Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Resort Feature: Balesin Island Club (Why It's The Perfect Family Getaway) - Part III

The next day was glorious so I took Jia to the beach. Her Dada joined us later for a swim in the pool.    

Since Mykonos was the only village we haven't visited, we decided to go there for lunch. 

I dressed Jia to match the white and blue of the village. She was so tired from swimming that she nodded off even before she had her lunch.

She's awake! She was so rapt listening to the kumbancheros because she loves music.

Since day one, I was telling my husband we should go watch the sun set at Nusa Dua bar in Bali Village but our schedule did not permit. This was again recommended to me by Kathy Solis, VP for marketing of Alphaland. We finally got there the day before our departure and it was perfect. The bar stood on stilts with bridgeways that connected to a water villa on either side and to Warung restaurant. 

For our last dinner on the island, we picked Costa del Sol, acclaimed as the best restaurant in Balesin, to which we heartily agreed.

This paella negra was simply delectable. We definitely scraped the bottom of the pan for the soccarat. I ended the night so full but I wished I could eat more.

My husband remarked how well thought of and well executed the dishes are, not only in this meal, but also in our previous ones. He said he'd love to bring more friends and family there next time we visit. I guess it's safe to assume that he loved our little getaway. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Resort Feature: Balesin Island Club (Why It’s The Perfect Family Getaway) - Part II

Balesin Spa
We started late the next day because the rain poured from morning until early afternoon. When there was a respite, I took Jia to the beach on Lamon Bay in front of our villa. There was no one else around.

Jason told us there were nearly 500 guests during that long weekend but we often felt like we had the island to ourselves. We encountered other guests during happy hour and dinner but, even then, the place hardly felt packed. The island itself is already exclusive, but if you are a stickler on privacy, you may opt to reserve their private dining areas and recreational facilities such as shisha and karaoke rooms where you and your friends can eat and have fun away from the view of other guests.

We resumed our tour of the island with Jason in the afternoon when the sky cleared. We visited the spa, sports center, and St. Tropez village. 

The spa treatment rooms
It rained again in the middle of our tour but our spirits were lifted upon seeing the bright colors of St. Tropez, which reminded us of our visit to Southern France in 2014.

When I saw the sports center, I immediately regretted not being with my pamangkins and our friends. There's plenty to do here, with indoor and outdoor basketball and tennis courts, badminton courts, a fully equipped gym, an airsoft shooting range, a rock climbing wall, a paintball shooting area, a driving range and putting green, and an archery range. They also rent out mountain bikes.

If you're more inclined to aquatic sports, you may go windsurfing, diving, paddleboarding, fishing, and sailing, among others.

They also have a stable for those who want to go horseback riding.

This serves as home to and a showroom of transplanted northern artisans and woodcarvers who've created some of the stunningly beautiful furniture and displays in Balesin.

Balesin Chapel

In the evening, my husband and I decided to have some "us time"so we reserved tickets to The Tux reunion show. Before the show, we had dinner at Han-Gang, their Korean Restaurant, with our baby and yaya. But our third wheel decided she's had too much excitement for one day and fell asleep.

We thoroughly enjoyed the performance of The Tux. Even Balesin's CEO, Mike Asperin, jammed with them and boy, he can sing! No wonder, every village in Balesin has a videoke room, and the Clubhouse has several. In fact, they regularly hold videoke nights at the Clubhouse where they give away free membership.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Resort Feature: Balesin Island Club (Why It’s The Perfect Family Getaway) - Part I

In one of the long weekends of August, I took my family to Balesin in Polillo, Quezon as a birthday treat for my husband who recently celebrated his birthday. We had an 8:30 a.m. flight so we booked ourselves at a nearby hotel to make sure we got to the Alphaland Hangar on Airport Road on time.

We had a rough start because my daughter had fever when she woke up and seemed to have a cough. Thankfully, it broke quickly after we gave her Tempra. Her pediatrician told us to just observe her cough and give her double dosage of Ceelin in the meantime.

When we arrived at the hangar an hour and a half before the flight, there were already plenty of passengers waiting. Our flight was delayed for 30 minutes but it was fine because the baby was asleep. We boarded a bus to get to the plane, which took off shortly after. It was a quick 25-minute flight.

We were welcomed with a drink and lei when we disembarked. Then we walked to the Clubhouse to check in (You may opt to ride one of the jeepneys on standby but it’s really just a short walk).

We were booked at Balesin Village, which was perfect because it was just a short walk to and from the clubhouse. It was also fronting the best beach on the island.

Balesin is a members-only island club but you can arrange a visit if you're looking to become a member or if you know someone who is a member of the club. It's an ideal destination for families because there's plenty to do, whether you're a kid or an adult. I didn't realize how big the island was (it's 500 hectares!) until we got there and started touring the facilities.

We spent our afternoon exploring some of the villages guided by front office manager, Jason, who was so friendly and accommodating. He even volunteered to take us around again the next day to see the rest of the villages since it was too much to do in one afternoon with a restless toddler in tow.

Riding in a golf cart with Jason in the driver's seat, we got to appreciate the lushness of the forest cover, which enhanced the feeling of being tucked in your own private space. Our first stop was Phuket Village.

Every village has its own pool and recreational facilities, restaurants, and bar. Accommodations vary between villas and hotel suites, but all villas are similarly set up, with a king-size bed and a daybed, and a veranda.

Our second stop was Costa del Sol, which we were told had the best restaurant.

This is Costa del Sol's restaurant. Before we left for Balesin, the club's VP for Sales, Kathy Solis, advised me to partake of their cochinillo and wine offer. It sounded really good but it was good for six people. Maybe next time when we go back with a bigger group.

Jia and I, with Jayson, Balesin Club's warm and engaging front office manager
Our third and last village stop for our first day was the Royal Balesin Villa, which hosted the wedding reception of actress Heart Evangelista and senator Chiz Escudero.

The Royal Balesin Villa was huge, with a laid-back, very Miami vibe.

After our tour, we had ourselves dropped off at the Clubhouse for merienda then went back to our villa so that Jia can have a nap.

We opted to have our dinner at the lovely Toscana Village.

The village was patterned after Bobby Ongpin's villa in Tuscany. The olive oil used in the restaurant is from Mr. Ongpin's Tuscan vineyard. Mr. Ongpin is the owner and chairman of Balesin Island Club.

We ate fabulously in Balesin and this was just the first of many meals. Kudos to management for offering fantastic food at very reasonable price points. 


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