17 October 2011
Travel: Mai Birthday at Bellarocca
To celebrate my birthday, I went in search of a spa island in the Philippines. This land in the middle of the sea is a resort, spa and lifestyle island. This island’s name is Bellarocca.
Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa was launched in February 2009 and is scheduled to be fully operational by 2012. Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa offers an excellent experience given its white Santorini-inspired architecture on rough rolling cobblestone-lain terrain. The contrast between the azure blue sky above and the clear aquamarine water below makes this island truly amazing.
Going to Bellarocca in Marinduque would require you to travel by air, land, and sea. Marinduque flights are available daily via Zest Air. Flight from Manila to Marinduque takes approximately 30 minutes, weather-dependent.
After the plane ride, Bellarocca guests are greeted by Bellarocca staff at the airport. A Bellarocca van awaits guests at the airport and drives them for 45 minutes from the airport in Gasan and through the town of Buenavista. By the roadside are the views of the Sibuyan Sea and the three islands named Tres Reyes or the Three Kings.
To fully enjoy all facilities and amenities, we stayed in the Bellarocca Hotel. Other room options include the Terrazas and the Villas (low white buildings standing on a cliff, facing the main island of Marinduque). Hotel rates range from USD 420 to 660 per room. Terazza is worth USD 540 and Villa pricerange is from USD 840 to 1320, dependent on the number of rooms (1-bedroom or 2-bedroom villas).
Day one was awesome. We spent a big chunk of our day outdoors – – island tour, meditation in the outdoor meditation room, snorkeling, and swimming.
All aqua sports are managed by the Aqua Sports center. The small strip of man-made beach is the only beach Bellarocca has, and is good for water activities. I highly discourage leisure swimming in the beach, as waves are big and that aqua socks are needed to protect your feet from the stoney/coral-y sand.
We went snorkeling on day one. Life vest, aqua shoes, snorkeling gear were provided free of charge. We also had our own private guide to escort us to the well-preserved corals and colorful fishes. There were lots of blue starfishes and rainbow-colored fishes.
All activities we did from noon onwards were indoors – – DVD marathon, videoke, channel surfing, internet, billiards, etc. I also got to do some R&R in the bath tub.
While singing our hearts out in the videoke room in the evening, my complimentary birthday cake was served. Thanks Bellarocca staff! I was alsmost under the impression that the day would end birthday-cake-less.
Our third and last day was spent packing our bags and getting ready for the flight back home. Luggage was collected as early as 10 AM.
The service of the staff was truly excellent. Everyone was very polite and courteous. Everyone was very accommodating. They would stop what they were doing to attend to you immediately. Customer service = two thumbs up.
The facilities and amenities were extensive. The designs, decors, and architecture were superb.
There were two areas for improvement though:
1. Indoor Activities. There were free outdoor water activities in the aqua sports center. But given the possibility of rain, more indoor activities should be made available other than board games, internet, and dvds. I am positive that more activities shall be available soon. Bellarocca will have a new front desk supervisor soon. I am positive that she’ll do wonders (right Chet? =D)
2. Food. Food taste was ah-okay. However, taste does not directly correlate with the food price. I would normally willingly pay for expensive food, on the premise that its taste is excellent. I have been to several five star hotels and restaurants which serve better-tasting food at lower price. Bellaracca needs “to-rave-about food.”
Travel Spot: Bellarocca
Address: Barangay Tungib, Lipata, Municipality of Buenavista,
Province of Marinduque, Philippines
Phone number: +63.2.817.7290; +63.2.328.8831
Others: Prepare your credit card for convenience. Charge restaurant bill, spa services to your room.
Budget: hotel/terazza/villas range from USD 420 to 1320, good for two people. Extra person/bed is worth USD 60. Note that this not inclusive of meals, but inclusive of roundtrip land and sea transfers from the airport, welcome refreshments, accommodation (villas have their own eternity pool), internet cable connectivity in room, wifi connectivity in select public areas, golf cart service, access to resort amenities (9-hole golf course, 2 main pools, tea house, meditation sanctuary, gym, entertainment room, restaurant, library, etc).
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