Friday, February 18, 2011

Little Santorini of the Philippines

In the race for improving the contents of my blog, I have decided to transfer or re-post some of my articles on my other blog which I think is already dying a natural death. So here is a few of my salvaged pieces.

Philippines, as I have already mentioned, is a country full of hidden paradise. Known for crystal clear waters and white sand beaches of Boracay, Palawan and Amanpulo, the country has again added another world class white sand beach resort in the list by the opening of a hideaway that is perfect for honeymooners who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Take a peek into the enchanting Marinduque. Famous for its Moriones Festival, this city comes alive during the Holy Week which usually falls between the end of March and the beginning of April. This festival is a reenactment of Christ’s journey to his crucifixion and is played using colorfully crafted masks and costumes. And amidst the musically colorful festivities is an enchantress in the embodiment of an islet which beckons all weary partakers. The islet where the hush of the wind will lull you to sleep and the cerulean waters that kiss the shores will calm your nerves. To the locals this is simply known as the Elephant Island but for the outsiders, this is the little Santorini of the Philippines.

The islet is originally owned by a business tycoon who once owned a big share of the country’s airline flag carrier until a Japanese visionary bought it from him and turned the islet into the country’s version of a little Santorini. Welcome to The Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa. The resort is a 45 minute drive from the airport which cruises along the coastal road of three municipalities of Marinduque. The drive will give you captivating glimpses of the shore with gentle waves that curl with the wind. A local airline, Zest Air services the province, one flight on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. When planning to give yourself a major pampering make sure to book with the hotel before going there in order for the hotel crew to pick you up from the airport since transportation going to the wharf is quite challenging. Upon arrival at the wharf, you will be taken to the island via a 10 minute pump boat ride.

What makes Bellarocca outstanding is their service oriented personnel. The crew will welcome you by singing local songs while they hang lei around your neck. Guests will then be ushered inside their reception area with refreshments and hot towel to freshen up from the long drive. While enjoying your drink, the manager will welcome you to the Greek-themed resort while some personnel will check your reservations. After a few minutes, a golf cart will take you to the main hotel where you will be checked-in. The Suite Room lives up to the name it was given. The huge bedroom is equipped with a plush king size bed loaded with tons of pillows that felt like clouds. The small living room area is also complete with all kinds of magazine if you don’t feel like surfing the cable channels. Also, the hotel made it sure that despite the distance away from the city you can still connect online with the provision of an internet service. The bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub is big enough to accommodate 2 people is complete with the finest toiletries made from organic materials.

Villas are also scattered within the resort for those who prefer outmost seclusion. These villas will be provided with their own golf carts. Guests who will be staying in the hotel also have their own golf cart and driver upon request without any charge. The hotel opened at the early part of 2009, it has massage parlors that are located at the top of the resort where you can enjoy the view while being pampered with your choice of massage style. An infinity pool is located near the water sports shop. The pool has a sunken bar which serves any drink you’d like to enjoy while soaking in the water. The resort is also equipped with water sport paraphernalia if you are into water activities. A little tip though, snorkeling is not as enjoyable as one would expect. The water is full of little jelly fish that stings really badly. But if you are up to the challenge soaking at the infinity pool for 30 minutes will cure the itch. Water sport rates starts from Php 600 and up. Breakfast can be served in your room or at the terrace that overlooks the Mt. Malindig. Romantic meals can be set up upon request. The resort has many romantic spots that overlook the water and enjoy the twinkling lights of the fisherman at night. The chef is always available to explain the specialty of the house and recommend good eats listed in the menu. The menu rates ranges from Php 200 and up.

And if you think you have eaten all the sinfully delicious food and think of shedding some unwanted weights, the resort has also an indoor gym. For more relaxation session, a library, a coffee shop and a pool table is also available.

A week in this beautiful island is not enough, but alas, time and money can easily fly away in this place. However, it is worth all the money you paid for. The warm accommodation, the romantic ambiance and the moments you spend with your love one will truly make one unforgettable getaway.

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