In this 3rd chapter, I am going to show you the rest of the island: Mykonos Village (Greece), Costa del Sol (Spain), St. Tropez (France), Balesin (Philippines) and the other facilities as well.
Balesin boasts of its sustainability, waste water management, eco-friendly transportation and organic farming. It was even declared as a Tourism Zone in August 2010.
When we were in the planning stages of going to Balesin, Mykonos was what really caught my attention.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just biased with the color blue.Or is it my earlier years’ addiction to Greek Mythology?
But right from the start, I said, I wanted to have a villa there. And when we were finally there, it’s the first village we went to. Its blue and white motif stood against the dark blue to light green water surrounding it.
The Thanassis Taverna looked real, like it was cut straight from a Greek painting or picture. (Well notwithstanding the presence of modern day celebrity Don Allado and Maricar de Mesa).
The villa seemed a little smaller than Bali, and the beach fronting it didn’t seem as accommodating as the beach in Bali and Balesin.
Chairman Ongpin had to hire a Greek Chef to train the future chef of the Taverna so he could serve authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisines (yup, mostly lamb and pita bread).
When one goes to the Mykonos Cove Deck, one would notice how the designers avoided destroying the rock formations in the area.
They also have bigger jacuzzis here (bigger than the ones in the villas).
We then went to St. Tropez Village (France), which contrasted the simplicity and quietness of Mykonos. St. Tropez’ colors yelled loudly – playful and definitely attention-getting.
This is where we had our dinner on the 2nd night, but it was closed for occupation because they were re-painting it.
It was only open for dining, touring and swimming. Even then, it still shined brightly along the northern coast of the island. Even its interior teemed with vibrant colors.
Next stop we went to Costa del Sol which is between Mykonos and St. Tropez in the number of colors used in its villas and bars.
They also have a Moroccan-inspired videoke room at PhP 20,000 for 3 hours (2013 rate).
Their villas fronted the beach, which is the same spot for surfing. The waves are good for beginners, but may not be advisable for non-swimmers. The waves pounding the rocks remind me so much of the movie Chasing Mavericks (real life story of surfer Jay Moriarti).
There are two identical pools in Costa. One was salt-water (but not as salty as the sea) and the other, fresh water. The underwater pictures are from the fresh water pool.
Not to mention they serve the best paella here. =)
The Balesin Village was more contemporary than I imagined it. I thought it would have showcased some native fixtures and design but it was a good mix of that and contemporary design.
It houses the Balesin Clubhouse, where guests are welcomed after arrival at the airstrip. It has a pastry shop, the concierge is also located there, and serves as the waiting area for guests who are waiting for their return flight to Manila.
Reservation and check out also happens here, which is pretty much the heart of the island.
On the southern coast of the island (when looking at the map), it is situated at the end of the airstrip, to its west is the Bali Village, to its east, Phuket. So technically, when we transferred villas, we went from one end to the other.
The chapel has services once a week, unless there is a special request for a mass to be held there.
The Balesin Spa is one more haven one would want to enjoy. It closes at 9pm, and since we were pressed for time, didn’t have the chance to enjoy this facility. A quick tour was all we managed to do, as the very entertaining staff handed us each our bottled water for free.
The Ifugao Village houses “imported” Ifugaos from the An-A Tribe to design and create furnishings for Balesin.
They also live in Ifugao houses, too (that shouldn’t be surprising, right?). They also accept made to order benches, sculptures, doors, ladders, etc.
Places we haven’t been to in the 2 nights and 3 days we were there are: Picnic Grove, Fish Fun (we’ve only seen it from afar), Organic Farm and Fish Pond (we passed by those but we never stopped), Aquaculture, the Mykonos Beach Villas (extension of Mykonos Village) and Toscana Village, both of which are still under construction. When Jons returned in 2014 and 2015, it was already open, as well as the Mykonos Beach Houses and the Balesin Royal Villa. Here are his photos:
The island, I’m sure, will still offer a lot more than what it already has. And yes, my friends and I are determined to come back and have a blast again.
Up next: The most emotional blog entry about Balesin. The Big Reveal. You wouldn’t bat an eyelash while reading it. I promise.