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September 20, 2016

September 20, 2016

Dear Members and Friends:

During the past week since I returned from Europe, quite a number of you have asked why I have not written you my usual update. I guess the answer should be pretty obvious, i.e., that on August 3rd, I was “struck by lightning” and had to deal with trying to save PhilWeb Corporation’s several hundred employees and some 5,000 employees of its network. This has taken up quite a bit of my time, even when I was overseas. While I feel that some progress has been made, and I can see a bit of light at the end of this long dark tunnel, we are not quite there yet. But that, as they say, is another story.


Aegle Wellness Center

As is my usual practice, I had my physical checkup immediately upon my return to Manila and wonder of wonders, Dr. Ben Valdecañas, our Medical Director at Aegle Wellness Center, pronounced me as being the most fit he has seen me since last year, when he began closely monitoring me. My lab test results were so good that he concluded that I must thrive on adversity and stress. I guess he is right, since I don’t think there are many people who are struck by lightning and are still alive to talk about it!


Thalassotherapy

Speaking of Aegle, I think my almost daily workout at the gym, both at Balesin where I live most of the week and at The City Club when I have to be in Manila, has done wonders for me. I especially thrive on the thalassotherapy at Aegle in Balesin, where the pure sea water treatments really improve my sense of wellbeing. I have been on this Wellness Program, including workouts at the gym, thalassotherapy and vitamins and mineral supplements, since February of this year and it has made such a positive difference in how I feel.


Subscription Plan for Members

My plethysmography results continue to amaze Dr. Ben since I am usually Level 2, which means that my blood circulatory system and my ability to handle stress are at the level of a person in his 30s. Dr. Ben has developed a subscription plan for our club members, and I urge you all to try it. It will add many more years to your life, and life to your years, I am sure.


Balesin’s New Super Yacht

Two weeks ago, M/Y Obsessions, a 130-foot super yacht, arrived in Balesin. Since it arrived, we have had almost daily charters and without exception, guests have thoroughly enjoyed the island cruising experience or the sunset cruise at Balesin. At the end of this update, you will see pictures of many members and their friends having a blast and enjoying the all-Versace furnishings aboard, complemented by our excellent Balesin cuisine.

We do allow tours so you can size up the yacht, and I urge you to take advantage of these tours the next time you visit Balesin. The addition of this super yacht to the amenities of Balesin has been welcomed most enthusiastically by our members and their guests. One of our members even wanted to buy the yacht, but I told him it is not for sale, as I want our Balesin members to enjoy it. The M/Y Obsessions was built by Heesen Yachts in the Netherlands, who specialize in all-aluminum hulls that enable the yacht to travel at a much faster speed than steel-hull yachts. With a top speed of 32 knots, the Obsessions can actually outrun occasional rough seas and foul weather.


Aviation Situation

On the Aviation front, many of you have now enjoyed our newly acquired ATR 72 which seats 68 passengers. Unfortunately, the congestion at NAIA is getting unbearable so that CAAP has now restricted all general aviation flights only to the mornings, and flights are not allowed from noon until 7:00 pm. We know that this has caused a great deal of inconvenience to our members and their guests and they now find it difficult to go to Balesin.


Night Flights to and from Balesin

In order to try to alleviate this problem, we have decided to expedite the installation of runway lights at Balesin so that we can schedule night flights. We believe that many of you would want to go to the island after work on a Friday evening and return to Manila on a Sunday evening for a really relaxing weekend. We plan to get the runway lights installed and the night flights going before the Christmas holidays.

We have also finalized our agreement with Clark Airport and hope to have our ATR operating also from Clark in the afternoon, when private aircraft are not allowed at NAIA. We are just waiting for the Clark Airport Authority to clear the contents of the hangar which we have now leased from them.


Resumption of Membership Raffle Program

I am also pleased to announce that starting in October, we will resume our Membership Raffle Program. During the pre-Christmas season last year, we had very successful patronage at Balesin because we awarded one or sometimes two Gold memberships to the winners.


Balesin Gateway

Our Patnanungan Island project continues apace, although we have now decided to limit it to 500 hectares (about the size of the Balesin Island itself). We will develop the international airport there so that we can take international flights to Patnanungan which, being unpronounceable, we have christened Balesin Gateway. This will be a 2- to 3-year project and we have now started the Master Plan not only for the airport, but also for a golf course and a hotel. The Balesin Gateway project will not be a membership club, but we intend to build and sell individual home sites. Having now completed our land acquisition, we will start moving earth at Balesin Gateway in a couple of months from now.


Baguio Mountain Lodges

Our Baguio Mountain Lodges project is also quickly taking shape despite the wet weather we have had the last couple of months. We have now completed most of the riprapping and slope protection program, and have now delineated the actual pads for the first 100 log home sites. The Clubhouse will be built beside my existing house, which has now been visited and toured by about a hundred of our members and guests. By the Christmas holidays, when many of you will be visiting Baguio, the Clubhouse and the first few model homes should be ready for your inspection.


That’s all for now folks!



ROBERTO V. ONGPIN
Chairman

 

Our super yacht, M/Y Obsessions.

 

Breakfast is served!

 

Italian antipasti on board M/Y Obsessions.

 

Member Jorge Abes celebrated his birthday with a Sunset Cruise
with his family and friends.

 

Member Jeena Lopez and her girl squad enjoying the sun and breeze
on the sun deck of M/Y Obsessions!

 

Jeena Lopez and her guests checking out the yacht’s bridge.

 

Sunsets look better aboard M/Y Obsessions!