The perks of being an exclusive country club member

OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes - The Philippine Star
The perks of being an exclusive country club member
The “rock star” of The Palms Country Club: Executive chef and general manager Hans Rudolf Neukom

It could be the warm and familiar greeting of the wait staff; or how the chef and general manager knows your food allergies, and the number of olives to put in your martini.

Working hard to know the members and keep them happy is what the Palms Country Club in Alabang does best. And its 2,177 members could attest to that.

“I can still remember the memories that I have with The Palms Country Club,” shares celebrity host and former athlete Christine Jacob-Sandejas during the launch of its 21st anniversary celebration, last Oct. 5 at The Continental. “The New Year’s Eve celebrations, the memorable dinners we had in the club’s various restaurants, and the wonderful birthday celebrations. The Palms has always been our home away from home.”

The Palms Country Club is the first of its kind in the country to join the International Associate Clubs (IAC)

Christine was joined by her husband Paco Sandejas, The Palms Country Club president and CEO Francis Gotianun, board of directors Andrew Gotianun III, Catherine Ilagan, Joy Lagdameo, Manolito Gonzales, Ruffy Biazon, celebrity couple Tweetie de Leon and Mon Gonzales, and select members of the Lifestyle press.

Designed to bring the club lifestyle to a new level, the Palms Country Club is a private enclave to relax with family, friends, and business associates.

Guests feasted on a lavish spread at the Continental prepared by chef Hans Neukom and his team.

So what can club members expect from The Palms in its 21st year and beyond?

“They can expect continuity of what they’ve always had which is excellent service, amenities and food,” enthuses Francis Gotianun, president and CEO of The Palms Country Club. “It’s really a story about pushing the envelope to offer only the best to our members.”

The Continental general manager and executive chef Hans Neukom, who Christine refers to as the “rock star” of Palms Country Club, has prepared a lavish spread — lobster thermidor, lamb steak, Hainanese chicken rice, Peking duck and truffle pasta made table side in a Parmigiana Reggiano wheel, cochinillo and a whole leg of Jamon Iberico, among others — befitting the club’s milestone and the biggest reveal to date.

After all, it’s not every day that an exclusive club turns 21. And more importantly, it’s not every day that a private club becomes the first of its kind in the country to join the International Associate Clubs (IAC).

“And this is probably the best gift we can give to our more than 2,000 members,” enthuses Francis.

A dream come true

According to Neukom, who has been with The Palms since it opened its doors in 2002, being part of the IAC was a dream of their lady boss, Josephine Gotianun-Yap.

“She just got back from one of her travels after the pandemic at that time,” shares chef Neukom in a one-on-one interview, “and she told me it would be nice if we go around the world and would find something similar to Palms, ‘where we can stay, dine, and meet friends.’ Over the years, we were searching to find something like that. It took us around six months before meeting all of the IAC’s requirements.”

The application process was rigorous, but the accreditation made the grueling six months worth it.

“The IAC was very strict because it’s such an exclusive and prestigious club. It’s not something anybody can join. They wanted to know how we screen our members, and how the Palms Country Club is actually run and governed,” adds Neukom.

The accreditation provides reciprocity to IAC’s global network of 200 lifestyle luxury membership private clubs across the US, Europe, Australia, Africa and Southeast Asia.

The network includes some 40 golf courses, over 100 clubs with athletic or sports facilities, and some 2,500 villas in IAC’s Luxury Resort Collection.

“If you’re a member of Palms, automatically, you get user rights to about 250 clubs worldwide. You can now enjoy all the perks enjoyed by IAC members — 50 of them are golf clubs — not just The Palms. It’s perfect for those who frequently travel abroad to play golf,” notes Francis.

Members of The Palms Country Club need only sign up through the IAC app.

“Just download the QR code we have that’s linked to the IAC website. There, you’ll find a list of the accredited clubs around the globe.”

Club member Dante Fajardo attests to how easy the process was.

“Last September, my son and I watched the F1 Grand Prix in Singapore and decided to try the IAC app,” he shares. “Clad in tee and shorts, I went to the Singapore Tower Club. I didn’t know there was a dress code. But instead of shooing us away, they gave me a pair of pants and a coat.”

Yacuy Dizon, for her part, visited the Wingtip Club in San Francisco upon the recommendation of his uncle who is a Palms Country Club member, and experienced a warm welcome of an IAC member-club.

For Neukom, Palm’s Country Club IAC’s accreditation provides “honor and value” to their members.

“It definitely adds value to Palms Country Club membership,” he says. “Palms members need not pay extra when using those facilities. That’s already taken care of by The Palms Country Club. This is really one of those few things that’s too good to be true, but it is true,” enthuses chef Neukom.

vuukle comment




  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with