From August 25 to 28, some of the country's top off-roaders duked it out in the Clark Freeport Zone Parade Ground to compete in the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) Philippines 2017. Despite Typhoon Jolina making landfall on the eve of the event, the competition pushed through with 25 teams flagged off along with over 30 vehicles from the organizing committee from the Clark Parade Ground amid heavy rains and strong winds.
The four-day trial was a multi-discipline off-road competition to select a pool of local off-roaders to represent the Philippines in Rainforest Challenge Malaysia 2017. The competition was officially opened by a Prologue Race comprised of Special Stages (SS) in the Sacobia River Bed, Mabalacat City, Pampanga that tested not only the racers' off-road driving abilities, but also their survival and vehicle maintenance skills as well.
The next two days then brought the competitors outside of Clark and into Porac, Pampanga and Capas, Tarlac. There, the teams set up camp and took on more challenging special stages. Of the 25 teams that started the off-road challenge, 15 competitors finished the race. When the dust settled, it would be John Sambo with the Pampanga Adventure Team who would take the win in this year's Rainforest Challenge Philippines.
Finishing second in Rainforest Challenge Philippines 2017 was Dosz Suguitan of Team Giba. Rounding up the podium was Roel Mercado of Cabalen FourWheelers Club. Jezza Mae Daquil, Miss Earth GenSan, also finished the challenge at 15th overall. She bested her father, National Association of Filipino Off-roaders (NASFOR) 2016 Driver of the Year Jodax Daquil at 16th place.
Sambo, a local of Sto. Tomas, Pampanga, represented the will be part of Team Philippines as a touring adventurer when they compete in Rainforest Challenge Malaysia 2017 in November. As a touring adventurer, Sambo will observe the full competition and jungle conditions together with Rainforest Challenge Team Philippines, headed by Larry Mendiola.