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Story Behind the Pinoy Skimboarding Champion in Penang, Malaysia

I am so happy when I heard the news from friends that Sonny Boy “Bayugyug” Aporbo was proclaimed champion during the 6th Penang International Skimboarding Competion that happened last September 15-16 in Penang, Malaysia.

TRAINING BACK HOME

Just 2 weeks ago I was with Bayugyug and the rest of the Amihan Boys in Dahican Beach, Mati City. I was fortunate enough to see how they prepared and trained for this competition. Rising early morning to run or practice skimboarding and even carrying stones under the sea to strengthen the lungs. I was with them eating fish and squids, and sometimes chicken or just plain noodles. These things flashed back into my mind when a friend told me that Bayugyug won the championship.

Training at Dahican Beach

Traveling with Bayugyug is a close friend, Winston Plaza who also won in the stand-up paddle board race. He came in 2nd when an Australian beaten him during the Finals.

You can check the Results and Highlights on My Life Onboard‘s account.

I wrote this to share what they have gone through before finally setting foot to Malaysia.

DENIED OF GOING OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY

The afternoon of September 13, Winston Plaza and Sonny Boy “Bayugyug” Aporbo arrived at Clark International Airport from Davao City. Complete with documents and invitation letters from the organizers; passport valid and all pertinent papers needed for their departure. They also have a return ticket to assure the Bureau of Immigration that they are coming back.

But something went wrong, someone from the Bureau of Immigration didn’t granted them exit because he was looking for a letter from the Mayor that allows these two to compete abroad (Do they really need this?). The two, not knowing what to do (it was their first time to go abroad), was forced to contact the Mayor of Mati City. Time passed and they missed their flights to Kuala Lumpur that day (insert *^#@5%&^ smiley here ____). They should be at Penang a day before the competition so Bayugyug can practice and feel the ocean for the competition. To made it worse, the immigration official even said to use their skimboards and start paddling to Malaysia from the Philippines (WHATDA?!!!!).

I was asking them if they remember the name or the face of the officer. Fortunately for the officer, they weren’t able to get his name, but they told me that he looks like turtle, fat and bald. I wonder who that officer was and I hope that someone from the BI can look into this, I believe they have CCTV camera in the airport.

Imagine if these skimmers just went back to Davao Oriental after this traumatic event.

SOME PINOYS HELPED

So Winston and Bayugyug stayed at the airport, hungry and trying to save every money they have for Malaysia. Some Filipinos helped by giving them food and Energen. Thanks to thess angels.

The next day, the letter from the Mayor came and they bought new tickets for KL (Sucks right?). And they finally arrived at KL. Because of the delay, they missed the last bus trip to Penang so they stayed a day in KL, resorting to going there on the day of the competition itself. Stressed and tired they arrived minutes before Bayugyug’s 1st heat.

Bayugyug riding the waves perfectly

As Bayugyug is properly trained by Kuya Jun Plaza, he managed to get through all of these odds and won the under 20 category, bringing home lots of freebies from Quicksilver and a 700RM cash prize.

Winston told me that when its Bayugyug’s heat already the other 3 will not compete anymore as there is no competition. He ripped the waves and won over Malaysians, Thais, Singaporeans, Chinese, Filipinos and many more.

Bayugyug doing some tricks during the 6th Penang International Skimboarding Competition

 

Winston on the other hand, won 2nd place during the Stand-up Paddle Boarding Competition. He was beaten by an Australian.

They also told me that because they don’t have enough budget for the competition, they just go to where they can ask for food. They even slept at the hotel lobby or outside their friend’s hotel room while in Penang.

When they went back to the Philippines they were rejoicing and happy in spite of the challenges along the way. Thankful to God for the win.

IN THE NEWS

You can watch the feature that GMA 7 News did yesterday:

SPECIAL NOTE

As of this writing, I learned that Bayugyug is being courted to live in Malaysia and continue training for steeper competitions in the US, Australia and China. Some big personalities from other countries want to sponsor Bayugyug for everything but he will compete for their country. Hmmmm…

 

MY THOUGHTS

On Philippine Skimboarding. We have been winning the Skimboarding competitions in Penang for the past years. Isn’t time for us to do an International Skimboarding Competition right here in our own country? This is another boost for tourism right?

On Bayugyug. I guess its high time for private individuals to support Pinoy talents such as this. The judges present during the competition told Winston that it was as if a PRO Skimmer from the Philippines visited Malaysia.

Bayugyug doing an aerial trick

In my book, Bayugyug is a PRO, problem is support is still lacking both from the government or private sector. I wish this will be read by right-minded individuals wanting to help Philippine Skimboarding.

 

Winston, me and Bayugyug at Manila celebrating the win!

 

Note: All skimboarding photos are grabbed from My Life on Board Facebook Page.

You can also watch the Youtube video here.

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  1. September 21st, 2012 at 02:01 | #1

    From what I understand, their city government was the one that supported them. I was there when they submitted the documents they needed. However, it really would have been better had they been granted at least a little bit more to be able to afford their own accommodations. What’s really amiss to me is how discriminatory that stupid immigration officer was.

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  2. September 21st, 2012 at 02:06 | #2

    Big ups to Sonny and Winston not just for their win but for never giving up in spite of all the odds! :) This story is both amazing and heartbreaking. Imagine, wala na ngang suporta from the government, muntik pa silang hindi maka-compete because of the same people who’s supposed to be helping them. Nakakainit ng ulo. There is absolutely no shortage of talented and world-class athletes in the Philippines. Problem is, the government seems to lack the initiative in finding, honing, and nurturing these individuals. And to that immigration officer, I hope he realizes what an a** he’s been.

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  3. Hermel Pama
    September 21st, 2012 at 07:16 | #3

    Congratulations to Sonny Boy Bayuyug and Winston Plaza.
    @ April Cuenca: “Their Mati City government supported them”, and that you were “there” (in Mati?) when they submitted their documents:
    What is the extent of this support?
    How is it that despite that, they failed to comply with immigration requirements? Perhaps no one in the Mati City government had detailed knowledge of all the requirements? How is it that they lacked (proper documentation, e.g., the letter of the Mayor, and sufficient funds for accommodation and food in a foreign country while representing the Philippines?
    As you have said, you wished “they have been granted a little more”…how much were they initially granted? Did they ask from the government through a formal letter? Did Mati City issue checks or give them cash before leaving Davao?
    @ April Cuenca and blogger (journeyingjames): It has been mentioned in the blog that the Mayor’s letter arrived, albeit late, and that “they” (Sonny Boy and Winston) bought new tickets for KL: was that through their own pocket, or through the Mayor of Mati?
    @ the author of the blog (journeyingjames): What could have gone wrong at the Bureau of Immigration at Clarkfield, Pampanga? You asked, “do they really need this?, i.e., (the letter of the Mayor).. I assume that it is needed because they are representing the country in an international competition and that they have formally submitted documents at Mati City, according to the narrative of your blog. So there must be some protocols at immigration, which should have been clarified to these fellows before their departure from Davao, that is, through the office of the City Mayor.
    If the comments of the immigration officer were true, I share in condemning his bias, but there may be objective parameters conveyed by the same officer also, or by the entire immigration office in Pampanga, which are not mentioned in the blog.
    It appears that on the aspect of financial support coming from Mati City government, the blog information and the comment of April Cuenca have different versions. It would be good to ask Sonny Boy and Winston themselves.

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  4. September 21st, 2012 at 07:21 | #4

    Well done Guys for overcoming all the odds. First time i went out of country in June this year i spent 2 hours in immigration before tthey let me out. Luckily i had a young female officer who understood me and why i wanted to go.
    The Philippine Constitution says that we have FREEDOM TO TRAVEL so why after we work hard to save money for our ticket and to support our travel are these people allowed to stop us.
    We have already bought our ticket so who benefits from wasting our hard earned money. It can only be corruption……..

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  5. September 21st, 2012 at 18:28 | #5

    ang hirap talaga pag tao na ang maka-wipe out! kawawa naman tong mga batang to sa mga kamay ng mokong na mga immigration officials!

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  6. Yuki Penaranda
    September 22nd, 2012 at 02:34 | #6

    I had the same experience too with the immigration officers from NAIA terminal 2. it’s really traumatic! I ended up going home paying penalties for the tickets and what was supposed to be my 1st out of the country trip, ruined. I even submit a complaint on the main office of Bureau of Immigration but since I was not able to get the name of the officers nothing happened. until now I didn’t even get a feedback from them. I already have a mark of departure on my passport then suddenly they held me and then scrutinize me. each time I remember what happened it really blow my mind because of the trauma and anger of what they did to me. :(

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  7. danilo
    October 15th, 2012 at 03:56 | #7

    just bumped into this blog while searching for articles about dahican. then i learned about bayugyug and other locals. sounds interesting. i’ve been to dahican during my college years at ateneo de davao about 14yrs ago. the sight vaguely registered on my mind but wat i remember most is the white sand and big gun surfss.. and now that im into surfing (im a beginner btw), dahican will definitely be on my list on my vacation this december. hope to meet bayugyug and the rest of the amihan sa dahican team :)

    congrats to the whole team for having such a world-class talent. and quite sorry for having to bump into an a-hole at the immigration. hope he hides in shame now. to bayugyug, goodluck and may the surf be with you *shaka*

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  8. October 16th, 2012 at 10:49 | #8

    Have read all your concerns of the ordeal the two of our best skimboarder here in Mati. Its good to hear that people like you made those observations and showed your concerns to them. Just for the information of everyone, the Honorable Mayor Michelle N. Rabat is supporting the team since the very start of their existence, specially the recently concluded Penang competition. Madam Michelle gave (on her personal capacity) them what they ask her as a support for that trip. It was just so unfortunate that an undesirable thing took its place not knowing that a certification was a requirement of such, but nevertheless it was also ironed out that very day, as soon as they called for help. Winston’s brother Pedro and Jun Plaza also went to the Mayor’s for the same reason. That was the lesson learned for that 1st international entry for skimboarding competition. Anyway, after hearing the story of Bayogyog and Winston (aka Alantoy) of their latest feat, Mayor Michelle replenished what they spent out of their budget and awarded the two a gift from her own pocket, as a token of gratitude for the glory they brought to their hometown. The Mayor promised to continue to give her full support to the Amihan sa Dahican group for their future endeavors and other International Games, specially the Hongkong thing come October 20-21, 2012 and the Australia Beach Games. Watch the shorts they will wear during this games. These boys are just too good to be discouraged. Peace everyone….

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  9. October 16th, 2012 at 10:56 | #9

    To journeyingjames. Very Big thanks for this blog. Sambuokan Festival na naman, Mercedes and the group will be around, dali na.

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