Melbourne flight attendant Jericho Malabonga has won Australian Survivor for 2017, defeating Queenslander Tara Pitt.
Sydney digital ad producer Peter Conte came third.
Malabonga, who wins $500,000 as sole survivor, won his only Immunity title when it mattered most, after a replay of the gruelling 2016 Immunity Challenge atop wooden poles in Samoa. It was a marathon challenge, lasting over 5 hours, as night fell and waves lashed the trio. While Tara fell short -literally- just shy of 3 hours, it was not without tears and camaraderie.
But the Filipino-Kiwi took Tara to the final Tribal Council, telling her she deserved it more. During his jury pitch, Jericho seemingly talked himself out of winning by telling his former tribe mates he had lied his way through the game, using members as a “shield.”
The self confessed “cookie monster,” so named after using a jar of cookies to curry favour with his tribe, said, “People underestimated me. People thought that I was this angelic boy, when really, I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I always made sure that resources were used wisely. I had Luke. He was my best friend and we conquered Asaga together.”
This year TEN staged a winner announcement before a studio audience with all cast members returning for a Reunion where Jonathan LaPaglia. But there was no word on a third season, with TEN’s Upfronts due in early November.
“I’m shaking, but I’m proud of my experience, I’m proud of my game and I hope I made Australia proud, my family proud, the fans proud and Australian Survivor proud,” Jericho said.