the hanging panels of Fisherman’s Friend Panels Shuffle that the finalists needed to go through without falling down.
In the end, 20-year-old Lagria and 31-year-old Tantoco were deemed as the Top Man and Top Woman, respectively. And as with every competition, there could only be one last person standing. After five rounds of yet another painstaking head-to-head challenge, fit-fluencer Lagria from the Cordillera region came out victorious, winning the PHP 250,000 grand prize.
Prior to the competition, Lagria attracted around 50,000 followers on social media after a viral photo of him made its rounds online. He said he decided to influence his fellow millennials to stay on the right track, whether in fitness or in life.
Despite her loss, no one could deny how impressive Tantoco’s performance was and many would agree that she redefined toughness. “Before I became a trainer, client lang din ako. I had my coach din. Pero sabi ko, ibang level na ‘yong gusto kong i-impart sa ibang tao, like how to work out, and paano palakasin ang katawan mo,” she shared.
When asked about her preparations before the Final Showdown, she said, “Todo training. Actually, I train every day. Tapos I do spinning din three times a week para siyempre with my cardio, habol din. I do weights din.”
Tantoco also reminded that the primary purpose of being fit is not to look good, but to be healthy. She encouraged other women to follow her steps in living a healthier lifestyle, “You just have to start somewhere. Kahit small steps muna. Kasi if you don’t start, talagang wala kang magiging progress. Pero once you’re there, just continue. Keep pushing lang. Kahit medyo mahirap siya, masakit sa katawan, tuloy lang.”
This year’s RUTE Man vs. Woman Final Showdown is just among KIX’s ways in delivering non-stop adrenaline-pumping action entertainment. As a pay television sports and fitness channel in Asia, KIX offers quality programs for all action fans; mixed martial arts and combat sports, blockbuster action series and movies, and cutting-edge reality action shows.