Santorini is one of the most fascinating islands in Greece, with its mesmerizing cliff-side white houses, panoramic ocean, sunset views and beachfront fun. When you package all those things in a place just an hour away from Metro Manila, you have Bellarocca. Located at Elephant Island in Marinduque and started just over two years ago, Bellarocca has immediately established its reputation as a must visit luxury resort in the region.
The Beautiful Rock
With such a reputation, I’ve wanted to get a feel of what makes this Island so enticing to both local and foreign tourist. I was able to book a three-day weekend and there I was, with high expectations and all ready to visit the island also known as the beautiful rock.
It took a 40-minute plane ride from Manila, 45 minutes of land travel and another 5 minutes by speed boat. We were welcomed by the ever-friendly staff at the foot of the lush green island, decked with Greek Santorini-inspired white structures and cobblestone paths. It was truly a beautiful rock.
We were housed in a Terraza, which is a spacious two-bedroom villa, with a bathroom in each room and a dining area. It’s just a few steps away from the clubhouse and was overlooking the Aqua Sports area and Mt. Malindig, the location of Bellarocca’s 9-hole golf course. We also get a nice sunset and sunrise view from the veranda of the Terraza.
After the requisite island tour, the first thing I tried was wind-surfing… wind surfing… wind surfing. Well, you really need a lot of tries on this one as you tend to fall most of the time from balancing the sail, the wind, and the weight of lifting the sail. I did fall a lot but I had brief moments of being able to balance the sail; so I’ll take that, along with the liters of sea water I swallowed from falling so often. We also got a chance at a dip in the sea and the nearby infinity pool fronting the ocean.
Next up was a taste of the food. At first, you’d get intimidated by the prices but when you get to taste their various dishes, you’ll realize it was well worth it. We never had a meal that we didn’t like, didn’t appreciate and didn’t finish. It had a unique taste and had a lot of variety. I’m tipping my hats off to the chef for the great meals. Come to think of it, the price is not really that far from the regular lunch and dinner rates in Makati.
After all the luscious meals, I’d need to burn it off with an early morning 5K run. It was invigorating running here. The courteous staff would greet you good morning every time you pass them. The weather was still cool and a bit drizzly; and the uphill terrain was really challenging. Running is always a nice way to explore places.
I also had a few minutes at the gym, using the treadmill and doing some sit ups while awaiting my trip to the golf course. They have a 9-hole golf course just across the island. I’m no golfer but I still went there for a photo opportunity and it had a splendid view of Bellarocca. The course is easily accessible via a few minutes in a speed boat and a short drive.
It was the first time for my Mom and Tita at kayaking and snorkeling. The kayak around the island was a real workout, a good way to see the island, and a chance to appreciate the various rock formations around the island and the clear waters of the ocean. The snorkeling in the Marina area was also impressive, with so many fish and marine life in the area. Bellarocca staff members assist you in kayaking and snorkeling. All of these, including my wind-surfing adventure, are complimentary for guests and I was able to try them all.
It’s already quite a tiring day so I’d doze off watching DVDs from my room. I’d also glance at people trying out the different water sports from time to time. It seemed everybody had the same experience I had at wind surfing. I think all-in-all, I was able to use most of the facilities and was able to make the most out of this trip.
Sent Off By A Rainbow
We were completely satisfied but even as I checked out and settled our dues, we were still in for another surprise. We were sent off by a rainbow…. no, make that two rainbows. This concludes my first date with Bella and I will say that as I definitely would want to come back here. Time and again, you need to pamper yourself and doing it on this beautiful rock is definitely refreshing. People get the impression that Bellarocca is such a pricey place to visit but there are good deals that make it in the same price range or even cheaper as other vacation spots. Try it. You’ll definitely love this beautiful rock.
Published at Yapak Travel and Leisure November 2011 Issue http://yapaktravel.com/magazine/out-article1-nov2011.php