Survivor Philippines Premiere Recap: Welcome to the Jungle!

The Survivor Philippines premiere is here and we’re amped and ready for a whole new Survivor 25 2012 season! Can you believe we’re actually on Survivor season 25? Wow! The Emmy-Award winning series launches tonight on CBS with 18 castaways, including three previous players who were forced to leave the game because of medical issues.

Among the 15 new Survivor 2012  castaways, we also have a few celebrity competitors: former San Francisco Giants MVP Jeff Kent and The Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel. Ready to see how the players will survive their first episode? Grab your gear and welcome to the jungle for our Survivor Philippines premiere recap, coming to you now!


This post contains Survivor Phillipines spoilers from the premiere episode. Please stop reading here if you do not want to know what happened!

For the first time in eight years, the Survivor 2012 Philippines cast will be split into three tribes. The tribes will be named after animals in the Philippines: Kalabaw (Water Buffalo), Tandang (Rooster) and Matsing (Monkey). Among the 18 Survivor Philippines castaways, three players will be coming back for a second chance: Russell Swan, Jonathan Penner and Michael Skupin. All three were evacuated from the island during their previous seasons for medical reasons. Each of the returning players will be assigned to a different tribe.

“These are true second chancers. They were pulled from the game. They didn’t quit. They didn’t get voted out. They were yanked”,” said Survivor 2012 Philippines host Jeff Probst.

Here is the breakdown of the Survivor Philippines cast tribes:

Castaways on the Kalabaw Tribe include: Sarah Dawson, Katie Hanson, Jeff Kent, Dana Lambert, Jonathan Penner and Carter Williams.

Castaways on the Tandang Tribe include: Abi-Maria Gomes, Roberta “RC” Saint-Amour, Artis Silvester, Lisa Whelchel, Peter “Pete” Yurkowski and Michael Skupin.

Castaways on the Matsing Tribe include: Malcolm Freberg, Zane Knight, Angie Layton, Roxanne “Roxy” Morris, Denise Stapley and Russell Swan.

Survivor season 25 fans can expect to see some serious water-based challenges. In the past eight seasons, Survivor has been set in locations not allowing for full immersion challenges. For Survivor Philippines, host Jeff Probst says there will be a slew of challenges featuring swimming, diving and other water-based tasks. Ready to see how the Survivor 2012 Philippines castaways face their first challenges? Our Survivor Philippines premiere recap starts now!

Survivor is not the safest game to play, but that million dollar prize is just too tempting to resist for many. Scores have been injured over the 25 seasons of the show. Some injuries have been so bad, the players had to be evacuated from Survivor and leave the game prematurely. This season, three former Survivor contestants who left previous seasons for medical reasons are back with a vengeance and ready for another round: Russell Swan from Survivor: Samoa, Michael Skupin from Survivor: Australian Outback, and Jonathan Penner from Survivor: Macronesia.

Russell Swan passed out from severe dehydration and could have died after his heart rate fell through the floor on Survivor: Samoa. Jonathan Penner had a bad knee injury and ended up with a possibly deadly infection on Survivor: Macronesia. Michael Skupin inhaled smoke and burned his hands badly when he fell in a fire on Survivor: Australian Outback. Each of the former players will be placed in one of three tribes this year. Russell is on the Matsing “Monkey” blue tribe, Jonathan on the Kalabaw “Water Buffalo” red tribe and Michael on the yellow Tandang “Rooster” tribe.

Joining the returning players this year among the 15 newbies to Survivor are former Facts of Life star Lisa Welchel – who hopes she won’t be recognized – and former San Francisco Giants MVP Jeff Kent.

Survivor Philippines host Jeff Probst talks to the castaways as they prepare to be stranded. He tells them about the immunity idols. Then he says their boat is loaded down with all their supplies and they will have to raid as much of the stores as they can in 60 seconds to load on their rafts. Let the games begin!

Veteran player Russell Swan tells Tribe Matsing he has no interest in being their leader. However, he seems to be unable to stop telling his teammates how to do everything. First step is building a fire, which they manage to get going relatively quickly. The other tribe members just seem mostly amused by Russell trying to boss everyone around.

Former baseball player Jeff Kent injured his knee back on the boat but he is trying to keep the others on Tribe Kalabaw from knowing it. He does not want them to think he is weak. Returning player Jonathan Penner is already in trouble because as a returning player, everyone is already thinking about how he is a threat.

Over on on Tribe Tandang, Roberta “RC” Saint-Amour lies to her teammates and says she is an assistant. She is actually an investment banker, but people don’t really want a banker to win big money, so she is best keeping that a secret. Abi-Maria Gomes has apparently decided that sex appeal is the way to win and so she is trying to get attention from the guys. RC decides an alliance right off the bat is a great idea, so she goes after Michael to team up.

Jeff also lies about his past and does not reveal he was a Major League baseball player. One of his teammates, however, knows who he is and hopes the information will prove valuable to her later on.

Lisa Wenchel tries to pretend she is just a mom and writes books, not mentioning she was one of the stars of The Facts of Life. RC does not like her and doesn’t trust her. Michael recognizes Lisa and thinks she should reveal who she is. Michael later tells Lisa he knows her secret and wants to work with her.

Zane is making alliances left and right. He seems very cocky and sure of himself. Until, of course, someone realizes he is making alliances with everyone and then he’s going to be in serious trouble. Oh, wait, there goes Malcom telling Denise all about Zane’s alliances.

Michael is not doing so well since he has already acquired various minor injuries to his head and various body parts. Still, he thinks he needs to be a leader for his tribe. Perhaps he should reconsider. DC thinks he needs to chill out because he’s a walking accident.

A veteran to the core, Jonathan is already searching frantically for an immunity idol and he discoveres a clue in the rice bag. When Russell goes to cook some rice, he also finds the clue to the immunity idol. He is unaware, however, that Zane is watching him the whole time.

In the first immunity challenge, the teams are separated into pairs. One pair has to climb a wall to grab paddles and then take them to the water to give to the second pair, then they have to row out to grab a chest and bring it to shore. The third pair has to put together a puzzle from pieces found in the chest. Immunity and a fire-making kit are at stake for the prizes.

The Kalabaw Tribe wins and receives immunity and the fire-making kit. Tribe Tandang comes in second and wins a flint and immunity as well. The Matsing Tribe comes in last and has to go to Trival Council.

Russell continues to irritate his teammates by bossing everyone around even though he says he is not in charge. Could he end up being the one going home tonight? Zane is certainly trying his best to convince the others to make it so. He is pushing really hard and it might be too early for that.

The votes are cast and Russell votes against Zane, while Zane votes against Russell. Host Jeff Probst adds up the votes and it looks like Zane’s plan has… backfired! Zane is the first person to be voted off Survivor Philippines by a 5 to 1 vote.

Join us next week for our continuing Survivor 2012 Philippines recaps. Check out more on Survivor Philippines at our partner site, Bookmark us or friend us on Facebook or Twitter for all the latest celebrity gossip, entertainment news, TV recaps and more!

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Annaka Turner

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