Imagine running like mad, huffing and puffing along the Central Business District of Singapore! On June 14 – June 16, I was in Singapore as a media guest for the Nokia Connection 2009. I thought the event would involve a lot of press conferences, but it turns out that the Ovi Adventure on June 16 was part of our activities. Which was why I was running like a raving lunatic all over Singapore last week. I exaggerate but really, I didn’t expect the Ovi Adventure to demand a lot of physical activity and speed from me. Which is not to say that it wasn’t fun – it really was quite the adventure, and what added to it was the little surprises that unfolded along the way.
Standing Left to right: Michelle Callanta (Gadgets Magazine), Jacs Sampayan (Metro Magazine), me for techiegadgets.com, Alexei Villaraza (Manila Bulletin), Jayvee Fernandez (AbuggedLife.com), Manny de los Reyes (Philippine Star/Speed Magazine), Lawrence Agacaoili (Manila Standard Today), Nikka Abbes (Corporate Communications Manager, Nokia) and Charles Buban (Philippine Daily Inquirer)
The day before, I told Nokia Philippines General Manager William Hamilton-Whyte that I joined a similar Amazing Race-type contest in Island Cove and proudly added that my team garnered third place despite breaking my ankle and having leg surgery four years ago. Ever since the surgery, blood flow to the ankle hasn’t been that great, and doctors warned me against straining it or doing strenuous physical activity that will require its movement. Three days after the Ovi Adventure my ankle was so swollen, I couldn’t leave the house. But thanks to bed rest and an ice pack, I’m now up and about. Here’s how the Ovi Adventure played out:
At the VIP room of the Swissotel Stamford, 11 teams from countries like Australia, Malaysia, Emerging Asia (Bangladesh), Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines were formed by the organizers, with the Philippine media delegation getting divided into two teams. Mine was Team 1. Each team assigned a leader who was in charge of our supplies. We got a backpack containing 3 umbrellas, water supplies, Nokia N97 and a Nokia N86 8MP.
Along with my team is Sumire, Forum Nokia to assist us but she was not allowed to handle our Nokia phones. Nikka joined the first half of the race with us and then caught up with Team 2. The first three teams that clock the shortest time WINS. I wanted my team to win a place, of course! I was excited to start this amazing type of race.
So what was our first mission?
Mission 1– Create an Ovi Account
1. Using your N97, access www.ovi.com.
2. Follow instructions to set up an OVI account.
3. Your mobile number can be found at the back of the phone.
4. Once the account is set-up successfully, an SMS will be sent shortly.
Show the SMS to the Game Master in the VIP Lounge A to get your next clue.
Smile and be polite to the Game Master for a tip on how to use your next clue.
(We were allowed to call a hotline if we encountered problems but that will add 1 minute to our final time)
Second Mission – Entertainment Made Easy
To give you a little perspective of our location, the Swissotel Stamford hotel is located at the Central Business District of Singapore. I took this photo from the 17th floor of my hotel room shortly before the Ovi Adventure.
To the right of the hotel, you can view the Esplanade.
With that perspective, our next clue was this:
Clue: for some entertainment, catch a movie at the nearest cinema!
1. Time to whip up your Nokia N97
Go to the Ovi store and download the Golden Village widget. To download, you need to sign in using your Ovi account
2. Using the Golden Village widget, locate GV Marina and make your way there by foot.
3. Using the Golden Village Widget, search for the showtimes of “Ghost of Girlfriends Past” for today.
4. To get your clue, go to the Clue Master standing near the Ticket Office and show him the showtimes in your Nokia N97.
As our team leader Manny fiddled with the N97, the rest of our team started to run to the Marina Square which was right across the hotel (see perspective above). It seemed near but it is a good 10 minute run. I could feel my heart pounding like crazy and my head hurting from the burst of speed. We knew we had to use the overpass to cross towards Marina but took the risk and crossed illegally. Well, we saw someone cross in front of us so we threw caution to the wind. I was slow compared to my team mates but I managed to stay within 15 meters away from them. I just couldn’t catch up. Looks like our risk-taking paid off because we were the first team to arrive.
Mission 3 Share your Favorite Destination
1. Find your way to one of Singapore’s most interesting landmarks – Esplanades Theaters by the bay.
2. Head to the outdoor amphitheater and look out for the Singapore icon – The Merlion a beautiful hybrid of Lion and fish, it was built in 1972 and stands a strong 8 meter structure located at the mouth of the Singapore river.
3. From the Ampitheatre, use your Nokia N86 8MP to take a creatively zany picture with at least 4 group members and the Merlion as a keepsake from your visit in Singapore.
Creativity earns you a deduction in time.
OK- no time added or deducted
Good- 1 minute deducted from final time
Very Good- 2 minutes deducted from Final time
We were surprised to see the Australian team ahead of us. Later we found out that they used the tunnel which made it faster for them to reach the Esplanade. We decided to form the word N-O-K-I-A and this was the result.
(Wow, the photo quality of the N86 is amazing. I downloaded this photo after the adventure. You will see where I downloaded it from.)
But we weren’t done yet – there was one more thing left to do.
4. Share your photo online by uploading it onto OVI Share, the premier Ovi adventure channel. A username and password were provided for http://share.ovi.com/users/ovi_adventure
Alexei tried to upload the photo to the Ovi Channel but encountered technical difficulties in the upload. This needed to be done before we could proceed to the next step.
5. To get your next clue, go to the Clue master standing near the Courtesy Lion about 200 meters from the outdoor ampitheatre and show him the photo on Ovi Adventure channel from the Nokia 86 8MP
We stand by the Courtesy Lion as we waited in vain for our photo to be uploaded.
And here is the wacky Team 2 composed of Jayvee, Michelle, Lawrence and Charles. Funny photo! You can view the rest of the photos in this Ovi Adventure channel
So off with our fourth Mission.
Mission 4 Get Hot News while You Cool Off
1. You will find S$40 and some drink coupons in your envelope. Take a taxi to Jones the Grocer
Address: Block 9, Dempsey Road, Dempsey Hill #01-12. Note: taxis in Singapore can take only 4 passengers at a time, so our team had to split up and take two cabs.
I was in a cab with Sumire and was left holding the N97. I took this opportunity to login to Facebook and typed out “In a cab waiting for my next stop at Dempsey hill for an amazing race. Hope my team wins a place!”
At long last, we reached Jones the Grocer.
Our next step was:
2. Take a cool break at Jones the Grocer by redeeming the vouchers for a cup of iced latte or iced berries each.
What a cool break indeed. By this time, I was sweating like anything already. I chose an iced latte to keep me perky for the rest of the race.
3. What better way to enjoy your beverage than to catch up on the latest news. At the bottom of your cups, you will find the logo of a news widget. Using the Nokia N97, add the widget to your home screen and check out the latest headline. (Yes the Nokia N97 has a customizable homescreen)
- From the Home screen: click options
- click Edit Content
- Click on the blank space (for widgets or apps)
- Click Add Content
- Select AP News
- Click on Map Icons on your device
- Find your position on the map and click “Save”
- Explore nearby restaurants and search for Au Petit Salut/ Harding Road
- You can plot your walk route from your position to Au Petit Salit
- Let Nokia Maps guide you there
4. To show your next clue, show the Clue Master the latest headlines on your Nokia N97.
But that before getting our next clue, we needed to solve a mystery task involving exponential equation.
The Mystery Task
1. Go to Ovi Store.
2. Go to Application, find the Nokia Handwriting Calculator and download it.
3. Click on Launch and work out this questionL
5^2 x 6^3=?
4. Give your answer to the Clue master from your N97 and get your bonus points for the correct answer.
Bonus points: 2 minutes deducted from the final times.
Jacs solved the equation using a ballpen as a stylus since the N97 didn’t have stylus pen with it.
Mission 5 – Lunching with Friends? Let Nokia Maps show you the way.
Fancy a French Restaurant for lunch? Find your way to Au Petit Salut where a sumptuous lunch awaits you.
1. Use your Nokia N86 8MP and find your way to Au Petit Salut, a short distance away, using Nokia Maps
And down the road we hiked towards Au Petit Salud. My feet and legs were getting tired already that I could barely run. Jacs looks back at me and I tell the team to just run ahead of me.
I finally caught up with them and with my last ounce of energy left, I run as fast as I could but took this photo first.
It is our final stop. Guess what? My Team won THIRD PLACE at 1 hour and 7 minutes. Australia won first place while Malaysia got second place.
A glass of cold water is handed out to us and all we could do was sigh with relief. Good thing the clouds covered the sun or we would have been more exhausted.
Finally we had that sumptuous lunch with the rest of the Philippine team.
Despite my swollen ankle which I nursed for three days, I enjoyed this Ovi Adventure very much. I learned so much of myself that I could hurdle challenges beyond my imagination. It really pushed me to be competitive despite my physical handicap. What fascinated me the most is that the “amazing race” involved the use of mobile technology. My hands-on experience with the Nokia N97 gave me the opportunity to check out its amazing features at work like tilting 3.5in touch screen, qwerty keyboard and a fully customisable home screen and the range of applications via Nokia’s Ovi store. And after spending just an hour using the Nokia N97, I would definitely want it to replace my iPhone (my main phone) once Globe gives me a good deal for their Loyalty Rewards program.
I surely had the time of my life.
Oh, and the prize a Nokia Bluetooth Headset (BH-800)
The Nokia BH-800 is a tiny little headset that looks like a piece of candy, measuring only 1.6 by 0.7 by 0.35 inches and weighing an airy 0.3 ounce. Because it’s so cute, it’s not obvious to when I wear it.