A look into October Eighty Publication’s Tsuper and Roam Travel Magazines

October 80s Tsuper and Roam Travel Magazine
October 80s Tsuper and Roam

There’s a slew of local travel magazines now at the store shelves vying for your attention. It’s no secret that this is the best time to travel. With cheap airfares and transport discounts, more than 8 publications are there to get a sice of your market to offer suggestions and features on travel destinations. Honestly, I’ve seen travel magazines come and go or replaced by new. I view travel magazines mainly for their value on a travel. Will it help me discover new destinations, get me there and give useful advice?

I was able to get a hand on a couple of new travel magazines from this young publication on the block October Eighty Publication. Let’s take a look at their title’s Tsuper and Roam.

Boracay Map Spread from Tsuper V2
Boracay Map Spread from Tsuper V2
Tsuper magazine spread
Tsuper magazine spread

Tsuper V2: Boracay Beyond the Bliss

Tsuper is actually a play on words “Travel” and “Super”. Spanning 135+ pages, the magazine is actually divided into two sections as well and you could also notice this on the use of paper. The T-Chronicles showcases facets of a featured destination and on this issue they focused on Boracay. The Superworld is the more high-end feature on architectural, futrue travel destinations and lifestyle trends.

Design
The magazine has a square dimension larger than your average magazine. Its spreads out well when it’s open. I must admit, at first look, the magazine can pique your interest. It has a very good design and layout. Easy on the eyes and used typefaces are easy to read. I even have to applaud them on an the Boracay Map they made. Very useful The only problem I have is the use of two types of paper.

Fashio spread for Tsuper
Fashion spread for Tsuper

Content
The articles on the main feature of Boracay has some interesting moments. I liked how they touched upon the indigenous Atis of the island, the Bom Bom culture, Nenette Graf’s environmental cause, the party scene, biking and the surrounding islands. Some articles are well written some are mediocre like I’m reading a manual but the topics touched are interesting. Definitely delivering something more than the usual Boracay articles on the beaches, food and resorts but more on the people and their personal stories. My complain here is that going towards the middle, the images doesn’t really coincide with the articles. Say Boracay on a Bike, doesn’t even show photos of actual biking on Boracay. I remember reading a similar article on Cebu Smile Magazine where it actually showed what its like to bike around Boracay.

Low resolution being blown up
Low resolution being blown up also suffers from chromatic aberrations


Photography

Images capture the reader’s attention, that’s why good photography in a publication is quite essential. The images here on this issue are not bad but not spectacular either. I think it has to do partly with the paper they use. The non-gloss paper they used actually washes out the colors making all the shadow details look muddy. It’s not good for photographs. And when they did use the glossy paper on the Superworld section, it showed how low quality some of their photos are. I also noticed this before on their first issue where they blowed up some images but it turned out blurred and almost pixelized. It’s disappointing that on this issue again there was this architectural shot where the chromatic aberrations and highlight blow outs were very apparent. The art director could have cleaned the image up first or not have blowned it up on that size. I hope they use the glossy paper throughout and be more meticulous in details.

Value
The magazine retails for P350 and runs on a quarterly basis. For this issue if you are looking more into Boracay and yearning to discover what’s more in the island, there is definitely some interesting reads here. I’m having trouble on where to place this magazine though since its not really cheap but the contents are not all high end travel like say TraveLife which is a lot cheaper.

Roam Magazine Feature story spread
Roam Magazine Feature story spread

Just Go Roam: The Road Trip Issue

When I got the first issue of Roam, it reminded me a lot of the now defunct travel magazine “Go! Just Travel” The design, content and treatment is definitely geared towards the young and hip travelers belonging more so to the MTV Generation. On it’s second issue, they featured road trips, mainly around Luzon and the Indochina regions.

Content can be a challenge to read
Content can be a challenge to read

Design
The dimensions is like any other magazine which is good since it’s easy to take anywhere. The design is definitely grunge and more graphical than photographic. It’s very different which would surely appeal to artsy fancy people but the challenge of this magazine is readablitity. There are portions which text are obscured by the background which can be hard to read. It’s visually engaging but I think pulling back a little to give space would also help a bit. Also the treatment of a text spread then a photo spread is ok but the downside is it doesn’t have captions. Captions are very important that’s why when I was reading through the text I try to find out from the photos which is which. Never under estimate the value of a good caption in a photo.

Content
It’s road trip issue and the were laid out in a way they have traveled. Treat it as an itinerary with road trip stories from day to day written on a view point of different people who are on the same trip. The young voice traveler is there. There are some favorite writing styles there for me but there are also some that I feel like I’m reading a blog. Using phrases like “hehehe” or “haha” on a magazine article is immature. Aside from that there are interesting tips for DIY trips, and perspectives on Travel and Documentary photography. It’s a jam packed issue. Maybe too jam packed.

Indochina Spread. Photos without captions
Indochina Spread. Photos without captions


Photography

Roam also uses the same non-gloss type of paper Tsuper uses so it suffers a bit from the washed out colors and muddy shadow details only distracted by the bright graphics on each page. Photography here leans on the popular lomo and art photography and travel snaps. There are really good ones featured from JakeVersoza’s muted photographs to the images at the Travel and Documentary article.

Value
Roam would really be appealing to the young and adventurous travelers with it’s format. It knows it’s target market very well and for P150 per issue, it’s pretty crammed with stuff to read and look through.

6 Comments

  1. I noticed a lot of low-res photos in Tsuper mag (not just the architectural shot) yesterday when you showed it to me. I believe Tsuper mag is like a “komiks” trying to be a coffee table book 😀

  2. I don’t know how they will survive… it looks like they have a lot of money to burn. It seems that most of the local travel (and non-travel) magazines here (not only Roam and Tsuper) are cooking the same old subjects over and over again… Boracay, Vigan, Sagada, Baguio, Bohol, etc. Can they not write about hidden gems in the Philippines and abroad? Talk about subjects that the “average” traveller does not know about. The first issue of Roam was promising… actually I liked 50% of the articles. The second issue was disappointing… change of paper, change of concept…the first issue was like a book (which I will definitely keep on my bookshelves)… the second looks like a cheap magazine that I even did not purchase… Who likes to be downgraded…?
    I prefer by far Asian Traveler (150 pesos) which is digging a bit deeper than the obvious or most issues of Rogue (180 pesos). Rogue’s issue about Negros was outstanding. Breathtaking photography, fantastic design, nice paper and printing and well written articles. I learned a lot of background information about Negros that cannot be found in any guide (about architecture, people, food, artists, gossips and local politics).

  3. dear lantaw. please expound.

  4. I wrote about the first Roam:

    Well, I don’t understand which “public/readership” this magazine is targeting.

    It looks like it is targeting foreigners/balikbayans more than the Filipinos (but since it is sold in the Philippines this can’t be the target public).
    If the target group is the young, active, traveling Filipinos you will need to come up with some stronger (less known) stories. I think you should surprise your readers. I think the whole concept should be more “edgy”.
    Don’t get me wrong. I know it is a first issue but for my taste it is “too bland”. Too much of what already exists. You should WOW us!
    Example: Manila 101 – interesting info ONLY for the first time visitor.
    Same with “Living it up in the metro”. If you live here, you know all that stuff! 😉
    I really liked Intramuros & Quiapo for the strong pictures. I enjoyed the Balut story also mainly because of the pictures. But honestly those topics are not very “new” nor original.
    Siquior: it just happens that I know the island quite well. Could have been a much stronger story (see the kind that you can read in Geographic Magazine).

    Strong points: nice size, 150 pesos is the right price, I like the paper.

    What I enjoyed:
    Luneta photographers + Seeing the light. (Excellent)
    Tondo: a bit short on pictures. It leaves me craving for more.
    Between love and hate: looks like advertisement BUT it is nicely done. I like the whole atmosphere.
    Party animals: good article and illustrations.
    Rick Manzano: nice. I like what he is doing. If you continue this series make sure you find people with a strong blog/message.
    Calendar: could be interesting if you can include some more events. Again I want info that is worth my money.

    What I really disliked:
    Through the lens: it makes me think of Manila Bulletin’s Picture Perfect. Same old bla bla and page filling text: quote “his photographs does not only speak a thousand words, each speaks a million”. Quite a cliché if you ask me.
    I believe there are some excellent world recognized contemporary photographers with a strong story to tell.
    Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Harvey Tapan. On the contrary. I just think the text is lousy and the article doesn’t give him the credit he deserves.
    And who really cares about who fell in love in Santorini?
    Just go (24) is a missed opportunity. Good idea but I have the feeling those guys wasted quite a lot of their time.
    I grade Roam magazine : 7/10.

    A nice beginning but please guys show us that you have guts! 😉

    Might sound a bit harsh but I want to be honest.

    I really looked forward to read Roam 2… but was disappointed.

  5. I like the size and format of Tsuper but I find the articles bland. I agree with Sidney, maybe much of the info was meant for first time travelers.

    On the other hand Roam has its share of interesting stories but the layout can be a challenge to read. Are they targeting a younger market with 20/20 vision? Maybe.

    One thing I noted about both publications: the use of non-glossy paper. IMHO, that’s the reason why most of the photos look flat (intentional or not, they’re not particularly impressive). I also noticed, in the case of Tsuper, the use of photos with chromatic aberrations, etc. Not to be technical about it but for the price one has to pay (P350), one really expects a lot more quality.

    It took Roam a year to come up with a second issue and I thought, for the time I waited, it would bowl us over with the second offering. But it did not. But there’s a lot of room for improvement. I just hope that it wouldn’t take another year for the third issue to come out.


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