Most memorable moments from Survivor: Cagayan

STUDIO CITY, CA - MAY 21: (L-R) "Survivor: Cagayan" winner Tony Vlachos, Spencer Bledsoe, runner-up Yung "Woo" Hwang and Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen attend CBS's "Survivor 28" Season Finale at CBS Studios - Radford on May 21, 2014 in Studio City, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images)
STUDIO CITY, CA - MAY 21: (L-R) "Survivor: Cagayan" winner Tony Vlachos, Spencer Bledsoe, runner-up Yung "Woo" Hwang and Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen attend CBS's "Survivor 28" Season Finale at CBS Studios - Radford on May 21, 2014 in Studio City, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images) /

Survivor: Cagayan was the 28th season of the show and aired in the spring of 2014. What were the most memorable moments?

Fairly fresh out of the Dark Ages of Survivor, the show rebounded in the best possible way with its 28th season. Survivor: Cagayan provided fans with an old school feel despite it being a new school style of play. It also gave us the best cast in Survivor history and Cagayan is highly regarded amongst the fans and is usually ranked in the top five in most people’s rankings.

So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at the most memorable moments from season 28.

Brains vs Brawn vs Beauty

Cagayan started with three different tribes with one consisting of intelligent people, one consisting of physically strong people, and another filled with attractive people. The show would use this format again just four seasons later in Kaoh Rong.

Brains tribe is a disaster

Luzon – the brains tribe – was the most entertaining part of Survivor: Cagayan early on because of what a train wreck they were. For starters, they sucked in challenges, which only added to the chaos. After they lost the second immunity challenge, Garrett Adelstein suggested everyone hang out in the shelter and not talk strategy ahead of tribal council, which led to him getting voted off with a Hidden Immunity Idol that he left back at camp.

Despite this tribe being a complete disaster, it did give us three popular players in Kass McQuillen, Spencer Bledsoe, and Tasha Fox, who all returned three seasons later for Cambodia. Spencer and Tasha made it to the end in their second appearance, but were both zero vote finalists.

J’Tia dumping out the rice

Continuing on with Luzon, the most hilarious moment from their short time together was when J’Tia Taylor took it upon herself to dump out the rest of the tribe’s rice. The backstory to this is that she was the obvious weak link on the tribe, so when Garrett and Spencer went to find Kass and Tasha, J’Tia was left alone and the rest is history. The funniest part about all of this is that J’Tia dumped out their only food supply and still wasn’t voted out.

Original Cops’R’Us

The beloved Cops’R’Us duo in Winners at War actually came to be in Cagayan when Sarah Lacina knew from Day 1 that Tony Vlachos was a cop. He didn’t confess initially, but later he was honest about it with her and the two formed a bond as a result. We all know that Tony didn’t take the oath as seriously as Sarah did in Cagayan, leading the way to getting her voted out (more on that in a bit), but Cops’R’Us would later become one of the greatest alliances of all-time.

Great Cast

Oh man, where to start with how epic this cast is? I’ve already named a few big characters from this season (Kass, Spencer, Tony, Sarah, Tasha), but that doesn’t even begin to cover how great this group was. Along with those five, there was also Woo Hwang, Trish Hegarty, and Morgan McLeod, and even some of the lesser names like LJ McKanas and Jefra Bland provided something in this fun-filled season. Everyone played a part in making Cagayan great and it’ll be hard to ever top this cast (at least when it comes to newbie seasons).

Flipping the script on Sarah

One of the biggest moments of Survivor: Cagayan was when Sarah was blindsided at the merge. She was the swing vote and was being openly arrogant about her power and how everyone should be nice to her and it ended up costing her. The way Sarah treated Kass pushed Kass into the arms of the minority alliance where she helped get Sarah booted from the game. Sarah learned a lot from her game in Cagayan, as showcased by her dominant win in Game Changers and she’s now one of the best players of all-time.

Tony speaking llama

Tony butted heads with a lot of people in Cagayan with one of them being Kass. When it got down to five players, Kass was doing her best to tick Tony off and he eventually unloaded on her, which led to… Well, just watch the video linked above.

Tony’s dominant win / What in the world was Woo thinking?

As great as Tony’s win in Cagayan was, it always comes back to: What the heck was Woo thinking by bringing Tony to the end with him? Cagayan implemented a final two for the first time since Tocantins 10 seasons prior, so when Woo won the final immunity challenge, he got to pick who he wanted to sit next to him at the final tribal council.

It was down to Tony or Kass and the obvious choice to take to the end was Kass. She ticked everyone off and Woo likely would have steamrolled her in the final vote. Shockingly, he chose to go to the end with Tony and as a result, lost out on a million dollars and the title of Sole Survivor.

The bigger picture here is thinking about the domino effect. If Woo took Kass to the end, Tony doesn’t win Cagayan and wouldn’t have been on Winners at War, therefore not becoming the show’s second two-time winner. Kass was milliseconds away from beating Woo in that challenge too and she surely would have taken Woo to the end, so we were a millisecond away from Woo winning Survivor: Cagayan and Tony likely never winning the game. Crazy.


Survivor: Cagayan gave us the best cast in the history of the show and also one of the best seasons of all-time. This season still holds up years later and it’s one that nearly every fan enjoys. What were your favorite moments from Cagayan?