How Century Tuna won the nation’s battle of the bods
John A. Magsaysay (The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Sunday, April 10, 2016 may go down in our country’s history as the moment when some of the hottest battles were fought and won. Manny Pacquiao pinned down his third bout against boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. The vice presidential candidates dominated the political arena in the first public debates. And, for the 10th time, Century Tuna crowned its Superbods on a sweltering 32-degree evening at the exclusive Palace Pool Club.

The canning magnate, now officially recognized as one of the country’s most celebrated talent scouts, managed to set the tone of the fierce and fiery competition by drumbeating its 26 Superbods Nation finalists in their red-hot athletic wear to hundreds of self-fanning fans.

“It’s bigger and better in terms of competition,” noted Century Pacific Food, Inc. general manager Greg Banzon. “You see a cross-section of contestants, and not just the Filipino-looking. We have the Chinese-Mestizo, the tisoys, the Eurasians and the Arabic.” Showcasing a more diverse and universal roster of the possible brand ambassadors speaks volumes about Century’s broader reach to an international market, and for audience members and judges present that night, it raised the bar for this year’s tight selection.  

“We’re looking for the epitome of health and fitness, therefore sexy individuals in both body and mind,” said Banzon, who also chaired the equally impressive board of judges. Century Tuna’s first-ever celebrity endorser, 1969 Miss Universe Gloria Diaz, fashion editor and celebrity stylist Liz Uy, celebrated cager Jeron Teng, TV5 president and CEO Noel Lorenzana, Belo Medical Group managing director Cristalle Belo-Henares, and adman Ariel Comia joined Banzon in selecting from 13 pairs of equally fit male and female candidates.

“It’s very hard, that’s why we made them go through rigorous challenges; they have very big shoes to fill. The past Superbods have all progressed in their careers, and now are celebrities in their own right,” Banzon noted.

By the time the 26 candidates came out, wearing competition swimwear no less, it was clear that the crowd already had its favorites. Cheers erupted for Lady Volcanoes rugby player Cassie Umali, Zamboanga-raised model Nancy Leonard, morena model and yoga instructor Tanya Hyde, chinito TV celebrity Jerome Tan, recognized fitness trainer Kel Padilla, as well as actress Christine Reyes’ hubby, Ali Khatibi.

However, the judges had other names in mind when declaring the consolation prize winners. Filipino-Italian model Ambra Gutierrez bagged the Superbod Beach Body and Fitness First Fit Individual awards. Winning the male Superbod Beach Body Title was football player Shawn Stansbury, and the male Fitness First Fit Individual, Stylish Superbod of the Night, Belo Beautiful Skin, and Photogenic Superbod was the easy favorite, 21-year-old TV personality Clint Bondad.

Crowd-sourced from the innovative Superbods app were People’s Choice winners Kaara Tan and Pio Luz. Supermodel Olivia Medina was declared the female Stylish Superbod of the Night and Photogenic Superbod, a title she shared with male model Tom Esconde. Runway veteran Chet Abella claimed both titles for Belo Beautiful Skin and Runway Superbods, where she was joined by College of St. Benilde basketball star Ameen Sardouk. And representing 20 percent of the final score was the acclaim for the Superbods Challenge winners — female jock Cassie Umali and Andrew Aurellano — while amiable contestants Carmela Fernandez and Jake Khan bagged the Congeniality Awards. 

“This batch is very special because they’re very driven as finalists. Their sheer transformation is really remarkable. But despite this, they have extensive camaraderie among themselves,” shared adman Ariel Comia, a sentiment echoed by competition director Robbie Carmona.

“Century Tuna Superbods has managed to raise its game after 10 years. We’re really excited to welcome our new roster of Superbods ambassadors,” declared Derek Ramsay shortly before announcing the Superbods Nation Winners. Joined onstage by Century Tuna celebrity endorsers Anne Curtis, Xian Lim, KC Concepcion, Aljur Abrenica, Paolo Avelino, Jesse Mendiola, Gerald Anderson, Isabelle Daza, Solenn Heusaff and Phil Younghusband, the excitement from the poolside bleachers hit fever pitch just as the runners-up and the winners of this year’s Superbod Nation were declared. 

The second runners-up, who bagged P100,000 each, were pageant scene stunner Chet Abella and MMA fighter Ali Khatibi. Winning first runners-up with P250,000 each were crowd-drawers Ambra Gutierrez and Clint Bondad. And finally, Filipino-Ukrainian cover girl Olivia Medina and Filipino-Swedish runway star Tom Esconde were hailed as this year’s Superbod Nation champions, both going home with a cool P500,000 each and the honor of being the Century Tuna Superbods ambassadors of the biennial competition.

“I really learned not to give up. I think that’s something I really took with me, when things in the competition got really hard, especially in the physical challenges. I realized that it comes in handy even in your personal life. Sometimes we tend to give up, but you just keep on going,” shared a victorious Medina. For Tom Esconde, on the other hand, he’s coming home with much more than the usual prize and prestige. “I have always been into fitness and health, but last year, I had a whole year of being unhealthy. Until I saw the call for Century Tuna Superbods, and I thought that it was something for me, to inspire me to get back into shape. It didn’t matter to me if I win or not, but this was just the beginning of my transformation. And I will never quit my life as a Superbod,” he stressed.

But in the end, the real winner of this year’s Century Tuna Superbods Nation was the brand, which, for a decade, has been inspiring consumers to make notable transformations in their fitness and lifestyles through mindful eating. “For our 10th Superbods year, our consumers are really our main ambassadors. We put it in Manila so more people can go and take part. And we opened up the Transformation portion, in which we allowed our successful consumer transformations to be showcased in the competition. With this, we tell our consumers that they can become Superbods in themselves. It’s not an aspiration but a fitspiration,” shared Century Pacific Food Inc. group product manager Gela Gamboa.



  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with