THE first time I got to visit Club Punta Fuego, an exclusive 88-hectare residential development luxury in Nasugbu, Batangas, inspired by Fisher Island in Miami, I felt as if I were in a totally different world. The rolling terrain of the “private peninsula” which looks out to the West Philippine Sea and the Mediterranean-inspired homes lining its roadways felt like one of the luxury vacation islands in Europe, such as Saint- Tropez and Monte Carlo in the French Riviera, that royalties and the rich and influential people in the world love to hie off to for private vacations. Punta Fuego (*whose name means “point of fire”) felt – and looked – like a piece of the European coast that has been transported to the Philippines. This is especially so towards Fuego Point, which is the farthest tip of Punta Fuego which looks out to sea like a formidable bastion. You’d almost imagine seeing an old lighthouse beaming a beacon out to sea.
Another time I was in Punta Fuego, there was a Spanish food festival going on at the Clubhouse. There was also a regatta taking place, and the sight of all those colorful sailboats out at sea as we were ferried by speedboat to the other property of Landco Pacific Corporation just 20 minutes away, Terrazas de Punta Fuego, was simply amazing. It was clearly the lifestyle of the rich and famous that we were experiencing.
Then there was the time when noted interior designer Cocoy Cordoba invited some members of the press to witness the formal inauguration of his new home, a palatial house with Moroccan-Turkish influences to go with the Mediterranean theme of Punta Fuego. It stood near Fuego Point, and the dusk housewarming rites had Cocoy riding down Fuego Point on a horse with fireworks in the sky. Awesome!
Well, last Independence Day (June 12, 2013), a holiday, my husband Raff and I got to visit Punta Fuego once again, this time to stay overnight in a casita and experience the Punta Fuego lifestyle for no occasion at all. Oh, yes, it was Independence Day, but there was no event coverage involved – just a private getaway.
As it does with members and guests who go to Punta Fuego for a vacation, even just an overnight stay, Punta Fuego, through Lando Pacific’s AVP for corporate communications and marketing Maritess ‘Mawi’ de Ocampo, made arrangements for a Nissan Urvan Escapade to pick us up in Manila and ferry us to Punta Fuego. On the way to Batangas, our driver informed us that another van had picked up another pair of media guests from Quezon City, also for an overnight stay at Punta Fuego. We learned that it was Celebrity Recipes photographer Boy Llaneta and his wife Alice, and a text message to our colleague confirmed that. Cool!
It was a smooth and very pleasant 2-1/2-hour ride to Punta Fuego, where we arrived at half past 2:00 p.m. Our driver dropped us off at the Clubhouse of Club Punta Fuego, where we formally checked in and were led to our casita. Punta Fuego actually has 33 casitas, apart from two loft suites, 11 sea view rooms, a garden view room and two inner rooms. All casitas are spacious 72-square-meter rooms with double queen size beds, a work area, an intimate table for two for sharing snacks and drinks with, a spacious bathroom with a mini garden outside, and a terrace for watching the glorious sunset in Batangas.
I surveyed the bathroom, which was so spacious it had its separate sink area, toilet area and shower area . I’ve seen this before, when we were toured around the casitas in previous visits to Punta Fuego, but I was still initially concerned about the glass wall of both the toilet and shower areas that looked out to the mini garden outside. Funny. I had to go out of the casita and check to see if anybody can actually look in from above the high wall of the pocket garden. Finally feeling convinced that nobody could, I walked back inside the casita and never made a fuss about it again.
As we usually did, Raff spent most of the afternoon watching TV in the room while I worked on some articles on my trusted Twinhead laptop. There were plenty of places to explore that afternoon had we wanted to. We could go swimming at the Double Infinity Pool that “poured out” to sea at the Main Clubhouse, or get a massage at the Ylang-Ylang Spa, maybe visit the 9-hole Executive Golf Course or the Punta Fuego Yacht Club. But the skies were gloomy and I just wanted to enjoy the air-con in the room, so we stayed in the casita.
Then we met up with Boy and Alice and had dinner together at the Clubhouse’s main restaurant, San Diego Restaurant. We had a set menu that started with a bowl of Cream of Mushroom Soup, a main course of Pan-seared Salmon with Mashed Potato and Vegetable sides, and ended with a dessert of Caramelized Peaches on Vanilla Ice Cream. It was just perfect for a rainy evening, especially since salmon happened to be one of my favorite fish dishes, and San Diego Restaurant had it as one of the choices for the main course. The other choice was a meat dish but, of course, not being a red meat eater, I naturally opted for the salmon.
After a little chat, we inched our way through the drizzling outdoors back to our casitas. Not being able to connect to the Internet (*there was a note on the table that said Internet connections may be a little problematic on those days since repairs were being made to make the connections stronger), Raff and I watched the alien invasion movie Battleship on TV and then called it a night. We needed a full night’s sleep because we had to go to work the next day, upon arrival back in Manila, and then the day after, Friday (June 14, 2013), we were “flying” to Cagayan de Oro for a three-day adventure tour.
Breakfast the next morning was buffet at San Diego Restaurant. Raff and I started with a small plate of fresh fruits for our daily fiber intake. Then we each had a small portion of Tossed Green Salad with vinaigrette dressing. Next was a breakfast platter, where I combined Fried Bangus Daing, Maryland Fried Chicken and Longganisa Fried Rice (*I carefully picked out most of the longganisa bits, sorry!) and Mushroom and Tomato Omelette. Raff had the omelette made at the egg station located in the corridor right outside the restaurant. He assembled his own breakfast platter, which looked very similar to mine, haha. We both also tried a small portion of the Arroz Caldo, which guests assembled on their own. Boy and Alice had their own breakfast preferences, but we all enjoyed breakfast and each other’s company.
There were a lot of other food, such as Mini Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Corned Beef Canapés, Hotdogs, Bacon, Corned Beef Hash, Pancakes, a cheese and nuts platter, assorted breads and pastries, and sweets, but that’s gluttony already. We took our time over breakfast, savoring our food slowly and truly enjoying every mouthful.
At a little before 12 noon, we packed our bags, checked out and got ready to roll back to the grind in Manila. Our drivers pulled up in front of the Clubhouse, Raff and I said our good-byes to Boy and Alice, and got into our own assigned vans that would take us to Makati and the Llanetas back to Quezon City. Our friendly and ever-helpful driver, Dexter, dropped us off at Waltermart Makati, where he had picked us up the previous day, and went on his way. Right in the nick of time, I should say. Pasong Tamo and Pasay Road, which bordered Waltemart Makati, were to become flooded and chaotic a few minutes from then. But that is a totally different story.
Thank you to Maritess ‘Mawi’ de Ocampo of Landco Pacific, Carl of Club Punta Fuego for making the arrangements for the accommodations, Trixie for taking charge of the transportation arrangements, Dexter for getting us from Manila to Punta Fuego then back to Manila safely, and Ika Ysmael and Rosary Ismael of YMV for a fun and relaxing stay at Club Punta Fuego.
(Club Punta Fuego is located at Brgy. Balaytigue, Nasugbu, Batangas. For reservations, call584-4405 or 843-8700. Its Manila Office is at 15/F, 139 Corporate Center, Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City, with trunkline no. 553-8888.)