What motivates you and the things you expend your energy on? What keeps you soldiering on?
These questions are important to answer in order for us to stay strong, remain on track and finish the job. Most of the time, we do things without knowing why we’re doing them in the first place. Not gonna lie—I’m often guilty of this. As a result, it’s always too tempting—too easy—to just give up and throw in the towel. All because we have no idea what we’re fighting for to begin with.
If that sounds like the opening narration to a cheesy boxing movie starring Piolo Pascual, I apologize. I only mean to put the Subaru Palm Challenge in proper perspective. What really motivates its participants: the promise of a brand-new car or the satisfaction that comes with outlasting their rivals?
In case you haven’t heard of this competition—which I doubt, if you’re reading this website—the Subaru Palm Challenge is a contest of endurance. You put your hand on a designated spot on the body of a Subaru vehicle, and then you try to be the last person to let go. You and your opponents are given a five-minute break every six hours; you spend a minute to pee, another minute to eat and drink, and then three minutes to regret your decision to join.
Obviously, it pays to be physically fit and mentally prepared before entering such a challenge. But luck also has some role to play in every competitor’s chances. For instance, your spot on a Subaru car is determined by a random draw. Some spots are a lot harder than the others. I imagine it’s easier to rest your hand on the hood than to raise your arm and place your palm on one of the windows. Or you could have the misfortune of standing next to a human durian. But it is what it is. We play the hand (or palm) we’re dealt.
If you think this is easy, picture yourself standing under the sun (or rain) for hours in one place—with one of your arms outstretched. Visualize all the obstacles you have to endure while doing it: hunger, thirst, boredom, fatigue, muscle pain, memories of the one that got away.
Motor Image Pilipinas, the official distributor of Subaru vehicles in the country, held the Philippine leg of the contest’s 2018 edition last weekend in Bonifacio Global City. According to the company, fewer than 100 brave souls entered the event, easily half the number of annual hopefuls that had typically given it a try in years past. Perhaps it had begun to dawn on individuals who were still entertaining illusions that they could win this thing: THIS IS FUCKING
I mean, just look at these…
When the smoke had cleared, 10 men earned the right to represent the Philippines in the regional meet scheduled for October 26 to 31 in Singapore, where they’ll be pitted against other masochists from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. There, each of them will try to be the first-ever Filipino to emerge victorious and receive the keys to
an ambulance a brand-new Subaru Impreza.
2018 Subaru Palm Challenge Philippine leg winners
The overall winner of the Philippine leg, Rey Balintucas, lasted nine hours and 30 minutes. I’m sure he could have gone longer if he had been asked to (the local leg had been shortened). To bag the Impreza in Singapore, he will have to do more—so much more—than that. The record holder in the history of the Subaru Palm Challenge is
a wooden tree some durable dude who went for 82 hours and 16 minutes. That’s three days straight. Plus 10 hours. A free Subaru is nice, but I’m not even going to bother.
To go back to my question: What really motivates the contestants of the Subaru Palm Challenge? Is it the Impreza? Is it the bragging rights? Is it a secret death wish? No idea. I just hope a Pinoy finally beats them all next month. The adversities we experience in this country should help.