Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sumilon Island, Cebu: The Epson Fusion 5 Media Appreciation Adventure

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Epson Philippines Corporation (EPC), one of my favorite technology brands, recently announced some really great news during its annual Media Appreciation Activity dubbed as Fusion and already on its 5th year, held last May 21 to 23, 2014 at Bluewater Resort of Sumilon Island, Cebu. The island is located at the southeastern tip of the Cebu mainland so it was just a boat ride away from Cebu, but about 4 to 5 hours drive away from the Cebu city airport. This was why we chose to take the Dumaguete flight so it will be less time-consuming to travel from Dumaguete to the Sumilon Island.

Several members of the media were among the first ones to hear about Epson's accomplishments for the past year as the No. 1 brand in three different categories namely projectors, inkjet printers, and dot matrix printers. Epson also unveiled 14 new products from four (4) different categories including: Visual Instruments (VI)/Projectors, Inkjet Printers, Commercial & Industrial (C&I) and, Business Systems.

Epson remains the undisputed leader in the dot matrix printer category, with a market share of 97%, it retained its Value (US$) Share Leadership in the Inkjet hardcopy peripherals (printer) market category with 33.1% share in 2013, and achieved the No.1 position in the projector category with a 31.84% market share.

But that announcement was just the tip of the iceberg with regards to a lot of other things to celebrate namely our adventure lined-up within the three days we will be spending starting off from the Sumilon island. Epson may have conquered the said technical categories, but we are set to conquer some water-related activities soon. The Epson management were excited to share with us their wonderful "stats," but we were actually more thrilled to begin our adventure in Cebu and relieve our body of some of our unwanted "fats."

A quick selfie with Epson Philippines President Toshimitsu Tanaka and his wife Mayumi, immediately after landing in Dumaguete. We are onboard the van that will take us to the port with the boat to take us to Bluewater Resort of Sumilon Island
At my left is the island of Cebu, while at my right is the island of Sumilon where the Bluewater Resort awaits us
Sumilon Island looks so near already yet still so far
We now see a glimpse of the Bluewater Resort. That concrete structure is actually the infinity pool. Take a look also at the distinctively different bluish waters
Blue flags fronting a great view of the blue waters
Epson banner at a path leading to the Bluewater Resort Pavilion
Epson Fusion 5 Banner at the Bluewater Resort Pavlion
You can't wait to dip into the Infinity pool
Alternately island-hopping from the Sumilon Island in Oslob, and the main Cebu island itself, members of the media were treated to three days of awesome water-based activities of which the highlight was the thrilling canyoning adventure along the Matutinao River that lasted for more than 4 hours of grueling trekking while mostly partially submerged underwater and doing a lot of jumping into deep waters.
Aquaholics, in partnership with Cyan (where Wolfgang is connected), has actually allocated 5 hours from the canyoning drop off point to the exit at glorious Kawasan Falls to accommodate every participant's pace. This is their first time time to handle a big group so they had to combine efforts to successfully guide us through the path. We had accredited guides all throughout the activity. The motto was safety first, and fun was at a very close second place.

I am just so disappointed I chose to miss this canyoning opportunity since I was worried I may have to sleep again for an entire day after the stressful activity. My Mount Pulag climb took a lot out of me that I slept an entire day to regain my strength. Actually, I was more worried that I may become a source of delay, or worst - a casualty, if I persist on joining something that should require some warm-up activities before pushing my body to such a strenuous activity.

They also told the story of how one participant at a different event had to be rescued by a helicopter, and some would keep saying that it's a "Buwis Buhay" activity so my nerves got the best of me. You know how it is for most bloggers, our major source of exercise is having our fingers type away on the keyboard, and that's it! I may just develop cramps along the way and wouldn't want to be the weakest link.

Before those stories, I was already convinced of joining the canyoning that I even submitted my shoe size for the booties to wear. But alas! I was just a nervous wreck after I've heard of the stories, plus the fact that I've learned some, who were also as chubby as me, opted not to join as well. Honestly, if everyone was joining, I wouldn't hesitate to join as well.

We did some trekking on our own to reach Kawasan Falls
Kawasan Falls
Four of us from our group of around 35 chose to go directly to the Kawasan Falls instead and just admire the glamorous falls while swimming along its fresh waters. We got to feast ahead on the sumptuous barbecue dishes of pork, chicken and squid, and enjoyed some fresh slices of mangoes. I spent it swimming a bit, then meeting new friends especially four foreign visitors from Germany, Chile and Israel.

Chicken , pork and squid barbecue feast
Rice cooked in a very special way
Mangoes so sweet
A festive feast but not everyone was talking due to exhaustion from the canyoning activity
Colorful umbrellas per table with the beautiful Kawasan Falls in the background
Being captured on video while naturally getting a massage from the Kawasan falls
Meet my new acquaintances from other mothers... I mean ...countries

On board a bamboo raft with the Kawasan Falls at the background
Toshimitsu Tanaka resting near the Kawasan Falls after a great barbecue lunch
Later on during another night activity we all had a laugh as the Epson group showed us some video segments of how our fellow media managed to conquer their fears during the canyoning. There was a lot of laughter when we saw how a few really struggled and made efforts to finally make it through the end of the challenging task.
Glamorous tents all set-up in one hot summer afternoon
But that was the second day already. The first was spent glamping (glamorous camping) near the shores of the Bluewater Resort. It was my first time to do such an activity but the terrible heat of the summer sun was just not cooperative. We could still feel the obnoxious heat coming from the electric fans flowing to our tents semi-furnished with amenities that you wouldn't find in a normal camp out.

Glamping is becoming a trending activity or most appropriately should be called a fad and an excuse to spend lesser compared to renting an air-conditioned room at the resort. We slept through the night at our respective tents, where I was joined at tent 3 by Ben (Gadgets magazine) and JP (HWM Magazine), both first-timers in Fusion. Surprisingly, I slept without experiencing any problems - never got to use the insect repellant lotion. I guess I'm just used to traveling already.

BTW, thanks to Epson for the white team Fusion shirt and other treats given to everyone of us. I'm sure they will all be very useful in our travels, and we'd always think of the Epson brand whenever we use it.

Half-naked men with bulging bellies at the glamping site
This side was terribly suffering from the heat since it was directly facing the sun
Some perks of being a member of the media #EpsonMediaAdventure #EpsonFusion
But Bluewater Resort of Sumilon Island was not a cheap getaway. I've learned that you spend at least P25k per person to stay there. It already includes the food, but the other expenditures for our activities off the island, including the transportation from one place to the next, was exclusive of the fees at the resort. This means Epson really spent a huge amount just to pamper us. 
The enchanting Tumalog Falls

Embracing the Tumalog Falls
Selfie at the Tumalog Falls
Toshimitsu Tanaka and Mayumi
Toshimitsu Tanaka
The first day also included visiting the Tumalog Falls. The waters beneath was shallow, but the falls were majestically wide and enchanting. It was totally Instagram-worthy, which is probably why they chose this as the site for a selfie challenge. 

Later that night, I was surprised to find out I won the selfie challenge. I'm not very fond of doing selfies because my face is not photogenic enough due to the many "moon craters" I have on my face caused by a very unfortunate event in my life, and considering I've turned like a "nognog" because of the constant exposure under the sun. I swear I'm like wearing a white shirt when I take off my shirt because of the uneven color of my body against my arms and face.

The Bluewater Resorts room amenities
The second night was now spent at our full-pledged rooms of the resort. The resort rooms were very spacious, and at first sight I knew it would be very comfortable. I was happy to finally rest my back in a "cooler" environment, and be able to have a hot shower early morning. One must not forget about the 1-hour full-body Swedish massage that soothed our year-long stressed body.

One of the open-air massage areas. You also have the option to have your massage at your own rooms if you don't want your butts to be seen
Swedish Massage oils and scents to treat a year-long stress brought about by work-related nuisances...hehehe
Special awards were given to notable publications including Wazzup Pilipinas as the Fastest Writer of Soft Releases. Melvin of got an award for being the very first to confirm joining the Fusion event, Nastasha of PDI brought home the award for her colleague who wrote the most endearing article about Epson's Gift of Brightness, Badong of Manila Bulletin got an award for having the most number of attendance in the Fusion events (I guess he was present at the very first and never missed any one), and Marianne of PhilStar brought home an award for something I can't remember right now.

KC of HWM was recognized for her great photo of the Tumalog Falls, and Bimbo of for that "moment" when he jumped into the waters reproduced in slo-mo video.

Among the lucky raffle winners who got to bring home certificates for A3 printers were Nicole of Speed and Kevin (always the lucky one) of Yugatech. I cannot recall the other winners right now.

Briefing before meeting the Whale Sharks. Thank you, Miss Philippines!
All ready with our life-vests to meet the whale sharks, otherwise known as "butandings"
Divided into two boats for an up-close encounter with the Butandings
A fisherman throws shrimps as feeds to the waters so the Butandings will come near
The third day was a bit sweet and tender, but a little concerning since we had a close encounter with some whale sharks, more popularly known to us as "butandings" and known in Cebu as "tukis". The experience was adorable as we got to see how domesticated the whale sharks are, but realizing the ones who went near our boats were the younger ones, and that they've turned into attractions like that in a zoo where animals have outgrown how it really is out there in the wild, they've practically turned into pets awaiting to be fed by the fishermen with shrimps and who knows what.

Some of us got to swim along with them, and had some photo ops, but no one was allowed to touch them for both our own good. We may rub off some human-carried virus to bring them harm, and their skin were just too rough to be touched, otherwise it will also hurt us. We were also not allowed to apply sunblock or any other lotion on our skins so we can prevent risking the health of the sea mammals.

If you think about it in another way, I guess there's some good in this activity because people get to appreciate the existence of this creature. The experience becomes more wondrous once you dive into those waters and see their entirety under the waters. They are so huge, so imagine what it is like if you've seen the adult-size whale sharks.

I leave you with more shots taken at the Bluewater Resorts of Sumilon Island. For more photos, be sure to watch for them soon at our Facebook fan page:

Sunrise at Bluewater Resorts, Sumilon Island. Too bad the clouds blocked the sun!
A few huts lined up along the shore. A great place to hang out and feel the breeze
Hanging out at the Lagoon. You can go kayaking here.
Kayaking anyone? But where's the paddles?
Last year's Fusion event was great, but this year's Fusion activities were awesome!!! I can't wait to see what they have in store for us next year! Knowing the Epson team in charge of the annual media appreciation activities, I'm betting my life it will be triple the awesomeness of this year's Fusion event. I promise not to skip any activities next year.

Thank you very much for including Wazzup Pilipinas again to this year's Fusion event. It is actually an honor being a part of this event as it is not everyday you get to mingle with top-notch members of the media from reputable publications. It is also not everyday that you can get to have selfies with the president of a big company.

So until next year's Fusion event, may we all see each other again for another "Everything is Awesome!" adventure with the Epson team. Mabuhay!

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