The tranquil and picturesque environment of Calatagan,Batangas, is ideal for city dwellers who just want to get awayfrom all the congestion and pollution. Calatagan is 155 kms southwest of Manila and just over two hours from Makati. En route, one already feelsrefreshed on seeing the South China Sea's rolling waves, the sweepinggreen hills, and taking in the revitalizing fresh air of Tagaytay.
Calatagan's serenity was interrupted last October 20 at the Lago de Ororesort. Showbiz personalities and other people gathered to share awidespread interest and enjoy competition in one of the rising sports in thePhilippines today—cable wakeboarding.
For those who aren't familiar with wakeboarding, it's asurface water sport which involves riding a wakeboard over the surface of abody of water behind a speedboat. The sport was developed from a combination of waterskiing, snow boarding, and surfing techniques.
Wakeboard is buoyant materialwith the core usually made of foam or honeycomb mixed with resin and coatedwith fiberglass. Metal screws are inserted to attach bindings and fins. Cablewakeboarding breaks away from the traditional skiing behind a speedboat; instead, an overhead cable pulls the wakeboarder onto thewater's surface.
If you find the information on wakeboarding stimulating,then you and actor Aga Muhlach may already have something in common. The That'sMy Doc! star got hooked on the sport instantly. His wife Charlene Gonzalez-Muhlach had to try it too.
Although both are still new to wakeboarding, Aga and Charlene have neat new tricks toshow and share. That's what prompted them to host the 1st AgaMuhlach National Wakeboarding Championship in Lago de Oro.
The place was jampacked with wakeboarding competitors,celebs, media folk, and curious onlookers as the event unfolded to the music ofEmbassy's top DJs. Exhibitions by the country's professional wakeboarders followed apace.
The weather cooperated beautifully, with sunshine giving everyone a cool tan. The relaxed atmosphere helpedcalm the nerves of the participants as they prepared to hit the wavesand boast their skills to the crowd.
Before the contest began,showbiz personalities Marc Nelson, Boy Abunda, Bayani Agbayani, sister Jackie and DyanCastillejo wished the celeb couple Aga and Charlene good luck.
The contest started off with the beginner's heat; Agahimself and eight others competed to escape the elimination round. Aga glowed with confidence as he successfully pulledoff neat tricks, like the Backside Lipside (skimming over an A-ramp thenswitching front to back), and Surface 180s (switching whichever foot is forward),and a handful of air grabs. Sure enough, those tricks earned him a place in thefinals—to his great surprise.
Charlene, on theother hand, wasn't as lucky under the women's beginner division. Her BoardSwitches and ramp jumps sometimes ended in wipeouts (stumbling into the water). Although she lost, thesmile on her face was impossible to wipe out as she gamely waded back to shore, met by Aga's kiss for her nice performance.
The contest progressed well in the afternoon after thebeginner's division. The intermediate and master's divisions wowed the crowdwith their near-pro moves and complicated aerial maneuvers and stunts.
At sundown, people gathered for the awards program. As the winners were called, Aga gave out the plaques and prizes, oblivious that he had earned second place. He was shocked when he heard his name, thinking it was a joke, but he gamely stood at the podium. Only when he was handed the plaque andprize did herealize that he was first runner-up.
As the awarding ceremonies ended, the night suddenly became alive withmusic, food, and beer. Participants and guests danced to the beat andlooked forward to the sport again at the next Aga Muhlach WakeboardingChampionship.