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June 2012

      I have just returned from a two-week trip to Europe which was meant to be a holiday, but which turned out to be mostly shopping for artifacts, antiques, and ceramics for Mykonos, St Tropez and Costa Smeralda villages of the Balesin Island Club.  I bought several million pesos worth during these exhausting shopping trips.  Shopping is normally not my cup of tea but because of my now well-known obsession for ensuring that Balesin becomes the most desired resort destination, (not only in the Philippines but around the world!) I have actually enjoyed the many hours spent shopping for antiques and ceramics in Greece, Italy and France.  I brought with me as much as I could of these purchases and they are now on display at the Clubhouse of the Balesin Island Club.  The balance, which consists of large antique items, are being airshipped and will arrive in Balesin next month, just in time for the finishing touches at the Mykonos, St. Tropez and Costa Smeralda Villages.

 

     It is Sunday today in Balesin and I have just finished my usual round of inspection of the island.  As you know, the Clubhouse is now fully operational and so is Balesin Village.   Thus, with 40 Balesin Villas and 7 Clubhouse Suites (which have proven to be very popular since we noted that families would like to stay together in 1 suite and the Clubhouse Suite can accommodate 6 to 8 in a family comfortably.  They are all duplexes with 2 separate bathrooms and a breathtaking view of the Main swimming pool and the sea beyond.  Each has their own private lanai and dining area.

 

     We are also proud to present our Sakura Japanese restaurant which can seat 32 guests and is managed by the former No. 2 Chef of Inagiku at Makati Shangri-la, Edu-San.  We have heard nothing but rave notices about Edu-San and his genuine Japanese culinary talent in the few weeks that he has been in operation.

 

     Also now operational is our Clubhouse Inn which can accommodate 55 people in 16 one-bedroom suites, and 39 in dormitory style rooms, all fully air-conditioned and with its own restaurant and cafeteria facilities, for the use of our members’ nannies, our contractors, our pilots, and others.

 

     After Balesin Village, closest to completion is the Bali Village.  The Bali Warung should be fully operational by early July with its 2 swimming pools, 10 land-based villas, and 2 water-based villas.  I think you will be impressed by the Bali Warung (Sala) with its authentic Balinese decor and Indonesian food.

 

     Also nearing completion is our Mykonos Village with its impressive and authentic Taverna.  We are also building a unique Mykonos deck where you can enjoy your favourite Souvlaki, while you sunbathe on a deck built over a cove, right over the Pacific Ocean.  In early October, a couple, Thanasis Koubiadis and his wife who own and operate one of my favorite restaurants in Rhodes in Greece, will spend a month with us to bring authentic Greek dishes to our Taverna.  He has promised to bring all the authentic cuisine, from Greece, except that I have vetoed his idea of breaking plates after dinner!

 

     The Sports Center, which covers more than a hectare of sports facilities, is also nearing completion.  With its 3 tennis courts (2 covered and 1 outdoor), 2 basketball courts (1 indoor and 1 outdoor), 3 indoor badminton courts, a fully equipped gym, and an airsoft target range, plus a paint ball facility, this world class Sports Center will be operational by August.

 

     Close on the heels of Bali and Mykonos, Phuket is quickly taking shape and St. Tropez is also raring to go.  Last but not least, Costa Smeralda, which is patterned after the famous Cala di Volpe in Sardinia, will be operational in September.

 

     The chapel, a beautiful multidenominated structure, build among the rainforest and flowers of Balesin, will be inaugurated in early July.

 

     Finally, I have now decided to have my own office at the Clubhouse so that I can spend most of my time, when I am in the country, overseeing the progress of the work on the island.  This means that my secretary will also be spending more time here, but after spending this weekend in Balesin, I don’t think she will object!

 

 

Roberto V. Ongpin 
Chairman

June 18, 2012