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gear review

Aquamundo Diving Mask and Snorkel

Aug 16, 2010

Aquamundo Diving Mask and Snorkel

Overall Rating: star star star star star
(5 out of 5 stars as of Aug 16, 2010 - this may change as I continue to use it)

Maker: Aquamundo
Tagline: Engineered for Water
Model: Nero Mask with EZ Double Purge Snorkel
MSRP: Mask PhP1,800.00; Snorkel PhP950
Date Acquired: July 26, 2010

  • Makati Head Office - G/F Vernida 1 Bldg., 120 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati, Philippines 1229. Telefax: +632-817-2782
  • Makati - G/F Robelle Hotel, 877 JP Rizal St., Poblacion, Makati, Philippines 1210. Tel: +632-890-2782
  • Cebu - Lucky Plaza Bldg., Quano Avenue, North Reclamation Area, Subangdaku, Mandaue City, Cebu. Telefax: (032) 505-2782

Product Info: (company claim)
  • The Nero mask is a classic low profile double lens mask. It is carefully designed for small framed faces. With a hypoallergenic silicone skirt, it ensures a comfortable fit and a water tight seal at the same time. It comes in an all black color. According to the owner, Ralph, the Nero is well suited for free diving as well.
  • EZ Double Purge snorkel has a large diameter bore with 2 silicone purge valve for easy clearing. Oval top is streamlined, minimizing water resistance.

Buying Local
As a general rule, I support a local brand. It's one of my little contribution to the nation-building process. But my dilemma in buying local is always the integrity. Example - honey. I love honey and I use a lot of it. But if I buy local honey at the market, I don't know how much of that honey is sugar. Without that assurance, I default to buying imported. Sigh!

Asian Template
Aquamundo is a local brand using international quality standards in their product mix - scuba, swim, surf. Before making this purchase, I've already heard positive things about the brand, one of which is that the shape and size of their dive products are designed to conform to the Asian template. I wish I asked Ralph for confirmation. How was design tweaked to accommodate this template? Smaller nose and flatter face frame on the mask?

Good Word of Mouth
Another factor for this purchase comes from 3 upstanding guys in the local scuba diving world who have good things to say about the brand and the man behind the brand (Ralph Espino) - Louie Mencias, Boy Siojo and Rene Abesamis. To me, that was the clincher. Mares, my brand of choice will just have to step aside for now.

   Ralph EspinoI subscribe to the North American way of honoring product warranties. If an Aquamundo product fails under normal use within its warranty period, we repair or replace the product without making the customer go through the eye of the needle. I'm not selling a multi-national brand. Aquamundo is is MY brand and I stand behind it.

-- Ralph BH Espino
    Founder and President

After-Sales Customer Service: (product warranties, etc.) star star star star star
I remember a Black & Decker episode when I was still living in New York. My flat iron had a loose screw 8 months into my use. I brought it to the authorized service center to tighten the screw as it needed a special tool. Upon learning that my product was still under warranty, the guy behind the counter replaced my unit with a new one, still in the box without me even asking for it. That moment was epiphany. To this date, I still talk about that episode and have benchmarked it as the pinnacle of customer service. Needless to say, I buy Black & Decker to the exclusion of all competing brands.

In sharp contrast, my Olympus 1030 underwater digicam purchased from ElectroWorld in Trinoma, failed and took water in, within its warranty period. ElectroWorld lied, delayed and deceived to avoid honoring the warranty. They relented at the hearing with the Department of Trade and Industry when their fraudulent methods were exposed. Sadly, this is more the norm in the Philippines. You won't know how rogue a vendor is until you claim warranty. Needless to say, I will never buy an Olympus again and I will never buy anything from ElectroWorld again.

This was the issue I raised with Ralph Espino. On paper, the warranty looks good. But will it be honored? Or will the hapless consumer run the gauntlet before he gets what is owed him in the first place? What Ralph said was music to my ears (see the quoted section). I asked him if I can post it. Without hesitation and in front of a colleague, he said YES! There you have it!

Construction: (materials used and craftsmanship) star star star star star
Closer scrutiny on the mask and snorkel reveal attention to details and fine craftsmanship. I would not be able to distinguish it with the more popular and more expensive multi-national brands. Material is of high quality silicone. There is nothing sloppy about how this product was manufactured.

Putting it to the TEST (reliability and performance)
  1. Dive 1: Mainit Marine Reserve star star star star star
    (Aug 16, 2010) The recent heavy rains made it difficult to go out and dive. Even though the sun was out, the water remained rusty. Visibility was poor with a reddish brown coloration going down 2 feet from the surface. The southbound current was also strong. It felt eerie. I had to abort the dive but not without testing the mask and snorkel first. Upon fitting the mask, I felt more rubber hugging my face. It was a good comfortable fit. I managed to go down to about 20 feet just to test the water-tightness of the mask. The integrity was there. It was also easy to equalize with the relatively small lens allowing space for my fingers to pinch my nose. On the surface, the big bore double purge snorkel cleared the airway with a single blow. It was a short dive but it gave me increased confidence about continued use of the mask and snorkel. For now, I give it 5 stars. This may change as I continue to use this product. Keep coming back to this article (bookmark it!) as I will update the rating with every dive.

--- TheLoneRider

Facebook Users
Aug 16, 2010

Reader Comments:

Ralph EspinoRalph Espino
(Aug 19, 2010) Thanks for the great write up you made on Aquamundo, it made my day! If you need any equipment in the future, please do contact me. Hope to see you again soon when you visit Manila. Best regards.

Louie MenciasLouie Mencias
(Aug 17, 2010) I use the Nero mask and ez purge snorkel. I totally agree with your 5 star rating. I have been using it, I am very happy with it and will continue to recommend it. As a Filipino brand, we can be proud of this product. As for after sales service and warranty, you can depend on Aquamundo and the man behind it, Ralph Espino.

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