Thursday, August 27, 2009

The best diving spot in Asia?

The Cacao Pearl island is located off the western shores of Busuanga in Northern Palawan. It would be presumptuous to say that it is the best diving spot in Asia but it is probably the best-kept diving secret in the region. Palawan has over 2,000 kilometers of irregular coastlines, dotted with 1,780 sugar white sandy beaches islands, islets and rocky coves. It also hosts two world heritage sites for diving enthusiasts:

o The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) features a large limestone karst landscape with one of the World’s longest underground navigable rivers (8.2km). The site contains a full mountain to sea ecosystem.
o The Tubbatha Reef Marine Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) covers 332km2 including the North and South Reefs. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100M perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands. (tie in with my section on Tubbatha)

Most divers come here to explore shipwrecks. During WWII, the American fleet sank 24 Japanese warships in the area, 12 of them in conveniently shallow water, including swim throughs, technical and Nitrox dives and shallow novice dives and all within a 1.5 hour boat ride in a wide arc around the south side of Busuanga Island. Turning a former war theatre into a divers paradise.

The Cacao Pearl is the ideal base to explore the region’s diving hotspots and indulge in all kind of environmentally friendly marine activities. The Cacao Pearl island hosts eight beaches, secluded coves and crystal clear waters with 30 feet plus of visibility. We have and extensive fringe reef system, allowing you to leisurely slip into the water right off the beach with your snorkel and mask on, and straight into warm waters and a cornucopia of exotic fish and coral. Spot and swim with gentle whale sharks, playful dolphins and a variety of underwater residents such as dugongs, clown fish, lapu-lapu fish, squid, parrot fish, lion fish, glass shrimps, turtles…

The resort will host a PADI 5 star accredited dive centre with resident diving and surfing instructors. Marine activities will include deep-sea sport fishing (catch and release), non-motorised water sports such as house reef snorkelling, kayaking, hobie cats, surfing, kite surfing and wind-surfing. Guests will enjoy regular dive expeditions to the only marine World Heritage site in Asia, Tubbataha reef and the world famous Apo reef located in the Mindoro Straight as well as snorkelling safaris to ancient and protected fringe reef systems, walls, caves, shallow World War II wrecks, and turtle and dugong (manatee) feeding grounds.

A pier and mooring buoys will welcome visiting leisure crafts.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fiat building first consumer generated car

I am a great fan on how Fiat, which was left for dead a decade ago has reinvented itself and is now reinventing the industry. Just saw this on my Facebook feed, from old colleagues at Aegis Media:
"Working with Sao Paulo-based AgenciaClick, part of Aegis Group's Isobar network of digital agencies, Fiat started a website this month requesting ideas for the work-in-progress Fiat Mio." Fiat's marketing director in Brazil said "There are small things that don't cost much and bring great satisfaction to consumers, but haven't been given much attention. A lot of their ideas will end up going into our cars." Full article in AdAge.

Friday, August 21, 2009

First Video ad in a print magazine

First appearance on US publication Entertainment Weekly on September 11 (odd choice of date...). The specs: 2.7mm thick screen with 320x240 resolution, 2 inches by 11/2 inch display size, the rechargeable battery lasts for about 70 minutes and it has a chip similar to those of these annoying greeting cards. No mention of speakers. Advertisers are CBS and Pepsi. From the BBC, MediaPost and CNET.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

5 reasons why I like to read Monocle

o Founder is also the founder of Wallpaper, arguably the most influential design & lifestyle magazine.
o It is not about fashion (fashion is for suckers) but about style - and about business, current affairs, culture…
o Finally, a magazine that recognizes Tokyo as one of the coolest cities on the planet. And I won’t use the word “sick” to mean “cool” as I am comfortable with my age.
o It launched when everyone thought print media was dead.
o Its website doesn’t give away much, if you want the stories, buy the magazine. A model for other publications struggling to adapt to the digital age?

Social Mention: Total social media metrics solution.

Social Mention is a “social media search platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information”. It includes Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, blogs… I haven’t delved down into the methodology behind passion, sentiment, reach and strength but I like the dashboard and the breadth of sources covered. So far the best I have seen for free users and marketers on a budget.

Above is a screenshot of a social media search on "Cacao Pearl", our flagship luxury eco-resort project.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why does your english let you down?

A Guardian article about the longest running newspaper ad, for the Practical English Programme, a distance learning course on written and spoken English. Since the 1950s, 400,000 people have taken the course and the current MD reckons that despite several trials with new adverts, the original ad copy is still the most effective.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Times and Sun to stop free for all online model

"Quality journalism is not cheap," said Murdoch. "The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news websites." Article on the Guardian. If Rupert manages to pull this off, as I think he will, many media organizations and A-list blogs will quickly follow suit. I wonder how this will leave bloggers who quote articles or subscribers to feeds who automatically post on their blogs?

Monday, August 03, 2009

MomDot's hypocritical weeklong PR blackout

MomDot: "our site, and many others, are inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of product requests each year resulting in massive obligations and deadline stress"... "MomDot is challenging bloggers to participate for one week in August in a PR BLACKOUT challenge where you do not blog ANY giveaways, ANY reviews, and Zero press releases."

Looks good on the surface but MomDot looks more like a commercial venture to me than a blog, judging by the amount of self-confessed PR relationships, advertising on their site and the option to subscribe to be part of the "premier community for moms who blog". So basically the team wants to take a holiday in August to get away from the stress of running a commercial publication. Needless to say that MomDot can always refuse to follow-up on a press release if they don't want to. I turn away dozens a month and never talk about them. The whole PR Blackout call looks more like a PR stunt to me. I would support the initiative if it wasn't so hypocritical.