Saturday, May 12, 2007


The slogan mania for tourism in Southeast Asia started in 1997 when Thailand came up with "Amazing Thailand" to promote our lovely country and attract dollar spending tourists. It was one of the world’s most successful tourism campaigns which gave Thailand its first million visitor mark. Almost 10 years later, it’s still in use.

Neighboring countries soon followed and invented new and improved slogans in their sorry attempt to imitate Thailand, but in many cases the slogans themselves have proven somewhat ridiculous, even today!

What does Malaysia mean with their current slogan "Truly Asia?" Are they implying that the rest of us are somehow “not really” or less Asia? Or is this just to tease Singapore? Nevertheless, the slogan proved to be one heck of a success for them.

The Philippines went with "Philippines Wow" which said absolutely nothing about their country. WOW WHAT? A few more words won’t hurt. “Wow naman pare! Wow talaga!” LOL. I'm almost pretty sure the one who came up with it was holding a bong! -- the old "Pearl of the Orient" is one of the best I have ever heard. But Hong Kong started to use it in the late 80's and I'm not sure why the Philippines didn't say anything about it. It was an obvious robbery! "Emerald Islands of the Orient"? Hmmm...very Irish. They should snatch it back from Hong Kong! NOW!

My favorite weekend destination came up withUniquely Singapore. That lovely little island bullied by Malaysia. Hey! DON’T QUOTE ME ON THAT! It came from my friends. I’M quoting them. Anyway, Uniquely Singapore is the bomb! Nothing can beat that, I must say. So, way to go Singapore!

I noticed lately that ... ALL of our neighbors have already come up with their own slogans!... I thought it was just limited to a few. Wasn’t it just last year when Vietnam conducted a nationwide contest to come up with a slogan for luring tourists? As it turned out the winning entry is this – Vietnam, The Hidden Charm.

Ok, simple, rhyming and intriguing. But what’s the big idea with Laos – Jewel of the Mekong? How many people in the whole world know what the heck a Mekong is? I know what it is but do you? And that guy across the room? – I don’t think so.

I say it’s a sloppy job they did coming up with that. But hey! Still better than the “WOW”. (I’m am so dead to my Filipino readers) LOL. They should’ve opted to MY OWN slogan – Laos, The Enigma of Southeast Asia. Now there! That’s a slogan. Take that!

Indonesia - The Ultimate in Diversity... It sounds playing safe. 13,000 islands with almost equal amount of different cultures must be stressed to explain it. I always thought Indonesia is the land of brave warriors. Power, fire, water! This is what I envision when I think of Indonesia. They should’ve capitalized on it.

Brunei, the Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures. To be quite honest, I have seen their tourism website only TODAY, just before I wrote this. Not that I’m not interested but uuuhmmm…nothing, just forget it…ok, I’ll say it…It’s just that I always thought that Brunei is so rich, they don’t need any tourists at all! When I was in Bandar SB all I see is golden this and golden that. Huge palaces, splendid mosques… and whatever treasures they say was unexpected – must be oil, yeah?

Cambodia, Home of World Heritage. Hmmm…lame! How many World Heritage sites do they have? 2? 3? 69? How many? And the slogan sounds out of tune to me (if ever it is a song). Totally out of tune! Huh? WAIT! I get it!—it’s because the Angkor Wat WAS the first ever World Heritage site? OH YEAH! I get it now!...but still lame, lame, lame. But this slogan is never in their tourism official website. Who came up with it? Bring him to me NOW for some serious questioning! OOPS!-- I think that's a bad thing to say to a Cambodian (Pol Pot and all). Sorry :-(

Mystical Myanmar. Ok…cute. But I still prefer the name Burma. That’s all I can say.

Timor Leste-- Discover the World’s Newest Nation. Now that’s catchy! But how long can a new country stay new? 5 years? 10 years? Or until another country goes to war and declare itself independent? How long are they gonna capitalize on this slogan? They better have a back up.

So there, a round up of the slogans that lured tourists to our paradise. I really enjoyed it. I hope you did.

In addition, although these slogans play a great part in "baiting" efficient and effective tourism program wraps it all up. AND -- the safety reputation of course.

Do you know the slogan that sums it all up?

East Timor was obviously left out.

They should come up with the membership fee very soon.


P.S. Please note that starting tomorrow, Sofia Dansk would be posting entries on this blog. I'm flying to Brussels today -- lotsa activities; Pasar Malam Besar in Den Haag and of course, the annual, World's Most Annoying Song Contest... the Eurovision!!!


Catch y'all later! Take that!



Franx Budi said...

Hey nice blog my friend Iam from jakarta..would you like exchange link with me

Bjarne of Norway said...

This post is very you Pisanu. I would like to see more posts like his. Sofia, on the other hand, is not too keen on blogging.

Sofia for BiSEAN said...

HEJ!!! I HEARD THAT! I'm pretty sure all you want to see on this blog are naked Eurasians. Admit it! LOL. Ok, Bjarne, I'll post whatever River has on his drafts. You're such a girlie. LOL.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry.. I don't know where you found the Cambodian promotion slogan. Someone might have just come up with that. FYI, the official one is "Cambodia: A World of Treasures."

And to answer your question, we do have our unique treasures: nice people, rich culture and history, great food, unspoilt beaches and nature and a lot more. Cambodia doesn't have just Angkor Wat.

The Cambodian word for Hello is Suasdei, if you don't know. I would appreciate it if you could add it to your set of Southeast Asian greetings above.

My sincere compliment for your blog too. It's of course one of the most interesting ones on SE Asia I've read.



Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Thanks Mongkol for the input.

This article is written in the "Slogan Mania" context in the late 1990s. The latest ones are specified. "A World of Treasures" is realtively new and was not out yet in the 1990s.

I'm a frequent visitor of Phnom Penh. One of the King's counsin was my school mate in Europe. So, I don't write much about Cambodia because I don't want to offend them (bcoz of the way I write). :-)

Thanks dude for the input! Cool!

Mihael Keehl said...

Hey! It just came to me that to non-Filipinos WOW is a jargon. Well we say 'wow' every time we see a great scenery or a landmark or anything spectacular. So, Wowphilippines may be justified. For me, Pearl of the Orient should be the right one. It's even on the National Anthem! Rizal was the one who made that slogan for the Philippines however, I think HongKong is much more worthy of that with all those shinning things and all; being round...yeah that's why... Great blog by the way!

riain said...

@ Mihael- Do you know why the Philippines was called Pearl of the Orient? Because the islands were said to look like a broken strand of pearls. HK so not deserve to be called as such. Hehehe.

Actually, I like the WOWPhilippines and its tagline. "More Than The Usual." And I prefer "Uniquely Singapore" over "Amazing Thailand" and "Malaysia.Truly Asia". The Singapore one sounds very classy and elegant. :)

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

@ RIAIN...Wow! Thanks for all the comments dude! We appreciate inputs, really. Somehow a lot of people don't know how to react to our posts although thousands come here everyday. You're cool! AND SMART! =)

riain said...

@ pisanu

aww shucks, - blush - , you charmer you. LOL

Carlos Javier said...

So this is the blog... Heheh. Well, I think it doesn't read like you really dissed the slogans. lol.

When I first saw "Wow Philippines" I was like, "Cool, they finally made an ad!" That was enough for me, that they actually thought of a slogan! I am loath to admit this, but the handling of tourism here in the Philippines has been so half-assed for a long time; we could use tips in marketing from our neighbors.

All the ASEAN slogans I've seen and heard (some are sung on TV) are cool. Well, except I just wish Indonesia would get another song for the "Unity in diversity" campaign. I dunno, the current one makes me wince. =)

riain said...

I just saw an Philippine tourism ad on TV this afternoon. It says, Philippines, Your Home in Asia.

Anonymous said...

We do have another name for our country (Philiipines) - we call it a Wealth of Wonders...WOW Philippines.

MischMensch said...

Hmmm well Malaysia came out with Malaysia Truly Asia cos well I guess it wants to say that you can find almost the whole of Asia in Malaysia in terms of people, culture, places and things like that. It is also to tease Singapore a little bit but we are in fact more Asianized than Singapore cos Singapore lend to lean more to the Americans or so, especially with those pretentious accent in their English...

Anonymous said...

I'm from the Philippines and personally, I don't like the tourism campaign in the country right now. There's nothing special about it, I think.

I saw some Philippine tourism ads from the 70s and I think they were much better than what's being shown these days.

And hell yeah, I agree we should get our Pearl of the Orient title back!

Filipinayzd said...

"Truly Asia" because Malaysia is the melting pot of China's, India's and SEA islander's culture. What about their own culture? Indonesia and Philippines have which is diverse.

Just wordering why this ASEAN blog didn't post something about ASEAN's anniversary today, August 8, 2008. ;P

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

@ Filipinayzd...oh, it's because we were told that the ASEAN will have its own blog soon (bywhich we were invited to start but we declined).

BISEAN is about the whole Southeast Asia -- 11 of us. The ASEAN only has 10.*wink*

Anonymous said...

After reading this blog I would really want to disagreed with some of what you said about Philippines'Slogan


It's actually a creative slogan. WOW is seen as an ancronym standing for many words such as

Warm Over Winter
Wild Over Water
Wander Over Wrecks
Watch Our Whales
Wonderfully Original Waterways
World Of Weddings
Wear our Wares
Wander Our Wonders
Walk Our Walls
Wild Over Wheels
Workers Of Worth
Wacko Over Wildlife

WOW perfectly describe Philippines. A great tourist destination.

It also has a few sub slogan

Philippine : More than the usual

Lastly, I would agree with you with the Pearl of the Orient Sea part.

bayan-ni-juan said...

anonymous on top

Yeah you're right too.
Philippines have too many wonders to put in a slogan therefore its best to make it WOWpHilipines simple yet very alluring...

malayan elephant said...

u cannot see any place in this world that many religeous and ethnic stay together in one country with PEACEFUL!
Such as malay(of course),chinese,Indians,including the Chitty people,(Dayak, Iban, Kayan, Kenyah, Murut, Lun Bawang, Kelabit,melanau,penan, and Bidayuh=sabah and sarawak),orang asli,Malayalis, Punjabis,Gujaratis,sikh,
arabians,siamese,indonesia, Europeans,Eurasians,Nyonya-Baba cuisine which is a mixture of Chinese (mostly southern Hokkien or Fujian),,portugues,
kuijau,murut,rungus,tangara,Malaysian Jews,Cambodians and Vietnamese (settled in Malaysia as Vietnam War refugees.)and many more.
that makes MALAYSIA TRULY ASIA,that makes we diffrent with SINGAPORE and REMEMBER,Singapore joined to form Malaysia on 16 September 1963and the expulsion of Singapore on 9 August 1965,so what the problem with u all???
u all just jealous with malaysia with the peaceful country and rich of ethnic,languages,relegion...

MALAYSIA TRULY ASIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
if u read this that means MALAYSIA

Sean Carlos said...

This blog is really informative.
You know what also try posting commercials from various countries in Southeast Asia on how they promote their countries to attract travellers.

for the meantime this is the commercial ad of my country at its finest with its slogan "WOWPhilippines More than the Usual"

(We might not have the huge budget like Thailand and Singapore in promoting tourism, I believe this video is enough to catch the world's attention)

Rothima said...


Talking about Tourism campaign from ASEAN conutries, u seemed to be offensive with Cambodia. I don't know you are a kind Thai that HATE Cambodia or not. But in peace, I think being fair is better. Oh one think u should update ur blog. Cambodia ran a new tourism campaign in 2008 with a slogan of "Cambodia, Kingdom of Wonder" where Malaysia had done "Malaysia, Wonder of Asia".

See this link:

Anonymous said...

the suit tagline for philippines is not wow philippines. its not describing enough. i think the suit one is:

Philippines- The Jipney's Islands
problem settle!

Anonymous said...

Any updates about the 10 ASEAN countries? i think there have been lots of changes for the past two years since the postings. i would appreciate new info. Great blog... We really are the same though we are different^-^ I wish the ASEAN community in 2015 becomes a reality. though it is in the making, our differences and disinterest to living together in harmony makes this dream true only when we sleep. It was easy for the EU to come together but for ASEANS like us it looks like we need twice the effort. my european friends call this but a futile try... I positively believe however that if this community be born, we would no longer be westernized but ASEANIZED - with our culture preserved and identity as aseans respected^-^

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

FYI. WOW from WOWphilippines actually stands for Wealth Of Wonders.

Anonymous said...

WOW they dont use the Pilipinas kay Ganda! sloga...

Anonymous said...

hmmm i am quite disagreed with your a student of visual communication designer.i know that not easy to create a slogan. i know before they create it, they already research about every country first.
and it don't need to describe what in the slogan is, like example :"WOW Philippines" that you mentioned before. you don't have to describe it what wow? cause if it's too long everyone won't remember it. describe of what is wow is already on their brochures.and i think that's creative idea that Philippines used.everyone will shout "wow" to amazing thingy.

Related Posts with Thumbnails