If you haven't heard of Balesin Island, it's probably because it's a fairly new resort and because it's exclusively for members and their guests. I had long been envious of friends who had been there, and finally, I got a chance to fly there myself last weekend. My dad's friend was a member so we asked him if he could arrange for us to join him on his next trip.
To get to Balesin, one takes a plane from the Alphaland hangar to the island (ours was a 30-seater, I think, but some of their planes are smaller). It was a short 25-minute flight to the island, located east of Quezon Province. Upon arrival, we were welcomed with buko juice and were whisked away on golf carts to their clubhouse where we checked in.
The clubhouse has a modern tropical feel and has about 3 or 4 infinity pools to swim in close to the beach.
The 500-hectare island has 7 themed villages patterned after some famous tourist destinations around the world. So in just 3 days, it's like we were able to do some serious globe-trotting. These are just a few of the photos I took. Let me take you through each of these areas on this lovely island.
BALESIN. This area has calm waters and fine white sand. Tropical paradise. This and the clubhouse area, both located on the west side of the island, would be the best places for a dip in the ocean.
BALI. Also on the west side of the island. Enjoy cocktails and watch the sun set at the Nusa Dua bar which is flanked by 2 water villas. Such a lovely area at dusk.
PHUKET is another Asian-themed village. If I'm lucky enough to return, I think I'd like to book here and try their outdoor shower and jacuzzi! Loved the use of apple green on their furniture.
MYKONOS. One of the must-see areas. Enjoy authentic Greek cuisine and wander amidst the blue and white villas and structures that blend perfectly with the clouds and skies. You'd swear you were really in Greece!
COSTA DEL SOL gives you a taste of Spain. Since this area is located on the east side of the island facing the Pacific Ocean, the waves here are big and probably more suitable for surfing rather than swimming (I didn't see any surfers though), but they certainly make for breathtaking views. We spent our first evening here and had Spanish food for dinner, complete with a trio of musicians who serenaded us (and they were actually pretty good!).
ST. TROPEZ, also located on the east side of the island, is where we chose to spend our second night. We stayed in a 2-bedroom suite that had both a garden patio and a spacious beach patio leading to the swimming pool. I loved all the colors and attention to detail in every room, hallway and restaurant, which included a creperie. So pretty!
TOSCANA brought me memories of Loreto and other places I had been to in Italy. Its entrance was imposing at night. We enjoyed a brick oven-baked pizza for dinner here.
Another must-see area is the all-white Balesin Spa which has 2 rooms for couples massage and several other rooms for individual massage. One also has the option for having a massage by the beach.
If, like me, you cannot afford to be a Balesin Island Club member but may have friends who are, find a way to get them to get you to visit this place. Even if you have to pay for your own villa and food, I'd say it would be money well spent. In our case, total cost per person for a 3D/2N stay came down to approximately P20-25K, all in (flight, accommodations, food). This is something you'd end up spending in other high end resorts and hotels around the country, especially if it's somewhere you need to fly to. (I've actually spent more than that on a luxury resort whose food was nothing great and whose service left much to be desired). But this is the only place that offers all these sights - 7 themed villages and more - that make you feel you went on an instant world tour!
Good food, excellent service, lots of activity options (they have a fully equipped sports center/gym and you can even go biking and horseback-riding), and lots of privacy (the island had about 500 guests last weekend and we couldn't feel it at all because of the distance between villages).
And since it's only a half hour trip from Manila, you don't feel tired when you return and feeling like you need another vacation from your vacation. It's the perfect place to relax, unwind, recharge.
I know, I know... I wanna return, too. =)
My name is Trina Belamide and I'm a songwriter and record producer.
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