An amazing paradise

07/30/2012 | By: Emil Jurado, Manila Standard Today

I finally made it last weekend—to the paradise that is Balesin Island. I took off from the Alphaland hangar at the domestic airport to the 1,500-meter concrete airport of Balesin. I had a pleasant 25 minute-ride on a brand-new Cessna Grand Caravan, one of the many which Alphaland has to ferry members and guests to the island paradise.

In my many years of globe-trotting as a journalist and business executive, I was able to visit the island resorts of Bali in Indonesia and Phuket in Thailand. I also want to go to Mykonos, Greece and Saint Tropez in the south of France, as well as to Costa Esmeralda in Sardinia, Italy.

Now you can have all of these in a single island off Quezon province.

What can I say? Balesin is truly amazing, a true paradise!

By the end of this year, Balesin will be a tourist destination. My former Ateneo High School student tycoon Bobby Ongpin, who bought the island from the family of the late Ed Tordesillas, who in turn bought it from the late businessmen Baby Ysmael, says Balesin will be ready for its 1,400 members or guests—90 percent of them foreigners.

Membership is a bit pricey, naturally, but it’s a retreat from the maddening crowd. Santa Banana, name it and Balesin has it for a weekend and more! International flights are now scheduled for foreign club members.

My guide around the island was Marco L. Diaz, project director. And indeed Balesin has everything—exotic villas, peace and security, and all the amenities one can ask for. My gulay, Balesin is even out of the typhoon belt; the weather is cool and windy all year round. Even as torrential rains flood Metro Manila, Balesin has only sunshine.

Many thanks Bobby for giving me a taste of paradise. I will definitely come back with my family as a guest.

Speaking of Alphaland, the high-end property developer, of which Ongpin is chairman/CEO, and Mario “Babes” Oreta is president/COO, it is also behind City Club. This is a world-class sports and leisure club right at the heart of Makati’s financial district, at the corner of Ayala and Malugay street. It will occupy three floors of Alphaland Makati Place and be open to its members just in time for Christmas.

“Unique”—that’s the tagline of Alphaland. I agree.

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