Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pop Quiz

June 12 is celebrated in the Philippines as our Independence Day.  This year here in Singapore, a bunch of organizations came together to give us Filipinos staying here a whole-day event to commemorate the holiday.

Out of the entire program they publicized, one thing stood out to me:  The UP Alumni Association of Singapore was hosting a Quiz Bee competition!

My friends would know that I'm very fond of quiz contests.  This one, I felt, I couldn't miss -- especially after seeing that the prizes were well worth competing for.  So I signed up to join it.

When the day arrived, I made sure to get to the venue early.  I didn't want to miss the qualifying round just because I got lost.  To my relief, the place was quite easy to find.

The qualifying round would cut down the number of contestants to fifteen.  This first round was a written exam, scheduled for one hour.  At 10am, the scheduled time of the qualifying round, there were just a handful of us.  A fellow contestant joked that they shouldn't disqualify late-comers, which would ensure that the five or six of us present at the moment would surely go to the next round, since we were way below the cut-off of fifteen.

I finished the exam in fifteen minutes.  All the questions were mutliple-choice, so when I didn't know the answer (which was more than half the time), I just quickly put in my guesses.  The questions in the exam were mostly really obscure Philippine trivia, and I wasn't so sure of my chances of qualifying, if it all came down to everyone guessing through the exam (throughout my quiz contest career, I've always been horrible at guessing).

The organizers said they'd give me a call or send me an SMS around an hour before the next round (at 1pm), if I qualified.  I went out for lunch, walking and sulking, waiting for that call.

I was biding my time going up and down the escalators of Plaza Singapura when I received the call.  What a relief!

The next round of the competition would be held on-stage.  I've always thought I've already overcome my stage fright, but this time I felt a little bit nervous.  It's been so long since I've been on any kind of stage.  Most of my anxiety was from my fear of embarrassing myself if I couldn't answer correctly.  That'll really hurt my pride.  :-p

For the second round, we were given four huge flash cards for letters A through D.  The game master will read the questions out loud, and then he'll read four choices of answers.  We'll then be given three seconds to flash the card containing the letter of our desired answer.  The top three scorers at the end of the round will proceed to the third and final round.  I answered nine out of ten questions correctly.

When the results were announced, I was indeed qualified for the final round.  There was a tie for third place, so we had to wait for their clincher round.

For the final round, we were given whiteboards, markers and erasers.  We will be asked ten questions and we had to write down the exact answers -- no more choices.  The questions were very difficult.  At the end of the final round, all three of us finalists each got only one correct answer.

To break the three-way tie, we went to a sudden-death clincher round.  After almost ten questions, this one guy failed to answer what the other guy and myself answered correctly.  He was declared the third-place winner.  We continued to battle for first place.

After what seemed like more than ten questions, our tie was never broken.  The allotted time of one hour for the competition has elapsed, and we were told that we had to leave the stage to give way to the next event.  The sponsors were very mindful of the time that they bought.  Because of that, we had to continue the clincher round in the backstage.

Backstage, we were seated in an air-conditioned room and there was only a small group of spectators, so it was less stressful than when we were on stage.  But my nervousness never left me.

I think it took us twenty questions of giving the same answer, whether right or wrong, until a spectator remarked that we finally answered differently.  To add to the suspense, the game master took a couple of seconds before checking if one of us gave the correct answer.  He peeked at his question sheet and announced what all of us had been waiting for:  we have a winner.

See the official announcement of the results here:  PIDC Quiz Bee Winners

See photos of the event here:  PIDC 2011 Quiz Bee etc