TRAVEL NOW: Behold, Balesin Island!

Balesin (1) Surrounded by Lamon Bay and the Pacific Ocean and 25 minutes away from the metro lies a 500-hectare private paradise that’s beautiful beyond belief. Inspired by seven of the world’s best landscapes (St. Tropez, Bali, Phuket, Balesin, Mykonos, Costa del Sol and Toscana), Balesin Island provided a one-of-a-kind paradise experience for Team MEGA. One early Wednesday morning, Team MEGA met up at the Alphaland hangar in Pasay City. There could not have been a better time to fly a chartered plane to Balesin. Clad in our own style of summer looks, we were more than excited to be whisked away to one of the most talked about local destinations. Balesin (12) It was a speedy flight to the island in the area of Quezon Province. Upon landing, we were warmly welcomed by the ground personnel as they hung sampaguita leis around our necks and offered us fresh buko juice and a cold face towel. Balesin (10) The head of the Water Sports and Recreation Department, Dadsie Coscolluela kick started our day in the Balesin Clubhouse with a short Balesin Island introduction. Dadsie then led us to a golf cart which we rode off to the main clubhouse. The view, the food, and the service were all amazing (totally my kind of breakfast). Balesin (11) After our meal, we were brought to our beachfront Balesin villa to drop off our things. A spacious king-sized bed, an indoor shower and outdoor rain shower, and by the beach view, a day bed and a personal Jacuzzi were only some of the exciting comforts in Villa 14. I’m all for adventure! The surplus of activities around the island got me very excited. In the Main clubhouse alone, they had a Game Room where you can enjoy billiards and table tennis, private mahjong and poker rooms, PS3, Wii, and internet gaming rooms, libraries, and even a screening room. What was most thrilling (and probably even most important) was the private KTV room! (After all, we do have to unleash our inner divas once in a while!) Balesin (3) The sports complex, a little far off the clubhouse, was complete with most sports facilities you can think of. Horse-back riding and archery? Check, check. Basketball, badminton, tennis? Check! Check! Check! Rock climbing? Paint ball? Yoga? Check, check and check! And completing the list of health and wellness needs at the sports complex was the health bar. With all the activities available on the island, boredom was not an option. Dadsie also talked about the corporate social responsibilities of the resort as we went to the water reservoirs that cleans and re-uses rain water for the islands consumption. The constructions were also kept to the minimum as Chairman, Bobby Ongpin, wanted to build around the natural resources, not through them. Upon seeing the art and interiors of the island, one would marvel upon the details and amazing craftsmanship. Apparently, most of these craft works were produced within the island by an Ifugao tribe housed within the island –another one of the resort’s advocacy  It was nice to know that our Ifugao brethren fully benefit from all the proceeds of whatever they have created for the resort and the sales from their local store. Balesin (4) At about 10:30am, it was time for the most exciting part of the day: exploring the five beaches of Balesin. Flashback to the time I was packing for the trip, I had imagined matching five ensembles with the five beaches we were to visit. So here are the looks I would like for you all to try when visiting theseinternationally-themed summer spots in Balesin Island: Bali, Indonesia (Versace): With the floating Nusa Dua bar and villas, one should glide through the wooden planks with ease while feeling the wind on their skin. Perfect trend would be bohemia as it mixes fun prints with billowy fabrics. BALESIN Mykonos, Greece (Stella McCartney): Perfect for the beach-loving party girls as they enjoy dining and dancing in the rock bar complete with mini pools while sipping a margarita waiting for the amazing sunset. Inject fun to your wardrobe by adding citrus notes –perfect juxtaposition with the white and blue facades and interiors. BALESIN2 Balesin, Philippines (Chloe): For the traditional Mod Filipino culture-inspired Balesin, chilling out in the infinity pool is the best way to unwind. Opt for a sheer white ensemble in modest ladylike silhouettes channeling the Filipinas of the past – perfect portrayal of both the pure and the sensual. BALESIN3 St. Tropez, France (Dior): Designed to look like the Byblos Hotel, St. Tropez exudes a home away from home feel with the vibrant colors present on the façade and interiors of the hotel. Try to break solid colors with textured ensembles. Why not try iridescent dressing? It’s a perfect statement especially when the sun is still up. Balesin (8) Phuket, Thailand (Luisa Beccaria or Paul & Joe): Detail-oriented, the whole section of Phuket was simple yet endearing as the interiors deeply reflected Thai culture with intricately painted vases, life-like puppets and art pieces carved to perfection. The Thai design is also recognizable with its floral inclinations. Why don’t you follow the trend by wearing a floral floor-length dress in a straight silhouette? Look chic & feel right at home. BALESIN5 After all the day’s activities, we went back to Bali to view the sunset. With ‘Sweet Disposition’ playing in the background, it was just surreal. Cat said it perfectly, “It’s like a dream. We’re whisked away from reality for a day bringing us to this breathtaking paradise”. It was the perfect day if I may say so myself –exploring the world, eating delicious authentic Pinoy and Thai food, sleeping in comfort and waking up the next morning to a breathtaking view. Although reality was upon us as we rode the plane going back to Manila, I took one last look at the island thinking, “It’ll never be a goodbye, always see you later”. ~ Balesin Island is a luxe members-only island. Members get an annual 14 free nights stay in any villa! For inquiries on membership rates and flight schedules, visit! Photography by Tin Lagula

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