To: Balesin Members and Friends
I am delighted to submit this progress report of your Club which as you know, has become somewhat of an obsession for me and where now I devote almost a third of my time. Like when I built Tagaytay Highlands, I find a great deal of satisfaction overseeing every aspect and every detail of the development of Balesin, most of the time to the dismay of the architects and engineers who are involved in the project!
As many of you who have visited the island recently know, the Main Floor of the Clubhouse is now complete. The Main Lounge, which can seat 60 for lunch or dinner, the Veranda which can seat also 60, the Balesin Dining Room, which is fully air-conditioned and more plush (seating 44) plus two intimate Private Dining Rooms – Michelle’s and Hannah’s – which can seat 8 persons each. Additionally, we have added a Japanese restaurant and which we have christened “Sakura” with a sushi bar, and a teppanyaki bar which can seat 32 guests.
The Japanese restaurant will be fully operational by the end of this month. We have been fortunate to add to our staff the #2 Executive Chef of the Inagiku at The Makati Shangri-la, and he cooks excellent Japanese food!
The Conference Room with a capacity of 30 people, and all the appropriate audio visual equipment is also operational for members who wish to hold business meetings or conferences.
The most exciting development in the Clubhouse is the completion of the 7 Clubhouse Suites, all of which have a direct view of the pool and the sea beyond. Each suite is a duplex and has 2 bathrooms, 1 downstairs and 1 upstairs. It is perfect for a family of 6 that wish to stay together and actually is extendable to a family of 8. Each of these Clubhouse Suites is 170 sq. m. with its own dining and lounging lanai. If you are a member with a family, you must take a good look at it on your next visit.
The swimming pool and the various amenities including a large main pool, a lounge pool, and a kiddie pool are now also fully operational and we feel proud when our members tell us how wonderfully designed it is.
The ground floor of the Clubhouse is also nearing completion and will be available for members’ use at the end of this month. In addition to the ping pong and the billiard areas and an extensive amenities shop called “Joanna’s”, it also has the following features:
1. Female and male locker rooms, a cigar divan, the ELT library (in memory of my friend Ed Tordesillas who was the original owner and loved this island with all his heart to which we have invited his family to house his memorabilia).
2. Additionally, we will have at least 6 rooms which will have karaoke facilities since we have noted that our members and their guests enjoy a night of karaoke after dinner.
3. We have also added separate male and female Hair Salons.
4. We have also added 2 mahjong and poker rooms.
5. We also have large function rooms totaling 300 sq. m. which can accommodate functions such as seminars and management conferences for 200 people.
6. Most importantly, we are proud that our completely equipped Clinic at the Clubhouse (which is almost a mini-hospital) manned 24/7 by qualified physicians and nurses, is now fully operational.
Finally, we are nearing the completion of our aquatic sports facilities where we will have a whole range of aquatic sports equipment that we know is superior to any other available in this country (please see Annex – A).
We also are pleased to announce that the Clubhouse Inn, which is located on the ground floor of the Clubhouse and which can house a total of 59 guests, including our pilots, our chefs, principal architects and contractors, maids and nannies of members, in air-conditioned comfort with its own cafeteria, will be functional by the first week in June. This is a most important facility which many of our members, who prefer to have their maids and nannies not sleep with them in their villa, have been looking forward to.
THE BALESIN SPA
Also now operational is our gleaming white spa facilities which has been deliberately designed to contrast with the rustic theme of the island. In addition to the 10 individual spa suites, we have added 4 beachside massage facilities for those who would rather enjoy their massage in the open air and by the beach. Staffed by experienced therapists imported from Manila, a visit to the Spa is a must during your next trip to Balesin.
When we originally envisioned the Club, we promised our members that we would have a Sports Center (now nearing completion), an Equestrian Center (now operational), and aquatic sports center (now also nearing completion). In the last few weeks, you will be pleased to know that we have decided to expand these facilities dramatically. The complete list of our Sports facilities is outlined in “Annex – B” (attached). The most interesting additional sports facilities are:
1. A 600-meter zip line (I am told, one of the longest in the Philippines) which will start on the Pacific Ocean side near Mykonos Village and will zip you through the 2 islands on the Pacific side of Balesin.
2. Additionally, we are now building a Golf Driving Range.
3. Also being built is a Paintball facility in the jungle area behind the Sports Center in which groups of members can engage in this popular sport.
4. We are also building an Airsoft Target facility in the Sports Center.
5. On the other side of the Equestrian Center, we will have an Archery Range with professional instructors.
I am also pleased to let you know that we are now nearing the completion of a multidenominational Chapel in a beautiful part of the island which will serve our members and guests and the local residents of the island.
PROGRESS REPORT ON THE VILLAGES
1. Bali Village – The Warung (sala) of the Bali Village is nearing completion and will be operational before the end of June. In the Warung, you can have your favorite Indonesian food. My daughter Michelle went to Bali to actually select and purchase authentic Balinese artifacts including the intricately carved entrance door. We are targeting to complete at least 12 Balinese villas including 2 water villas by the end of June.
2. Mykonos – The Taverna at Mykonos is nearing completion. We have added a wooden deck area in a beautiful cove right beside it which can be used for swimming and relaxing over drinks. Additionally, a total of 12 Mykonos villas will be completed before the end of June. The Taverna, which has a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean, will become one of your favorite hang-outs. The Taverna will be serving the usual Greek food, and of course various ouzo drinks exactly like what you find in Mykonos. I predict that Mykonos will be one of your favorites among the villages because of its unique and authentic Mediterranean architecture.
3. St. Tropez – We have made excellent progress in the St. Tropez village and I believe that at the rate we are going, St. Tropez with its 40 rooms, will be finished much ahead of our September schedule.
4. Costa Smeralda – Also a hotel-type village, patterned after the famous Cala di Volpe, at the famous Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, will be completed not very long after St. Tropez. Here you can enjoy your favorite pasta, pizza, and other Italian delicacies.
5. Phuket – At the southern end of the island, Phuket Village is gradually taking shape. The Sala is nearing completion and the pool in front of it, with its black-tile motif, is being constructed on a 24/7 basis. By the time we formally open in July, at least 12 individual Thai villas will be completed and ready for you to enjoy. With its unimpeded Southern vista and being adjacent to a beautiful white sand beach, Phuket, I think, will also be one of your favorites. We have also now decided to build a picnic grove which will be at a vantage point near the Phuket Village where you can enjoy the amazing sunsets.
Despite the higher cost of operating and maintaining an island facility, we have deliberately kept to a minimum our pricing policy. Those of you who have enjoyed our food and beverage facilities can attest to this fact. It is not our objective to make money from our food and beverage and other Club facility operations, but only to cover our cost. It is our objective to provide 5-star hotel amenities to our members and their guests at modest prices. We believe that by doing so, we will make our members happy because the value of their membership shares will increase steadily over time.
I am sure that I have, as usual, gone a little bit overboard in my enthusiastic description of the progress report of your Club. So I would like to also say that I am aware of the shortcomings that we have had which some of our members have been kind enough to point out to us. While the complimentary emails that we have received far out-number the criticisms by a 10-1 margin, we would ask you to please bear in mind that we started construction of the all-important airstrip only in April of 2011, or a little over a year ago. Those of you who have seen the progress we have made have been amazed at what we have been able to achieve in such a short time.
As the weeks and months go by and as the operations of the Club increase, we are sure that we will not always be perfect, but we will certainly strive to be.
You will also be pleased to know that this will be the last missive which I will inflict on you! Henceforth, I plan to keep you updated on our progress in Balesin through a link in the Alphaland website (www.balesin.com) called RVO Balesin Updates, complete with photographs which should be much less of an effort for you to enjoy rather than my emails.
ROBERTO V. ONGPIN
- Snorkeling (Available)
- Kayaking (Available)
- Fishing (Available)
- Sailing (July)
- Learn how to sail with our resident sailing instructor on our brand new Hobie Sailboats
- Sail our sailboats around the Balesin Island
- Windsurfing (July)
- Take a windsurfing course and learn how to windsurf in Balesin
- Balesin is one of the most ideal places to windsurf in the Philippines
- Stand Up Paddle Boarding (Available)
- Try the latest and fastest growing water sport in the world. Surf the waves or Paddle around the island with our top of the line Paddle Boards
- Motorized Banka (Available)
- Waterskiing/Wakeboarding (July)
- 36ft 20 Seater Speed Boat (Available)
- For Sunset Cruises Around the Island
- 19ft 7 Seater Speed Boat (July)
- Sunset Cruises for a small group around the island
- For Deep Sea Fishing
- For Wakeboarding/Waterskiing
- Indoor Basketball Court (coming soon)
- Indoor Tennis Court (coming soon)
- Indoor Badminton Court (coming soon)
- Indoor Rock Climbing Wall (coming soon)
- Indoor Gym (coming soon)
- With the latest top of the line Gym Equipment by Life Fitness
- Treadmill and X-Country Trainer Machines and Standard Weights and Body Toning Equipment
- Outdoor Basketball Court (coming soon)
- Outdoor Tennis Court (coming soon)
- Airsoft Shooting Range (coming soon)
- Trampoline (coming soon)
- Outdoor Sports:
- Paintball (July)
- Jungle Paintball Area
- Golf Driving Range (coming soon)
- Archery (coming soon)
- Zipline – 600 m. (coming soon)
- Zipline over the water to the other Islets of Balesin
- Mountain Biking (Available)
- Bike through the jungle trails of Balesin on our latest top of the line Mountain Bikes.
- Island Trail Ride (Available)
- Horse Ridding around the island and even on the beach
- Ride your horse on the beach and on the water bareback
- Bullring (Available)
- Learn how to ride in the bull ring with our instructors
- Calesa Ride (Available)
- Ride a Calesa through the Balesin Village
- Billiards (Available)
- Table Tennis (Available)
- Majong Set (Available)
- Poker Set (Available)
- Board Games (Available)