March 15, 2021
To: Balesin Members and Friends
All of a sudden, it is October, and the big holidays such as Halloween, Christmas and New Year are just around the corner.
I spent the entire last week at Balesin, which gave me an opportunity to discuss in detail various operational procedures and policies with our management staff there.
Perhaps it is just my good luck but I had wonderful weather the entire week with the sun shining brightly during the day and the rains coming at night to keep our beloved Balesin green. Our water storage ponds are now at 75,000 cubic meters from 40,000 cubic meters two weeks ago. Based on our average water consumption of 500 cubic meters per day, we have enough water capacity for the next five months, even if we have no more rain.
Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC)
The most important news I must report to you is that we have now completed all of the regulatory hurdles for us to get our AOC permit. The AOC means that we can have regularly scheduled flights during the mornings (but not during the afternoon curfews), and of course also the evening flights. Thus, we can have assured flight schedules for both mornings and evenings, and our members can rely on these flights and not be subject to last-minute changes that CAAP imposes. We are aware that the flight schedules and the attendant uncertainties in the past have been a big problem for our members and their guests. Thus, unless there are further unforeseen delays (one can never tell), we should have our AOC license within this month of October.
Alphaland’s Clark Hangar
As you know from my previous updates, we were fortunate to get a long-term lease a year ago on the last available hangar at Clark. We have now completed refurbishing it and it is done to a very high standard, equal to that of our Lounge at NAIA, and actually double the size. We have now selected the Resident Manager for the Clark Lounge and by next week, those of you who prefer to fly from Clark will no longer have to use the usual Clark public facilities, but can utilize our own Lounge where our own airplanes will pick you up.
Clark Lounge – Painting of Exterior Wall and Livery
Arrival Lounge Area
Departure Lounge Area
The Balesin Private Villa
It is a month now since we opened the 8-suite Private Villa at Balesin. There have been three groups who have stayed there, and are all praises about it. My daughter, Michelle, was at Balesin yesterday and visited the Private Villa and wrote me a text “It’s stunning.” In addition to the 8-suite Private Villa (selling price, Php275 million), we are building two more which should be ready for occupancy before the Christmas holidays: a 6-bedroom Private Villa on 4,000 square meters of land (selling price, Php200 million); and a 4-bedroom Private Villa on 2,000 square meters of land (selling price, Php150 million). Many have actually commented that our prices are a bargain considering that the built up areas, not even considering the price of land, average only about Php65,000 per square meter.
The Private Villas will be the only villas that we will build in Balesin that will be available for sale to members. There have been about a dozen indications of interest in acquiring, one of which is the Seven-Star Yacht Club of Shenzhen of China. Their entire board spent a weekend at the 8-suite bedroom Private Villa and while they remain interested in it, they have opted to purchase a 6,000 square meter lot not far from the existing Private Villa where they stayed, but further south.
Actually what they want to do is to design a “modern Chinese style” 8-suite Private Villa, but with the living areas principally equipped as a restaurant with Chinese furniture and décor from China, seating about 200 people which we can easily do. They basically plan to have a Chinese restaurant which would be open to all Balesin members and guests and they plan to send two chefs from Hong Kong to man a greatly expanded Chinese kitchen. The plans are now being drawn up by a world famous architect from Beijing whose name I cannot pronounce and have forgotten.
Thus, in answer to the long-standing clamor of our members, we may finally soon see a Chinese restaurant, operated by the Seven-Star Yacht Club at Balesin. I have made it clear to them that Rico Sison and I have to approve the design of the Chinese Restaurant, whose architect is supposed to visit Balesin any day now, before we give the go-signal for it. We just don’t want it to stick out as a sore thumb and clash with the beauty of our beloved Balesin.
To view the Private Villa weblink, please click the following: https://vimeo.com/235665343
Last but not least, I would like to inform you of an important decision that we have made for all of our members at Balesin Island Club. With immediate effect, we shall be providing “Introduction Rewards” to all of our members who introduce their friends to become members. We have noted that quite a few members have difficulty in organizing their friends to come to the island because of the fact that if they do not wish to pay for the guests’ expenses they must make sometimes cumbersome and oftentimes embarrassing arrangements with our billing personnel. Thus, we thought that those of you, who often invite guests, should be rewarded by their introduction of friends, relatives or corporates to become members of Balesin. As you know, the present rates are:
Type of Membership
No. of Free Nights
The introduction reward will consist of 5% of the value of the membership to be awarded to the members who introduce the new member, plus a 5% discount on the price of the membership for any and all members which he introduces to become a member of the Club. I trust our members will welcome this idea.
As I was dictating this update, I was just informed about the passing away of Wash SyCip while he was going to New York, at the ripe old age of 96 years. As you all know, Wash has been my mentor and friend for many years. He gave me my first big break with my appointment as Managing Partner of SGV at a very young age, and I will always be grateful to him for my first big break.
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to host a well attended dinner for him several weeks ago (last July 27). On hindsight, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to express my gratitude to him before his passing. Wash was enroute to New York on one of his many working trips. When I called my wife Monica to tell her of Wash’s passing earlier today, in addition to her obvious grief, she commented rather appropriately I think, “He died with his boots on.” Wash, thanks for everything and may you rest in peace!