On May 12, 2016, the Philippines’ all-girls team - the SEA Gals, crossed the finish line in Paris, France together with 157 other successful teams out of the original 165 at this year’s Red Bull Can You Make It? after traveling a total of 2,424 kilometers as they passed through 5 countries in 7 days from April 12 to 19, 2016.
Throughout their week-long journey, the team only had their wits, skills, charm, and Red Bull cans to trade for food, accommodations, and transportation in European city after European city.
The three University of the Philippines Diliman architecture students – Nadine Balaccua, Alison Estabaya, and Nikki Palma – kicked off the competition in Florence, Italy and made their way northwards to Innsbruck, Austria; across Munich and Stuttgart, Germany down south to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland; and boarded their final train straight to Paris, France.
“Every country had its own merits, but Switzerland was our favorite! For one thing, the people there spoke good English, making trades and communication so much easier. Getting to Switzerland from Germany also proved to be really easy because we met someone who gave us tickets to Basel (the French-Swiss-German border)… Getting to the Lauterbrunnen checkpoint was just so unbelievably smooth that we couldn’t believe it. And the mountain holiday park – Camping Jungfrau – that the checkpoint was located in just sealed our initial impression of Switzerland,” the SEA Gals shared.
Balaccua, Estabaya, and Palma completed the required six checkpoints where they made pesto in Genoa, drove a gondola across Venice’s grand canal, milked a fake cow on the summit of the Austrian Alps, dressed each other up in the Munich professional team’s hockey gear, fixed car engines in Stuttgart, and spent a dreamy day in the picturesque Swiss Alps in Lauterbrunnen.
There were plenty of highs and a few lows, which the three college juniors weathered in stride.
The group recalled, “Whenever we look back at those 7 days, we always think that we were actually pretty lucky most of the time, especially after we heard stories from other teams… We hit our lowest point during the second day, when we went to Venice. After hours of trying to find a warm place to sleep in, we ended up in a Venice hospital at midnight, where we slept in a waiting area beside coffee vending machines.”
A trip as unique as Can You Make It? makes or breaks friendships. Thankfully, the SEA Gals came out of it stronger than ever. “We’re very different people, but throughout the week, we were able to adjust our roles in the group, and this made us a well-oiled machine all the way to the finish line,” they said.
They officially finished in 85th place, logging in a total of 22, 700 Checkpoint Points; 10,300 Adventure Points; and 35,008 Social Points – one of the highest in the category among all teams.
For replays of Red Bull Can You Make It? day-to-day highlights, visit Red Bull TV. Relive the SEA Gals’ once-in-a-lifetime trip on their official website and Facebook page.