The tranquil and picturesque environment of Calatagan, Batangas, is ideal for city dwellers who just want to get away from all the congestion and pollution. Calatagan is 155 kms southwest of Manila and just over two hours from Makati. En route, one already feels refreshed on seeing the South China Sea's rolling waves, the sweeping green hills, and taking in the revitalizing fresh air of Tagaytay.
Calatagan's serenity was interrupted last October 20 at the Lago de Oro resort. Showbiz personalities and other people gathered to share a widespread interest and enjoy competition in one of the rising sports in the Philippines today—cable wakeboarding.
For those who aren't familiar with wakeboarding, it's a surface water sport which involves riding a wakeboard over the surface of a body of water behind a speedboat. The sport was developed from a combination of water skiing, snow boarding, and surfing techniques.
Wakeboard is buoyant material with the core usually made of foam or honeycomb mixed with resin and coated with fiberglass. Metal screws are inserted to attach bindings and fins. Cable wakeboarding breaks away from the traditional skiing behind a speedboat; instead, an overhead cable pulls the wakeboarder onto the water's surface.
If you find the information on wakeboarding stimulating, then you and actor Aga Muhlach may already have something in common. The That's My 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 to show and share. That's what prompted them to host the 1st Aga Muhlach 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 of Embassy'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 helped calm the nerves of the participants as they prepared to hit the waves and boast their skills to the crowd.
Before the contest began, showbiz personalities Marc Nelson, Boy Abunda, Bayani Agbayani, sister Jackie and Dyan Castillejo wished the celeb couple Aga and Charlene good luck.
The contest started off with the beginner's heat; Aga himself and eight others competed to escape the elimination round. Aga glowed with confidence as he successfully pulled off neat tricks, like the Backside Lipside (skimming over an A-ramp then switching 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 the finals—to his great surprise.
Charlene, on the other hand, wasn't as lucky under the women's beginner division. Her Board Switches and ramp jumps sometimes ended in wipeouts (stumbling into the water). Although she lost, the smile 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 the beginner's division. The intermediate and master's divisions wowed the crowd with 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 and prize did he realize that he was first runner-up.
As the awarding ceremonies ended, the night suddenly became alive with music, food, and beer. Participants and guests danced to the beat and looked forward to the sport again at the next Aga Muhlach Wakeboarding Championship.