By Gillian Gacuma | Photo by STAR’s Fernan Nebres
MANILA– A year ago, I was able to interview an inspiring woman for an article at The Philippine STAR. Until now, it’s still one of my favorite stories that I’ve written on the magic of discovering new places and self healing.
“For me, life didn’t end when they told me I had cancer,” said Punta de Fabian owner Teresita Fabian-Pamintuan. “Instead I continued to dream big and cherish every moment of my life with my children.”
Confused and feeling nearly hopeless in the face of her battle with stage 3 breast cancer in 1994, Pamintuan asked her driver to take her to different places just to escape her worries. “I traveled so much during those times, I almost didn’t stop until I found this hilltop lot in Baras, Rizal,” she said.
“I was in a wheelchair and on oxygen when I asked the owner of the lot to allow me inside the property. Fortunately he did. After an hour I finally reached the top, I paused, watched the scenery and said, Lord I’m so close to you that if you take me now I’m just right here,” she recalled.
The lot was sold to Pamintuan in 1995 and she developed it as a vacation house. Later on it became a family compound where different houses were built for each of her children. Relatives and family friends visited the compound. But Pamintuan would return to this spot many more times to reflect and relax.
“There was fear in my heart that time. If I won’t make it, what would happen to my children? So I worked even harder for them,” she said.
As the years passed and more structures were built, the lot evolved into what is now Punta de Fabian, the premier resort in Rizal province which formally opened in 2005.
Nestled on top of a hill in Baras, Punta de Fabian overlooks Laguna de Bay, the Sierra Madre mountain range and various Rizal towns. Local tourist destinations like the Daranak and colonial churches are also just a few minutes’ drive from the resort and tours can be arranged by resort staff.
The resort as it is now has 40 guest rooms with full amenities and services. The entire property and its wooden furniture were designed and produced by Pamintuan, who also has great interest in furniture making.
Recreational facilities include a game room with darts, board games and videoke. A lagoon-shaped infinity pool, multi-purpose court for basketball or volleyball and a life-sized maze compliment the vacation experience.
Punta de Fabian has a large lush garden and a function room which makes it an ideal place for corporate team building sessions and family gatherings. Even when the resort is full, Punta de Fabian still offers a relaxing atmosphere that lets you pick a spot to enjoy the view and spend quiet time.
Winning the battle against a series of cancer episodes was surely one of biggest challenges Pamintuan has faced; raising her four children as a single parent was another. “There was a time that I would sleep for only three hours a day and work tirelessly to ensure my children’s future,” she said.
The successful businesswoman employs staff from the towns of Rizal, while others formerly worked at Pamintuan’s residences. “I know how it was to have nothing but God has been very good to me, and I want to pass that blessing to other people,” she said.
Today, the resort stands as a testament to Paminutan’s victory against life’s myriad challenges and her drive to help the less fortunate. “Punta de Fabian was not built primarily for revenue, it was built as my legacy as a cancer survivor and I want to inspire people that it’not the end of life when you are sick. You could still do something with your life and for others.”
For many the resort is a place to enjoy Rizal’s beauty and bounty. For others, it’s a place that gives hope and inspiration.