Exotic island set to charm, spoil guestsBy Theresa S. Samaniego
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Summers in an exotic island?
It’s definitely more fun in the Philippines. Specially if you end up spending it at the opulent, all-exclusive and members-only Alphaland Balesin Island Club in Quezon province.
Located about 35 kilometers off the eastern coast of Luzon, this 500-hectare island paradise used to serve as a frequent stop for treasure hunters centuries ago, and even became a vacation getaway for the Japanese after their occupation of the Philippines during World War II.
Fast forward to today, however, Balesin Island is now being redefined and transformed by upscale property developer Alphaland Corp. the way exclusive recreational destination developments should be—a world-class destination resort to accommodate all sorts of indulgences.
“At Balesin we aim to provide members with a unique, luxurious and exclusive island experience. With all its natural wonders, it’s a world unto itself, giving you that sense of remoteness and serenity. Yet, it’s just a quick flight to and from Manila,” says Michelle Ongpin, Alphaland SVP for corporate communications.
A true symbol of the high life, Balesin provides unparalleled pampering to its members from start to finish.
First, the trip to the island begins at the private hangar of Alphaland, where guests are accorded the privilege to use the 10 seater state-of-the-art Cessna Grand Caravan.
Luxury becomes even more evident as one starts to descend on Balesin’s 1,520-meter long runway and gets an exceptional view of the island’s unmatched, or should I say, unspoiled natural beauty.
With six authentically designed villages taking inspiration from the world-famous and picturesque vacation destinations in Europe and Asia, Balesin club members will definitely have something new to explore and look forward to every time they visit the island.
6 luxury resort destinations
Currently, Alphaland Balesin Island Club is the only recreational destination in the Philippines to provide six world-class luxury resort destinations within one small island.
• Balesin Village exhibits the Philippines’ wealth of natural beauty and indigenous architecture—indeed, a Filipino’s home away from home.
The village offers 40 destination villas conveniently located near the clubhouse, spa and the aquatic sports center.
• Bali Village, which also offers 40 destination villas, replicates the stunning landscapes of Bali, Indonesia, through the use of traditional building materials and elements reinterpreted by means of tropical landscape settings, generous open spaces, courtyards with wooden decks, swimming pools and water features. The Bali development faces the majestic Sierra Madre Mountain range on the Luzon mainland.
• Mykonos Village is meanwhile a vision in white and blue. It can draw you in with its white-washed houses, blue windows and doors, narrow, winding streets, and quaint restaurants and cafés, reminiscent of charming Greece. With 40 destination villas, guests are treated to a taste of Greece in the Philippines, complete with a Greek café should you have a craving for tzatziki or souvlaki.
• Costa Smeralda Village, as its name aptly suggests, presents guests with a 40-suite area reminiscent of the world-class tourist destination in Northern Sardinia, which has been attracting A-list celebrities, business leaders and other affluent visitors.
Balesin Club’s own rendition of this coastal getaway brings luxury comforts without marring the beauty of nature.
• St. Tropez Village meanwhile gives a taste of France through the club’s 40 destination suites styled with St. Tropez chic and inspired by the world famous Byblos Hotel.
• Phuket Village, on the other hand, has been situated atop rugged cliffs at the southernmost part of the island, allowing guests to have a stunning view of crystalline blue green waters from their guest houses.
“Each village has been meticulously designed and constructed to resemble the destination it’s patterned after, and with the authentic cuisine that you can feast on in each village, you will feel as if you’re traveling around the world as you explore the island,” says Balesin project director Marco Diaz.
“Each village is unique, but what they do have in common are the five-star amenities in the villas, including jacuzzis, indoor and outdoor luxury beds and landscaped pools. There is island-wide WiFi access in Balesin, direct-to-home TV via Cignal TV, as well as our very own Smart 3G cell site,” he adds.
Add to that, the island’s fully equipped recreational facilities make it an ideal playground for both kids and adults. The more adventurous members can indulge in surfing and kite boarding while on the Pacific side of Balesin, as the rolling waves and winds provide an excellent venue for these activities. Balesin also offers horseback riding as an alternative to exploring the island by foot.
Noteworthy also is the developer’s effort to ensure that Balesin will be one of the world’s most eco-friendly resorts.
Diaz stresses that Balesin has been masterfully planned and engineered, with sustainability being a key design facet.
“Over 90 percent of Balesin is untouched and preserved, and we intend to keep it that way. We integrated the trees into our plans and made our structures fit into the environment,” Diaz claims.
Since only 10 percent of the island will be developed, members are thus assured that the natural beauty of the island will be kept in its splendor.
And as part of its sustainability thrust, Balesin would not allow cars anywhere on the island except for electric golf carts and on site eco-friendly transportation.
Water harvesting and proper sewage treatment—with 80 percent water recycling—will also be practiced and organic gardens will be situated in the island.
“Sustainability is one of the prime development philosophies of Alphaland, and this is true for Balesin as well as our urban residential projects which are LEED-certified,” Ongpin says.
“At Balesin, we want to give you a place that has it all—wonders of nature, the luxuries of first-class living, and the most enjoyable activities—while ensuring that the place can thrive for may more generations to enjoy,” she further stresses.
Present and future members of Alphaland Balesin Island Club are entitled to 14 complimentary villa nights a year, along with subsidized flights to and from the island via a chartered flight.