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June 2014

June 10, 2014

Dear Members and Friends:

It feels good to be able to communicate with you once again.  As I told you in my previous email, it was not possible for me to send you my monthly update because of the very delicate negotiations we were undergoing.  Now that it is all over, I can resume my usual monthly update which I enjoy doing, and which I am told by many of you that you enjoy reading (my daughter Anna thinks I am sometimes “loquacious” but I hope she is in the minority)! 

The most important news I have is that the number of members and guests visiting the Club has more than tripled from last year’s volume.  For example, during the Holy Week on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, we had almost a thousand people on each day at Balesin.  This set a new record for us, and despite the big challenge it posed for our staff, I think we coped quite well.  Our management staff at Balesin, led by “Admiral” Mike Asperin, hardly had any sleep during the entire week, but I know that they did not mind the hard work so that they could provide you with the usual high standard Balesin service.

We see this increasing trend in the volume of members and guests coming to the island even in May and June of this month and we are doing our best to anticipate the greatly increased volume.  Also, reservations are fast coming for the holiday season and we are doing our best to accommodate you.  We are also issuing a reminder notice regarding reservations so that we avoid any confusion.    

Our F&B staff, led by Mark Biddle, our Executive Chef, has done an outstanding job.  In this connection, I have just given the green light for the expansion of the restaurant at Thanassis Taverna.  With the opening of the very popular Mykonos Beach Villas at the end of last year, the existing taverna simply cannot cope, and we are increasing the air-conditioned portion of the ground floor so that another 40 guests can be accommodated.

I am also delighted to announce that we have started the construction of the Balesin Royal Villa.  The Balesin Royal Villa will be located on the southwestern part of the island, not far from Phuket on the Lamon Bay side where the best beaches, although smaller in area, are located and the waters are so crystal clear that you can see all the way to the bottom of the ocean.  

The Balesin Royal Villa will be composed of 14 magnificent suites, 4 superior ones on the second floor (with an elevator) with a floor area of more than 200 square meters each.  They will have their own private decks and will have a magnificent view of the Lamon Bay and the mainland beyond.  On the ground floor, there will be ten 100-square meter villas, all connected to the Main Living Room with its opulent furnishings.  There will be two pools, one as big as the pool in Phuket, and the other one like the pools in Bali with bubblers.  The huge Deck is also accessible to each villa on the Main Floor from their own private decks.  

The Balesin Royal Villa will be perfect for weddings, anniversary celebrations, and family clan gatherings.  They can also be booked for private lunches or dinners for as many as 70 to 80 people.  

As usual, you can count on Rico Sison to create another masterpiece at the Balesin Royal Villa.  

We broke ground last week, and are targeting to have the project completed by September.  We will keep you informed of the progress of the construction and other details about this magnificent and opulent Royal Villa in the coming months.

We have also been offered a very interesting small resort on the northeastern tip of Marinduque Island, about 60 nautical miles from Balesin and just a half an hour helicopter ride from Balesin.  They tell me that the diving and underwater seascapes are among the best in the Philippines.  I have asked Mike Asperin and Rico Sison to make a visit to the island to see if it is as advertised.  If it is, those of you who are die-hard divers can either make a day trip or an overnight visit (obviously in much more rustic accommodations), to this dive spot.  We will also keep you informed of developments.

Now that the uncertainties regarding the settlement with Ashmore are behind us, we have also started to plan our international marketing effort.  We are first targeting the Filipino-American communities in the U.S. and in Canada, where there are many professionals who can easily afford a membership at Balesin.  To accommodate this market, we have created an international membership which will be only a 7-day package as opposed to the 14-day existing package, to make it more attractive to the Filipino residents in America and Canada who may not want to spend the entire 14 days at Balesin each year but may want to spend the rest of their holiday in Manila with relatives and friends.  

I have also asked Marco Diaz and our other marketing staff to promote the Corporate membership at Balesin at this time.  Due to the uncertainties in the past few months, it is understandable that very few have taken advantage of the Corporate Membership, but that should be all out of the way now.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, a Regular membership can be converted into a Corporate membership with the addition of Php2 million.  Because a Corporate membership entitles two designated members, and adding only Php2 million to the present price of Php4 million, a Corporate membership therefore costs only Php3 million per membership instead of Php4 million.  For those of you who wish more information on this, offer, please contact Mike Asperin or Joanna Duarte at:

    Mike Asperin    +63908 886 8985 (mobile)

    Joanna Duarte  +632 338 1234 (landline)

                         +63908 886 3251 (mobile)

As you will note, we have now completed a full soccer field with a running track around it, near the Sports Center.  It is very interesting that we have been approached by several groups representing major soccer teams in Europe for a possible two-week soccer training camp at Balesin.  As you know, soccer training camps are very popular all over Europe.

Reverting once more to the increased popularity of Balesin which has clearly become the holiday destination of choice, I am told that we now regularly run on weekends and holidays, Karaoke sessions which have proven to be very popular.  I am sure that Mike Asperin, if he is allowed to, would win every Karaoke contest because he is such a very good singer.  That is why we have disqualified him!

This is all from me now, folks, but I am enclosing photographs of events during the last few months during which I have been incommunicado.

ROBERTO V. ONGPIN
Chairman

Yoga at the Sports Center
Yoga at the Sports Center by Tinay Omaga
Salsa Lessons at the Sports Center
Mermaid Institute brings Mermaiding to Balesin
One of the Mermaids
Archery 101 by Coach Lexter Reyes
Horses by the Sea
Karaoke Night at the Clubhouse
Guest Singing Her Heart Out During Bale“Sing” Galing
One of the Younger Contestants of Bale“Sing” Galing
CEO and Island Director Mike Asperin with Mika Santos and The Winners of the Latest Bale“Sing” Galing Contest in Balesin
Easter Festivities at Toscana
Clowning Around at the Easter Festivities
Easter Would Not be Complete Without Bunnies
Easter Egg Painting
Photobooth During Easter Sunday
Oreta Clan Enjoying the Photobooth at the Clubhouse
Senator Chiz Escudero Cutting the Ribbon at the Liongoren Exhibit
The Liongoren Exhibit is Formally Open
Marco Diaz with Banker Manny Tordesillas at the Liongoren Exhibit
The Artist Explaining His Vision
CEO Mike Asperin with the Artists Alfredo and Erik Liongoren
Wine Tasting at Nusa Dua
Heart Evangelista, Chiz Escudero, Evelyn Forbes and Anton Montinola at Nusa Dua Wine Tasting
Maiki Oreta and Bubu Andres Listen Attentively to Sommelier Ronnie Joseph
Nusa Dua is the Place to be for Your Sunset Cocktails
Rachel and Hajji Belt it Out
Members watch “A NIGHT OF OPM SERENADES” with Hajji and Rachel Alejandro
Andy and Hannah Navato with their Kids at the Show
Guests Enjoying Breakfast at St. Tropez
Sakura Lunch Buffet
Sakura Lunch Buffet
Balesin Clubhouse Lunch Buffet
Mongolian Barbeque Stir-Fry All You Can Eat at Bali Warung
Mykonos Taverna Dinner Buffet
President Mario Oreta with Governor Faustino Dy III of Isabela and CEO Mike Asperin
Maiki and Quinto Oreta enjoying Clubhouse Seafood Dinner Buffet
Costa del Sol Dinner Buffet
Costa del Sol Dinner Buffet
Phuket Village Lunch Buffet
Phuket Village Lunch Buffet
Edward Estacion and Guest at Toscana
Picnic Grove Fresh Vegetable Buffet
Picnic Grove Fresh Vegetable Buffet