Quantcast
Latest Stories

My Square Meter

PH’s most expensive island property project developed by single firm

By

PANORAMIC view of Costa del Sol

What’s new in paradise? The Alphaland Balesin Island Club has changed a lot since I was there last January. Although only four months have passed, it seems so much has happened.

WATER villas and Nusa Dua Bar of Bali Village

Balesin must be the country’s most expensive island property project developed by a single company. I heard that almost P4 billion has been spent on the island, and it really shows. Everything is first class, from the authentic Spanish plates adorning the walls of the newly opened Costa del Sol village to the exact shade of cobalt blue that puts a Grecian ambience to the Mykonos village.

As natural as possible

GREEK style deck and pool at Mykonos Village

There are seven villages spread over the island’s 500 hectares, and yet the island seems so pristine. Indeed, developer Alphaland is only touching 10 percent of the entire island, leaving the rest as natural as possible.

The merry month of May has been the busiest so far, with more than 3,500 members and guests enjoying the different themed villages. The weekends are almost always chock-full, with so many flights using the 1.5-km-long concrete runway.

After the fully developed villages of Balesin—Phuket, Bali, Mykonos and St. Tropez, the latest add-on is Costa del Sol. The sala and its dining facilities were inaugurated last weekend with an assortment of Spanish tapas and more to serve members and guests.

BEAUTIFUL Balesin Island

Costa del Sol interior designer Monica Olbes is an expert in Spanish décor, having grown up in Spain. Her team is now hard at work to complete the 48 suites and villas in the six other buildings that comprise the Costa del Sol Village. These suites will be ready for occupancy in July.

The bar in Costa del Sol overlooks two swimming pools—one freshwater and the other saltwater. It’s a unique touch to complement the Spanish classical landscaping and dramatic lighting done by master artist Rico Sison.

IFUGAO artist working on wooden sculpture

Members have also been enjoying the three-month-old St. Tropez village, which is a hotel styled after the Hotel Byblos in southern France. St. Tropez has 52 suites, but my favorites are the two-room ones, with the master bedroom sporting a mirror over the bed. It’s a special design touch that only a naughty visionary could have put in.

Restaurants

IFUGAO Village in Balesin Island

Food is one of the main draws at St. Tropez. In addition to its two restaurants, another two—L’Escale and Le Neptune—are being added. Each of the dining facilities is designed like many French bistros in the real St. Tropez.

Actually when I think about it, food is one of the main draws of Balesin itself, what with seven villages and at least eight different cuisines I can think of. The eighth is Sakura, the Japanese restaurant run by the most entertaining Japanese chef in the country, Edo-san.

DETAILED wood carving on door at Ifugao Village

The last village to be opened is Toscana, and I suspect it will be the best. Developer Bobby Ongpin has a home in Tuscany and I am sure he is going to make this village reminiscent of his own castle on a lonely hilltop in middle Italy.

I’m told that one of Bobby’s biggest issues is that Tuscan cypress trees don’t seem to grow on the island. He found a way to get the Royal Palm trees in St. Tropez, so I eagerly await his solution to this problem

Like all huge development projects, it is sometimes the little details that provide most interest. I loved the only village where members cannot book a night’s stay—the Ifugao village. Alphaland brought a small posse of Ifugao wood carvers to Balesin, and these artists have carved everything from Balinese figurines to Thai buddhas – their abilities at furniture-making and woodwork are amazing.

LOWER-LEVEL buffet at Costa

I passed by the Ifugao village to admire the group’s work. Alphaland allows the villagers to run their own small store, where visitors can pick up or order some of their unique creations. Their carvings reflect what they have learned from the Asian villages they have helped decorate, and there is nothing more thrilling than buying a Balinese-style, hand-carved tree from the Ifugaos, and all at local prices.

Balesin is indeed a magical island. I just left and I can hardly wait to get back.

Visit www.tessaprietovaldes.com or follow @tessavaldes on Twitter.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Balesin Island Club , column , property , tessa prieto-valdes

  • TheTuth

    Yes, by a single firm but… multitude crocs. A bagman of crocs could possibly own and develop such magnitude.

  • birdie10

    This will become a white elephant in no time. Even the owners will be bored here. Tourists come to the Philippines to experience unspoiled beaches like those in Palawan, Jolo with only nipa huts for accomodations. If they want ambience, they stay in Las Vegas.

    • http://twitter.com/kintoy Boardinggate101.com

      bitter ka ba that you cant afford this place?

    • Pio Pusli

      really? heard, india, pakista and bangladesh are looking for you, they’re short of pepper, your bitterness could be a substitute.

  • antoncervantesjr

    money down the drain.

    this will be the biggest bleed of bobby ongpin.

    balesin quezon isnt highlands tagaytay.

    and i heard the nice people are getting more expensive every year.

    btw, the aspirational crowd is already finding ways to get there. time to turn around and flee

  • rickysgreyes

    Awfully written article



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Drilon denies involvement in pork scam
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Malang the croc must regain strength before return to swamp, says mayor
  • Palace: Lacson’s version of Napoles testimony to be evaluated
  • Scientists eye iceberg bigger than Guam
  • Sports

  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Lifestyle

  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Embassy advisory: Filipinos still need visas to enter US
  • No travel restriction to Mideast, DFA clarifies
  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Marketplace