On Wednesday, I was in Balesin for all of two hours, for a very nice and healthy lunch.
I didn't know we were going to Balesin until just before we took off.
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TOSS A COIN AND FLY...
When I woke up in the morning, my friend had sent me a BBM with about four or five destination choices for a short flight and lunch.
Everything depended on the weather.
|Blue waters on one side of the island...|
But anyway, I was at his office at the agreed-upon time, dressed very casually for wherever we were going to find ourselves at. I was up for the guessing game, and all I knew was that we were going somewhere in the Philippines.
Talk about an interesting Travelife here.
But, yes, he actually is the original Travelife perhaps -- because he's been living the Travelife ever since I first met him an entire lifetime ago.
A MERRY PARTY FOR LUNCH
My friend was taking his staff, and he had one other guest -- an ambassador of a pretty important country. I thought the ambassador's wife was coming too, but it was just the two of us as his guests for lunch on Wednesday.
Then we hopped into a vehicle and drove to the heliport at the Fort, as this was where he'd decided to take off from.
A PLEASANT 27 MINUTES
It was a very pleasant flight in his state-of-the-art helicopter.
I so enjoyed looking at the city and the countryside from up high, especially as it was not too high that everything below was just a blur.
When we passed Caliraya, my friend began pointing out people's weekend homes.
I saw a couple of really gorgeous properties right by the lake.
This was also the first time I realized how beautiful the topography of Lake Caliraya is.
A 360 OF BALESIN
Finally we reached Balesin.
The nice thing about having your own plane or chopper is that you can do what you want.
|Balesin's Mykonos complex|
So my friend took the radio and said: "Balesin, we're going to do a 360 of the island before landing, if that's okay."
So we didn't do the usual golf cart tour of the island. Instead, we did a close fly-by of the entire island from the air.
This really gives you a nice perspective of everything, especially as we could fly very close to the structures and inspect everything.
|Balesin's St. Tropez complex|
Eventually we landed on the airstrip, and there was a welcoming committee to greet us.
TWO ROOMS OF GUESTS ON THIS BIG ISLAND
|Balesin's Phuket complex|
"How many guests do you have today?" I asked the manager.
When we'd done the fly-by around the island, you see, one of the things I'd noticed is that there were no people in the pools or on the beaches. It may be hard to notice this on a plane, but when you're in a helicopter flying close and slowly, you certainly see everything.
And everything was quiet like a cluster of model villages.
The manager replied very candidly: "We have two rooms occupied right now."
Yes, you heard right. This island can have about 700 guests on weekends, and yesterday, there were two rooms of guests.
My friend said: "Well, we've just doubled your occupancy rate. Even just for a few hours."
|This village is under construction|
WEEKDAYS SOUND LIKE A GREAT DEAL TO ME
And talk about a good deal here.
If you go to Balesin on a weekday, you basically have the entire island to yourself for the price of a luxury hotel room in Manila.
As I told another friend last night, a weekday stay in Balesin, having practically the entire island and staff to yourself, is probably the best deal in town.
Unfortunately, we flew out of Balesin after about two hours of a very nice and relaxing lunch because we wanted to avoid cloudy weather.
And in less than 30 minutes, I was back at the Fort and in my car, on the way back to work, after just another short and delicious trip in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.
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