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Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa is a triple class A resort located in Marinduque. It’s famously known for its Santorini inspired architecture. Located in a secluded private island, it’s a perfect getaway for rejuvenation, rest and relaxation.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith featured it as one of the luxury hotel hideaways and romantic retreats in the Philippines. The list includes Amanpulo in Pamalican Islands and Abaca Boutique Resort in Mactan Island.
Back in 2009 I quit my job to do this 360 thing full time. Bellarocca was one of the resorts I approached to offer the 360 virtual service to. They were very interested and said they would definitely do business with me. A few months passed, no calls and no clients I went back to the corporate world. It was during my 2nd month at work that they did finally call. I got so excited, I was going to Bellarocca!
By the time of this writing I had already gone to Bellarocca twice, first was during the shoot and the second was when I returned there for the holy week break. I’m going to write about both my experiences there.
1st Visit – The shoot
We rode a mini bus and took the roro going there. I was with the Bellarocca marketing team John Tanjangco and Sheila Evano. We left at around 7pm on a Friday night from Makati. Traffic was so bad at SLEX because the skyway was still being constructed. Makati to Batangas port took around 5 hours. the roro ride to cawit port Marinduque was around 4 hours. From the port to the Bellarocca was maybe another 2 hours. I remember John said it was already the equivalent of a flight to Australia. So if you’re going there DON’T TAKE THE RORO. Zest air and sea air now offer flights to Marinduque.
I couldn’t tell how Marinduque looked since it was already around 1AM when we got there. The road going to bellarocca was dark and bumpy (on the latter part) so I started to wonder what I was going to expect since I couldn’t picture a resort being located in such a secluded place. Around 40 minutes into the ride I noticed a glowing object from afar, as we got closer it started to take shape. It was Bellarocca Island. I imagined the feeling would be similar to seeing an oasis in the middle of the dessert. There we were driving for 40 minutes in the darkness and all of a sudden you see a well lit Island. I’m not sure if everyone gets this feeling the first time they see the island, but I was like “Wow!! How the hell did they put that there?”
The resort has a small port on the main island. A 5 minute speed boat ride takes you to the resort. That morning we took the conventional wooden boat, I think the speed boat was under repair or something. It took us 10-15 minutes to get to the Island. When we got there a very hospitable staff welcomed us and a couple of golf carts we’re there to take us to the hotel. It was still dark but I clearly saw the details in the buildings. Even the road was made of bricks. The structures looked nice and all but when you think of the trouble they went through just to get everything there you really start to appreciate it more.
There are 4 accommodation types to choose from in Bellarocca : Hotel rooms, Terraza, Casas and Villas. You could see these in the 360 virtual tour just scroll right on the thumbnails section. The Casas are designed to accommodate 4-6 adults they’re located in the middle of the island so you won’t have a view of the sea or the mountain. I don’t have a 360 view of it since it was still being constructed during that time. The Terrazas are the 3 buildings overlooking mount Malindig. The garden and cliff villas are the buildings placed all over the island they all their own pool and Jacuzzi, no 2 villas are alike. I was only able to shoot one Villa, I think they called it Zeus. I’m not sure how the other Villas look.
Luckily we got to stay at one of the Terrazas. I was with Lester, the assistant of the other photographer Yukichicka Murayama (Master Yuki). Yuki was there to shoot stills while I was there to do shoot the 360 virtual tour. Lester said it was his first time to Join Yuki in an out of town shoot and he had no idea what Bellarocca was until he got there and boy was he surprised! John told me I could have brought an assistant with me. If I had known I think I could have easily gotten a volunteer.
I would just be rambling from here on about the shoot so I’m just going to let the 360 virtual tour do the talking.
Some people I met on the trip.
John and Lester
Master Yuki – He’s Japanese but speaks tagalog.
Sheila and me – this photo was taken from the golf course.
If people do planking I do “tulog shots”.
2nd Visit- Holy week break
I went back to Bellarocca during the 2011 holy week break with a friend. I will get into trouble if I tell more so I’ll keep it at that, haha. We took the plane this time, we booked a zest air flight. I’m not sure if it was just me but I think their air conditioning was broken, It was hot inside the plane. When we arrived at the airport the Bellarocca staff were already there waiting for us, it was hard to miss them. It was a very relaxing 4 days 3 night stay. We saw some celebrities, John Estrada was there with his wife Priscilla Meirelles. We enjoyed the food and the hospitality of the staff. I will definitely go back when I get the chance.
Here’s what we spent during that stay.
For 4 days 3 nights stay
Air fare : 8,108.00 zest air for 2 passengers. I booked this a week before.
Food : 7000++ for 2 persons. A meal costs around 300-500 Php
Accommodation : I have a special arrangement with them, I’m not sure what the real rates are. Sheila tells me there usually is a 30% discount on the published rates on their website and they usually have promos now with group buying sites and credit cards.
-Don’t forget to bring sun block. All the stores we passed thru didn’t sell any sun block. The resort did not sell any as well.
-Request to go to the golf course it’s on the main island not where the resort is. It’s a good place to take photos.
-They have dvd’s, books you can borrow at the library. A billiards table and a PC where you can use to surf the internet.