General Admission

The Rush launch in Balesin

By Al S. Mendoza

I wrote this in Balesin Island, the so-called paradise in Quezon Province found in Polilio town some 300 kms northeast of Manila.

The Balesin Resort, consisting of nearly 600 hectares of forest land with white sand beaches surrounding it, is solely owned by Roberto V. Ongpin.

The resort is divided into seven major places with motifs of different cultures from Europe and Asia.

The Phuket Villa is a bit of Thailand, Bali is Indonesia, Mykonos is Greece, Costa del Sol is Spain, Toscana is Italy and St. Tropez is France.

Since Balesin is a high-end resort and absolutely much more expensive than Boracay, room rates range from P20,000 to P30,000 a day.

A six-bedroom house can be rented at P240,000 and a three-bedroom house is pegged at P120,000 a day.

But even if you can afford it, you just can’t enter the resort if you are not a member.

You can only stay at Balesin if accompanied by a resort member.

Non-members cannot enter Balesin by boat from either the Quezon towns of Real or Infanta.

But if you are part of not less than a 30-person entourage having a team-building or celebrating a wedding, you can enter the resort.

Balesin actually became famous when Senator Chiz Escudero and actress Heart Evangelista got married there a while back.

Recently, TV/movie celebrities Billy Crawford and Coleen Garcia also exchanged vows at the resort.

I was also told that megastar Sharon Cuneta just bought a share at Balesin.

You can reach Balesin by plane from either Clark Pampanga or Manila.  Air travel is only about 25 minutes.

And why am I here in Balesin?

It is here where Toyota capped the 14th edition of its iconic Road Trek, an event that allows select motoring journalists to test-drive a new model.

This time, our test-unit was the Rush, whose looks combine the sterling external features of the Fortuner and Innova.  Its biggest asset is that its three variants are pegged at very reasonable prices.

Even before the four Rush models got transported to Balesin through a sea barge, Toyota has been receiving orders in bunches months before it was launched some two weeks ago in Manila.

“We take pride once more in having a new model that is again being warmly received by our loyal customers,” said Jing Atienza, a senior vice president of Toyota Motor Philippines.  “Orders keep pouring in and we promise the public of our continued good service and quality vehicles.”

Jing’s fellow Toyota officials in the Rush launch in Balesin included Kei Mizuguchi, Lexus president Raymond T. Rodriguez, Sherwin ChuaLim, Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, Carlo Ablaza, Jade B. Sison and Toyota president Satoru Suzuki.

Thank you for the fond memories, guys.

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