Winchsurfing at Virgin Beach Resort (San Juan, Batangas)

Joey winchsurfing

Mr. Joey Cuerdo of Powerup Gym invited me and fellow travel writer Joselito”Lito” Cinco to join him and his kids (daughters Frankie and Kitkat and son Kobe) as guests of Mr. Butch Campos, owner of Virgin Beach Resort along Laiya Beach in San Juan, Batangas.  To record the moment, I brought along my daughter Cheska, a photography buff.   Laiya Beach is located along the coast of Sigayan Bay (one of the cleanest bays in the country) and Verde Island Passage.

The resort’s white sand beach

Normally, the trip, via South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and Star Tollway, even on a Saturday (the day we left) was just 2.5 to 3 hrs. but hey it was the eve of the May 10 elections and last-ditch efforts by candidates to woo voters, via rallies and miting de avance, was the rule and not the exception, causing long traffic waits.  We left early in the morning but only arrived at the resort just in time for lunch.  Still, we were lucky.  Other invited guests, skim boarders from Nasugbu who left after lunch, arrived at the resort at 7 PM.

The Balinese-style restaurant

It being noon, the more than 7 km,. long, slightly coarse sand beach at the resort was at its whitest and, as lunch was still being prepared, we took time to explore the place. Very noticeable was its high level of cleanliness which sets it apart from the others. Mr. Campos, our host, sees to it that it remains such, personally picking up trash and cigarette butts and depositing them at ashtrays and trash receptacles provided specifically for food, and non-food items.  This 40-hectare (6 hectares developed) Class “A” resort, opened in 2005, is also noted for the oversized proportions and sprawled layout of its facilities.  The majestic Mt. Lobo serves as a tranquil backdrop to its beautiful beachfront area, truly a combination of land, sea and sky.

The Parasols

After this guided tour by Mr. Campos, we all walked back to the huge Balinese-style restaurant/pavilion were a scrumptious set lunch of salad, soup, main course (with a choice of chicken, beef or pork and seafood) and dessert awaited us.

After lunch, Joey then proceeded to set up the resort’s newest attraction: winchskating.  This is not new to the country as Camarines Watersports (Naga City, Camarines Sur) and Lago de Oro (Calatagan, Batangas)  offer cable wakeboarding, wake skating and water skiing in manmade, freshwater lakes.  However, this will the first time that that cable wakeboarding and wake skating is being done along a seashore and this resort will be the first to offer such.
Joey instructing Cheska

This recent concept is simpler but safer and more affordable, using a U.S. made, 9 HP, 4-stroke portable, lightweight wakeboard winch (manufactured by Ridiculous Winches and distributed here in the country by Outward Bound Gear), anchored and held stationary by stakes on a sand spit, to pull, using variable speeds, a wakeboarder via a sturdy, 200-ft. long rope along the shallow seashore.  Joey, a professional surfer, took first crack at it initially using his own surf board and, finally, a wakeboard (more suitable because of its shorter fins).  Soon, he riding the waves of the shore like the professional that he is.  Mr. Campos, Frankie and Cheska took unsuccessful cracks at it.  Joey hopes, that with the introduction of this winch, the wakeboarding domain will be revolutionized to some extent and more venues will be opened as wakeboard winches have made wake skating accessible to a large number of spectators as one can fix them anywhere.

Virgin Beach Resort: Brgy. Hugom, San Juan, Batangas.  Tel: (632) 815-2584, 815-2587, 759-2020 and 759-2828. Fax: (632)817-6334 Mobile number: (0917) 813-1301. Email: sunkisd@pldtdsl.net.  Website: www.virginbeachresort.com.

Camsur Watersports Complex (Pili, Camarines Sur)

I was invited to cover the 2nd Bagasbas Summer Surf Festival (April 4-5) to be held in Daet, Camarines Norte, and I was to get there via an Air Philippines flight to Pili Airport in Camarines Sur.   At the NAIA terminal,  there was a long queue for this as well as other flights to Pili as the surf festival also coincided with  April 2-5 Terry Larrazabal Bike Festival to be held in Camsur.  Many participants brought along their packed bikes.  I was lucky to get on board my flight.  Flights were overbooked and other members of the media who were joining me had to move their flight for next day and would have to land in Legaspi City (Albay) instead of Pili. 

Camsur Watersports Complex
The flight to Pili took just 45 mins. and I arrived at the airport by 8 AM.  It seems no one was at the airport to pick me up as they must have thought that my flight was cancelled.  Luckily for me, I met up with Ms. Marife Nolasco-Maralit, the Camarines Sur Provincial Officer who I met previously at the 2002 Kaogma Festival of Naga City.  She contacted the Mr. Melvic Brinas, the driver who was supposed to pick me up.  Melvic was already on his way back to Daet when he received the call and he promptly turned back.  As I still had time to kill before his arrival, Mariefe offered to tour me around the nearby Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC).
 
The clubhouse restaurant
This unique, 6-hectare watersports park, opened in May 2006 (during the term of Gov. Luis Raymond Villafuerte, president of the Philippine Waterski and Wakeboard Federation), is the top tourist attraction in the Bicol Region.  It offers a 6-point cable ski system designed for wakeboarding, wakeskating, kneeboarding and waterskiing.  These are done in 2 large man-made lakes.  It is open even at night as the park is equipped with spotlights.  CWC also has a clubhouse restaurant by the lagoon, a swimming pool, sand bars, spa, pro-shops and a grandstand for guests.
One of the man-made lakes
On October 2006, the 1st Cable Wakeboarding Nationals were held here and, on July 2008, the complex hosted the 2008 World Wakeboarding Competition.  Accommodations in and near this provincial government-run complex include first-class hotel rooms, Tiki huts, airconditioned individual cabanas and refurbished container vans just meters apart from each other.
 
Camsur Watersports Complex: Provincial Capitol Complex, Brgy. Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur.  Tel: (054) 477-3344, 475-0689 and 477-3349.  Fax: (054) 477-3347.  Website: www.camsurwatersportscomplex.com.