Be totally committed to your purpose, be flexible with your path. – Bo Sanchez

I won the contest even before it started.
Would you like to know how I did it?
Let me tell you about the contest, how I won, what I won and how YOU too can win in any contest you join.
I am The Last Man Standing.

The Last Man Standing – A contest of human body, mind, heart and spirit.

I heard about the contest from my friends Enzo, Ia and Jappy. It was an endurance contest where the person who can last the longest amidst some physical (and mental) challenges wins a car. Specifically, participants are asked to place their thumb on the surface of a vehicle – if you remove your thumb, you’re out. The person who still has his thumb on the car after many hours and many challenges wins the Nissan Sentra 1.3 GX worth P610,000 .

I was familiar with the game format as I had heard of similar games in the past. I was determined to win the contest. And thus my quest had began. The very next day, I was at the press briefing – the launch of the contest.

Game mechanics:

The contest was planned to last from 1 to 3 days. Participants were each given a thumbprint sticker. Participants could select almost any part of the car’s surface to place his thumb. Take your thumb off your selected spot and you’re out.

Each participant was to be given 3 bio breaks, each 5 minutes each. The participants were allowed to use the bio break in whatever way they wanted – use the washroom, eat, drink, rest etc.

There were going to be surprise physical challenges for the participants that would hasten the falling out of some participants.

Given the information I had gathered about the contest, I began my preparations.

Lesson: Know the game you’re playing.

Preparing to be the Last Man Standing

I had two specific experiences which I felt gave me an edge over the average participant. First, I have conquered two full marathons (42.195 kms) – The Singapore Marathon in 2007 and the CamSur Marathon in 2010. Completing my marathons have taught me some very empowering mindsets and gave me some familiarity of what my body and mind can do in extreme situations.

Second, I went through a 7-day fast in Jan 2010 reducing from 2-meals on day 1 down to just water on days 6 and 7. Thus, in terms of lack of nutrition, I knew my mind and body well enough to know what I could endure.

Apart from these past experiences, I prepared by consulting my doctor friend, Gerry Sy, who recommended a vegetable and fruit diet that would cleanse my body and prepare me for 3-days of minimal nutrition.

While in Baguio over the Holy Week, I strategized and practiced on the different thumb positions that will allow me the best flexibility to last 3 days. My main consideration was to be able to sit and sleep while holding my thumb in place. Secondary consideration was being flexible enough to accomplish the unknown challenges that would be given to us.

I also prepared my bio-break list. That included water, fruits, Mori drops, Mori Spray, change of clothes. I also prepared to bring books and a music player+earphones.

On Easter Monday, I went to Manila Ocean Park to file my application for Last Man Standing. I was the first person to submit an application.

I was ready to test myself with physical endurance, lack of sleep, lack of nutrition, bladder control, boredom. I was ready to be the Last Man Standing.

Lesson: Know thyself. Prepare thyself.

My Umbrella Story

A short side-story to illustrate how I prepared mentally to win the game. Allow me to share a story from Bo Sanchez.

One day, there was a small barrio of farmers who were praying for rain to come.   Every Sunday at church, they’d gather and pray for rain.   But one Sunday, the priest announced, “How can God give you rain if you don’t have faith?”
The farmers asked, “How do you know we have no faith?”
The priest said, “Every Sunday, you pray for rain. But how many of you are bringing an umbrella?”
No one in that church brought an umbrella.
The priest continued, “No one among you is prepared to receive the blessings you’re praying for.”
Next Sunday, people began to bring an umbrella.
And soon, the rain came.

Similarly, I was praying that I win the Nissan Sentra 1.3 GX. What was my umbrella? I aligned myself with receiving the car. I told my friends that I was going to win the car. I was going to make money with the car, and I knew specifically how I would use the fund (worth P610,000).

I had made declarations about tithing P61,000 and giving P25,000 as a fund for a group of seminar participants. I even had my tithe envelope ready, with the amount P61,000 already written. I also told my network of friends and associates that I would be offline (no access to email/cellphone) for three days during the contest.

These were my “umbrellas” – actions that aligned me with *already* receiving an answered prayer.

Expectant Text:

I texted my brother before the contest: “Kuya, would you help me sell the car?”
Brother Eric replied: “Why, have you won the car?”
I: “In my mind, I’ve won the car.”
Keric replied: “In my mind, I’ve sold the car.” Lolz!

All these umbrellas just showed how much faith I had that the car was mine. I totally aligned myself with the fact that I was going to win the Nissan Sentra 1.3 GX.

Lesson: Have expectant faith. When you pray for something, be ready to receive it. Be the way you would be when you’ve received the answered prayer.

Playing the Last Man Standing

I arrived early at the venue of the contest, April 29, Friday. My girlfriend, Rezza was there to send me off on my 3-day challenge. I had my backpack with all my supplies for three days.

We were given a waiver form for signing, ID’s, thumbprint stickers, bio break coupons. There was a medical team which checked our vital signs as well. Then were were asked to come back at 2pm to kick-off the game. I had a good meal of tofu and pechay at Makanmakan (Asian food market). I took my time to read up on one of my most important items in my backpack, a book by Wayne Dyer entitled: “10 Secrets of success and a fulfilled life.” (Beautiful book!)

When the game started at around 2:30am, 42 of us participants went off to our positions on 4 different cars. I stationed myself at the right rear wheel of a Nissan X-Trail. I was right beside another contestant – Jobet – who was positioned at the rear bumper right corner. I put down my bag beside me and started getting familiar with my sitting position. In the next 2 hours, I had tried a couple other positions (facing front, facing back, kneeling, half-standing to stretch etc.). My kneeling position was one of my most stable positions – something I can hold for a long time, but I needed to be awake. In my sitting positions, I had a tendency to slip into micro-sleeps. I knew how I can sleep and still hold my thumb to the car – but with Jobet nearby, I wasn’t able to go into the position with the shared space. For the same reason, I couldn’t try out a lying down position.

Ka Edong and Kelmer at the Last Man Standing
Ka Edong and Kelmer at the Last Man Standing

Around 1 hour into the game, we were given the first physical challenge. We were given a banana to hold with our right hand, thumb still stuck to the car. We ate the banana. No sweat, everybody accomplished it and we were all rewarded with a 4th biobreak coupon.

The second physical challenge came maybe 5 hours into the game at around 7:30pm. Up for grabs was a keychain and something like a calling/credit card holder or wallet. The challenge was to keep your left arm raised straight up in the air. I knew how exhausting this could be. I promptly put down my arm – I wanted to conserve my energy for the long haul and the big prize. I wasn’t in the game to vie for a minor prize, I was there for the Nissan Sentra. By the way, two ladies won the challenge. Their left arms were raised for almost 2 hours. Kudos to them, I hope they gained what they were aiming for.

At around 9:30pm, the game organizers introduced what would be the first of a battery of physical challenges. First, they gave us an oily orange in our left hand – drop the orange and you’re out. Second, we were asked to raise our left foot/leg off the ground – if your left foot/leg touches the ground, you’re out. This forced me to rise up to half-standing position to raise my left foot/leg. My thumb was in a position on the car which required me to bend from my standing position. I wasn’t standing up straight.

The third challenge was an egg between our chin and neck.

I took my 1st bio break at around 1am. I believe I was the last participant to take his first bio break.

I could barely walk during my bio break. I just sat and grabbed some food and water from my backpack. I massaged my sore foot, leg and my left side/back.

When I went back into the game, I visualized counting 1,000 peso bills — all 610 of those 1,000 peso bills. I counted them in my mind twice over! I counted them together with my slow breathing. Everytime, I imagined what I would be doing with that P610,000 , how I would allocate it for different purposes.

To cut a long-story short, there were only 5 participants left when I considered stopping at the 2:30am mark – 12 hours into the game.

I was also observing my body. I knew that ultimately it was best if I listened to my body. When I started to sweat profusely, I began to think about stepping down from the game. I wasn’t moving much. So why was I dripping with sweat? I realized my body was breaking down.

Based on how I figured out the game, it was obvious that there were positions that were superior – mine wasn’t superior. It was a choice of pushing forward with an inferior position, or stopping and making sure I learn some lessons about myself.

I began searching for the lesson in my experience.

My lessons and reflections:

  • Through the game Last Man Standing, I realized how much I cherished the freedom I had because of my business ( ). Being here in this game was in itself a decision I could make because I was not answerable to an employer, I didn’t need permission to take a leave. Further, I realized that in my business, I play by my rules. Of course there are other players, but I am totally flexible in how I conduct myself in this game (this business) that I’m in.
  • I was resenting how the bouncers would call my attention to maintain certain positions (“itaas mo paa mo”, “hwag idikit ang braso sa kotse” etc.). It wasn’t the bouncers themselves that I felt bad about. It was the fact that I had chosen a path to financial rewards where the game is governed by someone else’s rules.
  • My thought was: “Leche, I can make this P610,000 in my own business – and under my rules, not other people’s rules.” Honestly, I was feeling bad about having to go through this physical pain to gain the P610,000 . But I had chosen to join this game, and I shifted quickly and focused on learning the lessons.
  • Before and during the game, I envisioned what I wanted to do with the P610,000 . I recalled the details of how I would use the P610,000 . All these images just fueled the fire in me to earn that P610,000 on my own, with my own game.
  • I recall a lesson learned from Bo: Be totally committed to your purpose, be flexible with your path. I was in the game (path) to make some money to hasten the growth of my business (purpose). If I didn’t get the car (path), it doesn’t mean I abandon my goal to hasten the growth of my business (purpose). I stick to my purpose (grow my business) using a different path (my own game, only better. oh yeah!).

I took my third bio-break already decided that it was going to be my last break. I threw in the towel with a smile. It was 2:30am – 12 hours into the game.

I had learned some valuable lessons in this game.

I did not finish last to win the game.

I finished 5th to the last … and I still won my game.

I am a winner in my own way.

Lesson: Learn and Grow from every experience – and you will ALWAYS be a winner!


Sunday, May 1 was the awards night. I learned that after I ended at 2:30am and after I left the venue with just three more players, the game continued on until almost 6:30am . Four more gruelling hours after I stopped! Whew!

And, as I expected, the gentleman behind me – Nikolai – won the Nissan Sentra. Kudos to you, Nikolai! Pasakay! :D

Ka Edong and Nikolai (winner of the Nissan Sentra) at Last Man Standing Awards Night
Ka Edong and Nikolai (winner of the Nissan Sentra) at Last Man Standing Awards Night

To the organizers and sponsors of the Last Man Standing, thanks for the opportunity!

To the brave souls who competed in The Last Man Standing, cheers to all of us! See you in the next game! ;-)

Among the Top 9 Last Men and Women Standing
Among the Top 9 Last Men and Women Standing

8 thoughts on “How I won the Last Man Standing contest of the Manila Ocean Park and Nissan Philippines

  1. You really are an inspiration Edwin! Thank you for sharing this. As you told me days before this event, you are competing against yourself and not with other people. It is a lesson that served me well and I have been applying it in different aspects of my life. One of the many things that I have learned from you. Thank you SD! :)

  2. Wonderful experience, great learnings! Thanks for sharing! Indeed, you have truly won in so many ways. You’ve shared so much lessons also from Bro. Bo, makes me miss going to The Feast, hehe. Will see you there again soon. All the best!

  3. The power to influence others manifests greatly with the power that you possess from within. Despite not getting the car, you WIN because the lessons you’ve learned, you’ve chosen to share to others. May you always be a blessing to others. Love you! :D

  4. I.
    I was amazed and astonished on how you are able to accomplish such tasks Edwin.
    Win or lose man.
    We all learn something.
    Something big. :)

  5. hey edong. small world. nikolai is the brother of one of my students in kids’ church. :D

  6. Hi EdWIN.

    I noticed that you have that special ability to move and inspire others with your words. It’s really a pleasure knowing someone who has so much positivity in life, and best of all, always willing to share valuable lessons too.

    Sometimes it is in our struggles and challenges that we find the true definition of success. Keep on blogging! :-)

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