The name is familiar, ubiquitous in fact. If you traverse the main roads of Metro Manila, you’d see his posters for his review centers. And they’re not just in Metro Manila. They’re in most cities, major of course, across the archipelago.
You also hear his voice on the radio. He is the voice behind DZMM’s Radyo Negosyo. He is also a singer. His singing voice has been included in a compilation album iDream along with the country’s noted performers like Isay Alvarez and Robert Seña.
As if those aren’t enough, he ventured into film production. His first was Nars (2007, director, Adolfo Alix, Jr.; starring: Jennelyn Mercado and Coco Martin), and he followed it up with Maestra (director: Lemuel Lorca; starring Angeli Bayani).
Carl Balita was educated to be a nurse, but he knew, deep in his heart, that he is cut out for bigger things than being in a hospital and caring for the sick and dying. So, he pursued higher learning and at the same time learned the ropes of business, starting with a review center for nurses who would be taking the nursing board examinations. The review center expanded eventually to offer courses for others students of various fields and then it grew to become the most popular of all review centers in the Philippines.
Balita is a Mindoreño, born and raised in the island. He loves his roots but is sometimes dismayed that progress comes too slow for the province.
Now that he has made a name for himself, secured his future with his family, he felt the urge to give back. And he did last year, before the holidays, when he opened Mahalta Resort and Convention Center on a 1.5 hectare-property in Barangay Parang in Calapan City overlooking Calapan Bay.
“What I dreamt of a retirement home evolved into something like this,” he chuckled when he showed us around the resort.” But it was a good evolution, right? More than a retirement home, I am able to contribute something to Calapan.
Mahalta, the name he gave to the resort is a portmanteau from Mangyan, Halcon ( a mountain in Mindoro), and Tamaraw (the cousin of the water buffalo called Carabao).
It was just the day after the official opening, and it had been raining intermittently. A leak on the roof here and there had made Balita’s second day busier than what it should have been, but he was glad he was able to see those minor construction blunders and immediately addressed them.
The resort was abuzz with finishing touches and cleaning up after the official opening the day before. Chairs were being gathered and put in one corner of the resort while sweepers were making sure the surroundings were spotless. Guests who stayed after the opening were enjoying the light rain soaked in the pool, while photographers clicked their cameras with local models posing for the resort’s planned promotional blitz.
Over coffee and some native Mindoreño breakfast fare of dried fish, scrambled eggs, and some fried hotdogs, Dr. Carl didn’t hesitate to articulate his mission-vision for Mahalta. “I want this paradise to grow as a place where moments and memories become one.”
Mahalta’s opening has opened jobs for local residents and opportunities for local craftsmen and artisans. Even local boatmen were trained to serve as tourist guides, fetching additional income for them.
Mahalta’s development, Balita said, will be in three phases. First is the hotel, restaurant, and pool. With 14 well – appointed rooms, each with a theme, on two levels are now functional. There are also two social halls for events, like wedding or christening receptions.
The second and now under construction is a convention center that can accommodate 500 persons.
And the third are single detached villas in the style of log cabins on the hill opposite where the resort is now.
Mahalta he said is his tribute to his beloved home province Mindoro. The resort is littered with signs and symbols that characterize the island.
A life-size image of a Tamaraw, rendered in solid, heavy marble, stands guard in the front garden. A marble statue of a Mangyan Prince welcomes guests on their way to the gazebo that serves as function hall.
Balita believes in using indigenous and other raw materials sourced from the local community. Served fresh are seafoods, meats, and vegetables sourced from the local market or suppliers.
Closer to home is an herbal garden called Lyne’s Farm-acy, named after Balita’s wife Lyne, a medical doctor.
In another part of the yard, covered with what seems like evergreen Bermuda grass, is Siony’s Vegetable Garden, named after Balita’s mother.
Balita intimated that in time, the resort’s kitchen can use locally grown organic crops.
One of his three chefs, Chris, is foreign-trained, having worked for years at an international cruise liner.
Activities available at Mahalta in the coming days include paddle boarding, kayaking, jetski and banana boat rides. Guests can also go on an island hopping to explore the three islands on Calapan Bay.
In fact, singer-actor Robert Seña and his wife Isay Alvarez, who were Balita’s guests during the opening, had gone on an island hopping and (guess what?) they spotted and came up close and personal with a pod of dolphins. They were so excited they just had to tell us about their experience.
So, if you want a piece of paradise near Metro Manila, take the Ocean Jet or Fast Cat from Batangas City and in less than two hours, you will be in Mahalta, where “moments and memories become one.”
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