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December 2013

                                                                    December 30, 2013

To Members and Friends:

Today is December 30, the second to the last day of the year.  I am writing this update today because I know that tomorrow, it might be difficult for me to find time to write this.

This year has been an extremely busy year for Balesin Island Club.  Today and tomorrow, for example, we will have almost 800 members and guests on the island, almost four times that of last year.  We have also been blessed with relatively good weather, with only one rainy day during the last week.  

Yesterday, we had a lechon party at the Family Picnic Grove where, in addition to the lechon, we had a full house and the picnic dining huts were all taken.  It was great to see so many happy faces catching fish, enjoying our organic vegetables and the lechon.  

During the last few days, including through the first of January, we have had to have two seatings at all the village restaurants.  In all, we have over 20 restaurants on the island, but the members and guests apparently have an almost insatiable appetite for the excellent food that we serve in these restaurants.

My wife Monica and I spent a lot of time in making sure that we serve authentic Tuscan food at the Toscana Village.  We have personally tasted each dish before it is allowed on the menu.  Toscana has been a big hit not only because of the excellent Italian food and wine that we serve, but also because of the incredibly beautiful ambiance of Toscana.  We have eight separate restaurants in Toscana with a total capacity of 140 and they are constantly full for lunch or dinner.  Some nights, we have had to turn away guests without reservations because there were too many people who came to dine at this magnificent Tuscan Villa and sample the delicious food.  

Three weeks ago, I brought in 5 legs of prosciutto, about 100 pieces of salami and 12 large balls of cheese from Italy, in addition to about a hundred cases of our favorite Italian wines.  I can’t believe that they are almost all gone, even if we have so many holidays still to come.  While the villas in Toscana will not be fully open until mid-January, I have no doubt that this village shall be the most popular of all the seven villages in Balesin.

I am also happy to report that our “soft spots” which are the Aviation services and the island transportation have (knock on wood!) been functioning excellently with very little delays.  We are grateful to the Manila Tower and CAAP for the excellent cooperation and priority they have given to our aircraft.  The additional golf carts and bikes have also been of great help.

I am sorry that this is not the usual chatty update that I normally do, because I have now to rush back to Toscana.  I dare say that you will not find the quality of Italian food elsewhere other than in Italy itself.  

After all of the hard work this year, I am happy to say that it gives me great satisfaction to see all the happy faces on the island this fabulous holiday season.  I wish all of you a Happy, Prosperous and a Healthy 2014.

That’s all folks and I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

    

ROBERTO V. ONGPIN
Chairman