Boracay, the new Muscle Beach
One of the world’s most recognized beach events is coming to Boracay in the first weekend of June. “Muscle Beach” was first established in 1933 on the south side of the Santa Monica Pier in California. It was originally a seaside showcase of talented athletes like gymnasts, acrobats and bodybuilders, an offshoot of a movement towards physical fitness and awareness. Soon, it became the most famous outdoor gym in the world, and is considered the launch pad of the physical fitness movement of the early part of the 20th century. Close to two decades later, Venice Beach likewise became known as a haven for bodybuilders, and became known as Muscle Beach Venice, the more popular setting for bodybuilders between the two.
Muscle Beach Philippines will be the first staging in the Philippines and Asia of the popular event that was catapulted to international fame by Venice Beach, which transformed into an outdoor weightlifting platform that served as the home gym of popular personalities such as 1967 Mr. Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, television’s original Hulk. Today, Muscle Beach maintains serves as the central location for public interest in physical fitness not just for Americans, but for much of the world. The maiden staging of the Muscle Beach event in the Philippines makes Filipino physical fitness athletes and bodybuilders a part of its rich tradition and culture. And their only choice for an initial venue had to be the world-class beach of Boracay, at the Boracay Peninsula Resort beachfront.
“The island has world-class beach resorts, golf course, and a multitude of recreational and sea sports to offer visitors as well as boat trips to surrounding islands in Panay and the Romblon Islands area. Boracay is the best venue for Muscle Beach event because of its global popularity and recognizability as well as the incredible scenery it has that will be the perfect backdrop for the event and what else would you look for?” the organizers GooZam, The Fitness Hub, Gigen Eventi and Sherwin Sy said in a statement.
Working closely with amateur bodybuilding federation National Athletic Committee-Philippines (NAC, organizers of the Asian qualifiers for the Mr. Universe), the organizers have assembled a high-profile international roster of pros, coaches, guest posers and judges for June 3, with a heavy Filipino flavor. Multi-awarded professional bodybuilding champion Eryk Bui will be in attendance. Bui was head judge at Muscle Beach Venice. Gemmalyn Crosby, who has been competing since 2011, is going to be onstage. Fellow IFBB pro Jeff Diaz will hold a coaching session on Physique competition. Jewel Karunungan, NPC Grand Prix LA 2017 Figure Class champion and the International Classic Figure category champion at Muscle Beach Venice 2016, will show off her competition-winning poses during the event. Local bodybuilding celebrities like JP Yap and Hilary Isaac will also be posing.
Though the focus will be the men’s and women’s bodybuilding and physique competition, there will be many peripheral events that will feature music, retail, exhibits, and interactive activities that will immerse event participants and the public in the world of Muscle Beach California. The organizers have made sure that the event will leave a lasting impression on local spectators. Meanwhile, an array of national bodybuilding luminaries like Rey Domalsin, long-time bodybuilding champion Roman Cortuna, Leigh Guda, NAC president and masters champion Patrick Tan and bodybuilding patron Nicky Tsai will serve as judges. Each is a veteran judge of several international bodybuilding competitions.
“It is really exciting for us to be able to help introduce this event to a Filipino audience,” says Tan, who first started judging for bodybuilding in Boracay over a decade ago. “Muscle Beach is one of the events that have made bodybuilding popular all over the world, and we’re proud that they have chosen Boracay as their first venue.”
There are 10 different categories for competitors in Muscle Beach Philippines. Each winner will receive P10,000. Runners-up will get P7,000 while second runners-up receive P4,000. To register as a competitor, go to www.goozam.org/musclebeachph2017.
What this says about the Philippines is that it is known as a major sports tourism destination, particularly for sports that have crossed over from a hardcore niche market into the mainstream.