They’re super bodies–but more than just bodiesBy Annelle S. Tayao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
From the way they ran, jumped, climbed and kayaked through a military-style obstacle course, this year’s batch of Century Tuna Superbods proved it takes more than a sexy figure to win the competition. One had to have the stamina, agility, presence of mind and, most importantly, discipline, to come out on top.
With the theme “Salute to Sexy,” Century Tuna’s flagship event returned to Boracay’s white-sand shores after a three-year break on April 14 for the finale of Century Tuna Superbods 2012. The winners, now both half a million pesos richer, are models Monika Sta. Maria, 20, and John Spainhour, 24.
A former US Marine, Fil-Am Spainhour is no stranger to discipline when it comes to health, diet and exercise. “You have to find a routine (diet, fitness regimen, workout) and stay with it,” he said. “There will be days when you think you’re not gaining anything, but you have to be disciplined enough to look past that, because being fit is not going to come overnight.” Spainhour is also an outdoor enthusiast, and enjoys scuba diving, target shooting and snowboarding.
Likewise, Sta. Maria knows how to keep her diet in check. “You can always indulge yourself, but you have to compensate for that,” she said. “For example, if you have a cheat day, you just have to work out more, so it’s balanced.” She hits the gym whenever she can, and was an active volleyball player in college at De La Salle University.
“This is our fourth Superbods event. It’s not annual because we’re trying to make it different,” said Century Tuna Group product manager Angela Gamboa. “It’s not the usual swimsuit competition alone; people get more excited for it.”
Spainhour and Sta. Maria bested 18 other finalists after weeks of rigorous workouts and training on public speaking and modeling. The competition then culminated in a beach clean-up, fun games and a beauty pageant at the beachfront of Astoria Boracay in Station 1.
The fun games, hosted by Magic 89.9 DJ Tony Toni, began mid-morning with a “mad dash.” Finalists, divided into 10 teams of two, ran on the beach from Astoria to Plazoleta in Station 2, where they had to complete an obstacle course by hopping from one rubber tire to another, jumping over three-foot hurdles, scaling and climbing over a seven-foot wall.
The contestants then had time to catch their breath as they alternated pumping air into six beach balls. Some teams were so intense that they even broke their air pumps, leaving them with no choice but to manually blow air into the beach balls.
After completing that task, the teams kayaked around 20 feet out into the sea to retrieve a bag containing a tent. Once back on shore, each pair had to pitch their tent before putting up their respective flags, which had their team’s color.
The Red Team’s angel-faced 20-year-old Azel Shane Smith and 28-year-old June Macasaet were ahead of the pack during the fun games, but, at the last minute, were overtaken by Spainhour and Davaoeño Mary Claire Dodo, 19, of the Brown Team.
“We didn’t know they (Red Team) were leading,” said Dodo. “Our strategy was really to have constant and effective communication. John (Spainhour) doesn’t know Tagalog, so even if I was having a nosebleed talking in English, I still went for it.”
Smith and Macasaet came in second at the games. Coincidentally, the pair also won second place overall, winning P20,000 each.
One could hardly pass through Astoria’s beachfront during the night’s beauty pageant and awarding, as the crowd gathered not just to see who would win, but to catch a glimpse of Century Tuna celebrity endorsers Derek Ramsay and Anne Curtis. Other celebrities at the event were Aljur Abrenica, Solenn Heusaff and Georgina Wilson.
Ramsay opened the show, standing center stage and shirtless (“Were you able to count his 22 abs?” one guest quipped) with the female finalists. Curtis, in a black bikini under a long, sheer black cover-up, soon called on the male contestants, commanding them to drop on their hands and knees, “and give me 20!”
Judges were fashion designers Rajo Laurel and Charina Sarte (whose swimsuits and resort wear were modeled by the finalists); photographer Marc Nicdao; Century Canning Corp. vice president and general manager Greg Banzon; PC&V Communications president and chief creative officer Ariel Comia; Cosmopolitan editor in chief Myrza Sison; TV host Tim Yap; and fashion blogger Jenni Epperson.
Finalists were judged according to the following criteria: beauty and body, 50 percent; healthy mind (fun games and question and answer portion), 50 percent.
Undoubtedly one of the hardest questions was thrown at Spainhour by Nicdao: “What do you think is the most important invention?”
To which Spainhour concisely answered: “The wheel. I think it’s the most symbolic of all inventions.”
Arguably the best answer of the night came from male second runner-up JC Rezabek, 21, who responded to Charina Sarte’s question on what having a healthy mind really means: “It means constantly educating ourselves. We have to pursue education throughout our lives.” Female second runner-up was 22-year-old model Janelle Olafson. They each won P10,000.
Other awards handed out that night were Fierce Photo (Spainhour and Janet Emmrich, 23, University of San Carlos Cebu student); Best in Resort Wear (Sta. Maria and National University student AJ Hanson, 20); and People’s Choice (Emmrich and 25-year-old entrepreneur JP Yap).
While it was the end for the other finalists, Sta. Maria and Spainhour are gearing up for a new kind of challenge as Century Tuna’s newest ambassadors. “I have to step up my game; I’m not used to being in the public eye,” said Spainhour. “I’m going to have to learn how to speak to the press, and just be a figure people can look up to.”
Added Sta. Maria, who said she will be using her cash winnings to help out with her family’s finances: “There’s obviously a lot of pressure. We both are going to do our best to give justice to the award they gave us.”