Breaking Dusk: Spectacular Sunset and Supermoon in Bellarocca



Bellarocca's way to label the end of unforgettable day was so splendid. She broke a beautiful dusk before she fell asleep that night to please her guests even more. Her generosity was unwearied as she painted the horizon with stunning sunset of different shades of red, orange, and gold while her visitors gathered at the pier celebrating with sunset cocktails in hands, cheering for life.




From his point of view, Rome admired the spectacular golden sun rays around him on a gloaming twilight. Their group was very impressed as the sun went down over the horizon with such a captivating scenery. Sunset brought a remarkable change on the entire island, transforming its bright white villas and terrazas into a chameleon that briefly glows gold to red before working its way through the full gamut of blues, silvers and greys.




Unlike any other ordinary night, she commanded the moon to appear brighter and bigger on clear skies in all its glory against Mt. Malindig. Its brightness reflected on the white Mediterranean inspired Pavilion. They all gazed at the lunar perigee of super moon as it ascended.




A rare full moon at its closest distance to earth and a scenic sunset were magical moments, Rome thought. Somehow, it reminded him of the special relationship he has with everything around him..."We are all related and connected together in this universe. We are all part of God", he said. 





Sunset Cocktails in Bellarocca



A note that I found on our doorstep from Bellaroca management invited us to a sunset coctails at the end of our second day in Bellarocca to quench the heat of the day. It was held at the island's pier. 

Here's to me:  Ice Bear! A concoction of gin, creme de menthe green, creme de cacao and pineapple juice. My non-alcoholic companion chose the other, lemon grass iced tea. These unlimited cocktails were also inclusive and comes wih potato chips.

Our spirits lifted even higher as we sipped while gazing at the beautiful orange sun slowly drowned on the horizon. We raised our glasses and cheered....

Cheers for life!





Sip Piñacolada in Bellaroca



Away from the traffic lights but still in the tropical island of Greek gods and goddesses, we ordered refreshments at the nearby Pavilion to fill the gaps between swimming into the pool and dipping into the ocean. I had a nice piña colada to cool down my body's rising temperature while we soak up the sun.




On the middle of that day, we ordered light snacks instead of taking heavy lunch. We planned to avail The Clubhouse's dinner buffet later that day. Peachy ordered Panna Cotta and fresh watermelon shake. The creamy Panna Cotta dipped in passion fruit sauce looks delicate and divine.



 Panna Cotta Php 180++


I chose to have another serving of halo-halo. It  was indeed, the undefeated and the most refreshing treat of Philippine summer.


 Halo Halo, Php 185.00 ++


Eggs Benedict for Breakfast in Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa

Eggs Benedict, Php 320++

Eggs Benedict kickstarted our fabulous second day in the island. Like Anney and Peachy, I also tried the mouthwatering two halves of toasted English muffin, topped with ham, poached eggs and creamy, thick Hollandaise sauce. It was served with grilled tomato and veggies. At Php 320++, you might find this dish expensive. But hey, the price includes: breakfast al fresco, a scenic view of the ocean, and breathtaking backdrop of the volcanic mountain range of Mt. Malindig. If not Bellarocca, where else could you find such a wonderful breakfast at that price?




The aroma of the super soft and freshiest bread greeted us good morning as soon as we seated. It was served with butter and jam complimets of the resort.


Complimentary bread, butter and jam


My CIL ordered a set of Filipino breakfast. The set, at Php 780++, includes coffee/tea/hot chocolate, and a pandesal, chilled fruit juice or slices of fruits in season, two farm eggs, garlic rice, a soft roll, a slice of banana bread and a choice of bistik Filipino, tapa, daing na bangus or tocino. He chose tocino and shared it with ykaie.


 Filipino Breakfast Set (choice of tocino, tapa, daing na bangus or bistik filipino), Php 780++


I definitely enjoyed our brekfast. My only concern was my bigger tummy. I wondered if my extra small rash guard would still suits me, lol!


 slices of fruits in season, included in Filipino set of breakfasts.




Resort Review: Plunge Into Incredible Swimming Pools of Bellarocca Island Resort & Spa




"All in time, you gotta travel around the globe", Rome said to himself while letting himself mesmerized by the beauty of neighboring green cliffs and forest of  Mt. Malindig. While resting a bit in the balcony of their Terraza after a long and luscious lunch at the resort's Clubhouse, the tranquility of the place enabled him to rest in silence, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the Metro. Anney and Ykaie dressed in their rash guards woke him up, asking him to join them to make a splash into the resort's swimming pools. Excitement kicked-in when he finally remembered where he was. He jumped out from his bed, changed his clothes and called the front office to arrange a  golf cart service to pick them up from their Terraza to the seaside swimming pool.




Only guests who choose to stay in Bellarocca's garden and cliff villas will experience the best amongst the accommodations in the Santorini inspired island. They'll have their own infinity pool, outdoor jacuzzi or whirlpool, and exterior lounge area. Clientele like Rome's group, who chose to stay in suites, casas and terrazas however, have access to the three common swimming pool in the island; seaside swimming pool, hotel lap swimming pool, and natural hot spring pool.



The seaside swimming pool is just one of the incredible features of Bellarocca. it has a view of the ocean and a breathtaking backdrop - the volcanic mountain range of Mt. Malindig. The flowing water is clean, soft on the skin and hair, and there was no smell of chlorine. Freshwater in the island came from the nearby reservoir in the mainland Marinduque. The pool wasn't tiled though, they were told that the water is sulfuric and would destroy the tiles but water supply is treated and filtered to remove all mineral and chemical impurities.




The pool has a spectacular sun deck, gazebo, and a sunken bar in bright white. They ordered refreshments from the nearby Seaside Pavilion. They noticed that staff are attentive without being obtrusive. Green-striped fresh towels were handed to them, free of charge.




On their way to the Terraza, passing through the lap pool, they were tempted to splash out again. The hotel lap pool is hidden away in this quiet residential neighborhood behind Bellarocca's main entrance and open to guests until 9 PM everyday.




Surrounded by palm tress and classic Mediterranean inspired suites, they dived in and did race laps from one end to another. When Rome tried to float, azure blue sky above smiled at him, he felt total serenity and calmness. Its like they own the entire island. Water was warm and no other guest plunged in until the end of that day.





Private Dinner at Terraza 305, Bellarocca Island Resort & Spa


Linguine with Arrabiata, Php 440++ and Penne with Pesto Php, 390++


If you could be pasta sauce, what would you be? Would you be Arrabiata or Pesto? 

Arrabiata is made from garlic, tomatoes, and red chili peppers cooked in olive oil while traditional Pesto consist of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese), and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep's milk). These are the sauces of the pasta we have shared on our first dinner in Bellarocca. Arrabiata over Linguine and Pesto to Penne.


Seafood Marinduque Salad, Php 390++


It was after the long day of cam-whoring swimming when we opted to dine at the comfort and privacy of Terraza 305 where we were billeted. Terrazas in Bellarocca has a dinning area that's so glorious and encouraging to use. High ceiling, personal bar, kitchenette, and  glass-topped table with six comfortable seats. Dishes we've chosen were from the Clubhouse menu.

I loved our seafood starter. The flavorful Seafood Marinduque Salad was cooked rare, it contained of prawns, squid, tanigue and mussles on a bed of mango, cucumber and mandarin pieces with oriental dressing. It was served with fish extract, lime and sambal.


Pizza Napolitana Php, 460++


Pizza Napolitana was served the way we liked it, hot and cheesy. Toppings are tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, capers and oregano.


Lechon Kawali, Php 440++

We also ordered Lechon Kawali with pickled papaya for Ykaie and my CIL, he definitely deserves pork dish after abstaining for a year, his wifey Peachy thought so.  Alvin, my CIL, who works in Dubai also brought a bottle of bubbly Martini Asli champagne that concluded our dinner to perfection.






Room Review: Terraza 305, Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa, Marinduque, Philippines



The luxurious, Santorini-inspired architecture of Terraza 305 in Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa is where the Greek gods and goddesses (Rome, Anney, Peachy, Alvin and Ykaie) nestled for three days and two nights when they had a luxury break last summer. 

After a quick orientation at the lobby, complimentary golf cart service brought them to the elevated Terraza 305, along the ridges of the island adjacent to the view of Mt Malindig. As they entered to the pre-cooled Terraza, it opened to a high ceiling dinning room with six setter dinning table.




Welcome letter and snacks of banana spring rolls and sweet cassava await on the glass-topped table when they arrived. Electronic Coffee and tea kettle, well-stock personal bar, kitchen utensils neatly placed inside the drawers, and refrigerator full of soda, cold water, and alcoholic beverages completed the dinning area.




Their Terraza has two hardwood floors bedrooms and are equipped with individually-controlled air-conditioning system, each have a private verandah offering the best and uninterrupted view of Mt Malindig. The majestic view seems like adjoined to their rooms.  

The 2nd time honeymooners, Peachy and Alvin along with their princess Ykaie shared the King size bed while Rome and Anney occupied the twin bed room upstairs. Extremely comfortable, the beds are not too hard nor too soft...and generously fitted with soft sheets and a down comforter. Silver Secrets pillows made in geese feathers gave them utmost comfort and fairytale dreams at night that they wished not to leave.




The two bedrooms was beautifully furnished with a range of modern day gadgets; Skype – enabled Belkin telephone, Plasma TV with complete DVD Player and home theater stereo systems, satellite cable TV, and Electronic safe deposit box for their valuables. Not to mention, complimentary internet connectivity in the room and in general public areas. Rome put Enya's music on iPod dock and hifi compact sound systems that sets their mood up to sheer relaxation.





Their "oooohhhhsss" echoed in the spacious modern bath over the potions and shampoos on offer: All natural—L’Occitane, AVEDA, REN, Molton Brown, take that! Dental care, his & hers bathrobe, and slippers are also complimentary. The honeymooner's room has a bath tub. The shower in Rome's bath has its own room with enormous shower head which shoots out an enveloping torrent of steaming hot and stimulating cold water. It was such a delight.




Room with a serene view:  the most immediate and lasting impression as a guest at Bellaroca, was the silence. 




Overall, Bellaroca's accommodations never failed to deliver their promise of elegance and luxurious comfort with a touch of a home-like essence. While such luxury seems slightly out of place in these frugal times, particularly in the Philippines, Bellaroca is a proof that quality is always priceless.




============oo0oo===========


Post Script: The published rate of the package was Php 120,560 but they got it for just Php 48,500 excluding airfare through Deal Dozen, a website that sell hotel reservation at a discounted price. Meals and traditional free breakfast are excluded too but the package includes  Php 20,000 welcome value credit which can be used for food and beverage, mini bar, massages, marine sports such as windsurfing, hobie cat sailing, jet skiing, etc, which was, they thought, more of our advantage. 

Meryenda in Bellaroca: Halo Halo

Halo Halo, Php 185.00 ++

"Is it the cleverest idea to post summer treats during rainy season?", I heared you asking. 

Because I felt you, like me, you missed hot weather too ...and the snacks our favorite season brings.

In between meals, meryenda is what we call snack/s here in the Philippines. A small or light meal to fill the gaps between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Another legacy from Spanish colonization, the word itself was adapted from Spanish word, merienda. We have a wide array of snacks from savory to sweet, hot to cold. Among the local snacks, Arroz Caldo, Banana Spring Rolls, Mais con Heilo, Bananaque, Champurrado, Ginataang Halo-halo, Pancit, and Rice Cakes are my favorites and are among the popular snacks here in my homeland.

A refreshing snack during summer, Halo-halo is the most popular one. Ingredients includes but not limited to; sweetened kidney beans, nata de coco (coconut gelatin), kaong (sweet palm fruit), sago (pearls similar to boba), coconut sport (macapuno), chickpeas, plantains caramelized in sugar, gulaman, tapioca, and nata de coco placed inside the tall container or bowl, followed by the shaved ice then sprinkled with pinipig ( pounded crushed young rice ) and topped with either (or a combination of) leche flan, purple yam (ubeng pula), or ice cream.





International Release: Sassa Wet Suit



Bellaroca Island was indeed, picturesque ...and I have a lot of pictures to show you on my travel and food blogs on my upcoming posts. I didn't intend to use my green wet suit all over again on this Greek inspired island resort. The idea is to complete a different kind of wet suit collage (which I will share to you once done).



A month before our trip to the island, I decided to buy a new pair of wet suit for the highly anticipated vacation and let my green one retire. Problem was, I had a hard time finding a wetsuit that would suit me and my budget. I only had Php 1,000.00 max for this piece of wetsuit but the ones that I found in the mall was way too much of budget ranging from Php 1,500.00 - 5, 000.00. I'm not really a diver and I frequent the beach because I am more of a fresh water baby and I only want to have a new one for the photo shoot. I've decided to search the net for some bargain first before I overspend again. 

Two weeks before the great escapade, my cousin Pinky bought two good pairs of Sassa wet suits with cool "girly" designs on playful colors. Sassa wetsuits are designed for girls only but their wet suits are within my allocated budget and it fits me well when I tried it. A week before the departure, I paid a visit at Sassa's outlet in Robinsons Manila and found one without much of that "girly" design but it was too large for me. It was summer season and they were running out of stock at that time but i was not loosing hope. I asked the sales lady if she could check their stock and luckily or maybe because of my hard prayers, she found the last one of my size. I bought it right away for  Php 700.00. SShhh, don't tell anyone its for girls *wink!



Arrival in Bellarocca Resort and Spa



Straight from night shift, Rome met his cousins at NAIA airport terminal 3 only to found out that they were at the wrong terminal. They rode another taxi that brought them to Manila Domestic Airport which was, unfortunately,  another wrong terminal. They took another 15 minutes taxi ride to the "old terminal" as the driver called it and finally found Zest Air terminal that would bring them to the island of Marinduque. Like any other local carrier, their fight was delayed for about an hour.

Round-trip ticket was about Php 3500.00/pax at a discounted price. It was their first time to ride in such a small airplane. Rome sat by the window, and was a little bit scared when he saw the plane's propeller. Anney, on the other hand, was complaining about the aircraft's smell. There's no other aircraft that travels from Manila to Marinduque but Zest Air (three times per week), so they didn't complaint. Although their flight was delayed for about an hour, they touched Marinduque's airport safely. 





Bellarocca's airport staff were waiting at the airport and gave them a very warm welcome soon as they step out from the airport. Bottles of cold water and fresh towels were given to them so they could freshen up after their long journey. From the airport, it took another 30-45 minutes land travel to reach the port and another 5 minute speed boat ride to the island. They were treated like gods and goddesses when they arrived, the staff welcomed them with local songs, dance, flowers, and warm smiles. Welcome drinks were served at the lobby while quick orientation was also held.




Late Lunch at The Clubhouse, Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa


 


The original value of our package trip to Bellarocca was Php 120,560 for three days and two nights stay but we got it for Php 48,500 excluding airfare. It was a big bargain - more than 50%! Thanks to my cousin Anney who had access to the deals being offered online. The package does not have free breakfast but includes  Php 20,000 welcome value credit which can be used for food and beverage, mini bar, massages, marine sports such as windsurfing, hobie cat sailing, jet skiing, etc.




As soon as we unpacked our belongings and picked our beds, we decided to have lunch at the Resort's clubhouse where buffet lunch was served at Php 750.00 per person, ++.  I can't decide what to eat, so I made salad first mixing different colors of fresh veggies here and there and sprinkled poured parmesan cheese. Ooohh, cheese is love!



There were soup, bread rolls, different kinds of cheese, pasta in red and white sauces, pork barbecue, sausages, grilled fish and squid in lemon butter sauce, rice and sweet treats. I was so standoffish with the soup because I've been in a soup diet for 2 weeks prior to this trip so I fixed myself some pasta and picked sun dried tomato sauce and cheese. It was my first solid food after two weeks....ahhh, how I missed real food.




The grilled fish was fresh catch as my taste buds suggested, and the squid... tender. i also tried their sausages but it doesn't pleased my sense of taste. I indulged more on pork barbecue instead.




The desserts were not extraordinary but who Am I to say no to these sweet treats: fruit salad, turon de saba, and assorted cookies. 

For Php 750.00++ it was really expensive but on the second thought, considering their location and the availability of the ingredients, was fair.