I am so blessed with a lot of wonderful and meaningful experiences – priceless memories (happy or sad) that are enough to make me say that I have already lived a full life and that is actually the main reason why I started to BLOG – because I believe that being thankful also meant sharing by whatever means possible – time, talent or treasures.
But just when I thought that it couldn’t get any better, our creator surprises me with more blessings to cherish each and every single day!
Take for example, when I visited CLUB BALAI ISABEL in Talisay, Batangas a couple of weeks ago. This trip has given me more than just my last hurrah for summer 2016 but also a lot of firsts – and if there’s anything I learned in life, is that there’s always a first time for everything and you never run out of firsts… if you go looking for it.
I consider myself a wanderer and a chronicler at the same time. But you know, adult responsibilities doesn’t really give you a lot of time (or opportunities) to do what you really WANT to do in life because there’s always that number “one” on the priority list – not like when you’re in high school and the world is just starting to open up to you like an oyster of possibilities. The only limitation then was the resources. Oh how I wish that I already had a blog then – cause boy I got some really awesome stories to tell!
But I digress, so let me tell you more about my new adventures instead at CLUB BALAI ISABEL!
CLUB BALAI ISABEL
Well you should know that ISABEL is the name of the only daughter of the owner of this lake side resort in Talisay. Yes, Filipinos do that. We name our favorite things to family members. Like for example, I have a portable hard drive that I call NeoSky – the name of my two kids.
Now there’s a lot of things special about this resort. Well for one, it was built around the original 17th Century Talisay Church which was destroyed when Taal Volcano erupted. Club Balai Isabel erected the Spousal of Mary and Joseph Parish next to the original church ruins and even housed some of the relics in the new church.
The town of Talisay however now has its very own parish outside Balai called San Guillermo – which is just a couple of blocks away from the resort as well.
Club Balai Isabel is a semi-private resort that is located along the Talisay-Tanauan Road near Banga Elementary School and surrounded by other smaller resorts.
But there’s nothing like Balai – its mere size alone makes it the perfect family getaway in this side of Batangas.
The first thing that will greet you when you go inside are the rows of private villas that reminded me of Tali Beach Club, another private location in Batangas that you would really want to get your hands on – if you got the money, that is.
But don’t fret, because like I said, Club Balai Isabel is semi-private and they do have a couple of public villas and hotel rooms inside the area. We actually stayed in one of their newest 6-bedroom dorm type villa with loft and veranda.
Picture yourself having a sleepover with friends at someone’s attic – that’s what it is. Our unit is also conveniently located near the Terraza Cafe and Pool area – so it’s like we got our own private pool just outside the unit.
This room is amazing, regular capacity is 15 but you can actually fit more people inside if you need to. There are two awesome shower and toilet rooms plus your very own kitchen complete with a personal ref and an electric kettle. The price is set at 18,000 ++ Pesos for an overnight accommodation.
There are actually a lot of Hotel and Villas to choose from, Villas are named after Philippine indigenous flowers like Ylang Ylang, Sampaguita and Camia. While Hotel Suites all bore famous Pinoy names like Mabini, Malvar, Recto, Agoncillo and Laurel.
A standard hotel room for two at Club Balai Isabel would cost you 5,544 Pesos but they do have an upcoming rainy day promo that will give you a 40% DISCOUNT on Hotel Rooms when you book your stay from June 20 to August 15 (Sunday to Thursday only).
The dorm unit where we stayed in over night is inside Laurel but we also got to stay for an hour at one of the Ylang Ylang Villa suite while waiting for our room to be ready because we got to Club Balai Isabel very early – check in time is supposed to be at 3pm but we were there at around 12 noon.
Here’s a quick look of Ylang Ylang:
I could have just stayed home all summer, watch TV all day and never have to pay for anything – so why the hell would I travel almost 2 hours to go to Club Balai Isabel for an overnight stay?
Well, there are actually TWO GOOD REASONS why you should urge yourself to go to this place – TAAL LAKE and TAAL VOLCANO!
Club Balai Isabel has got the best view of Taal in the whole of Batangas! Here are some of the photos I’ve taken of the lake and all the other places inside the resort club that I find very interesting.
Like this small roofless gazeebo that seems to be constructed out of place near the lake – but after looking at it more closely, I realized that it was a sort of a marker for the best spot in the resort to have your photos taken with the beautiful Taal lake and volcano as a backdrop. I didn’t capture the whole thing, but what I did is that I took a photo of one of the lamp that’s hanging at one of its four pillars and here’s the result.
Another thing that really got me hooked on the lake are the fisherfolks of Taal. I was really amazed at their ingenuity, some don’t even have a proper boat and yet they set out into the deep to try and catch some Tilapia or Tawilis, I guess. Here are a couple of my shots:
Aside from the Terraza Club Pool, there are two more pools inside the resort but the biggest is the Kumintang which is located at other side of the Lakeshore properties of Club Balai Isabel.
Oh and would you believe that they also have a Helipad! Not that it would matter to us ordinary folks who don’t own a helicopter right? 🙂 Anyway, I think that Club Balai Isabel is cooking up something new for its visitors – how about a tour around and over Taal Volcano on a helicopter. That would be awesome right! Man, I’ll be the first to line up when that happens!
Aside from these awesome view, Club Balai Isabel also has a lot of function halls that can be used to host all kinds of events like conferences, company team buildings, weddings and debut parties.
In fact, Club Balai Isabel is one of the place of choice for weddings and receptions – the view of Taal Lake makes the occasion a super memorable and photo-worthy experience. It is definitely worth all the trouble!
What To Do at Club Balai Isabel?
From a quiet retreat to an activity-filled weekend, Balai has got all your needs covered.
For those who came for the waters of Taal, try all the different water sport activities that Club Balai Isabel is offering:
- FlyFish (700 Pesos each)
- Bandwagon (600 Pesos each)
- Banana Boat (300 Pesos each)
- Para Sailing (2,300 Pesos SOLO/1,725 Pesos w/company)
- Jet Ski (3,500 Pesos/hour – 2,ooo Pesos/30 minutes)
- Pedal Boats (500 Pesos/hour)
- Kayaks (Single: 150 Pesos/hour – Double: 300 Pesos/hour)
One For The Team
Club Balai Isabel also offers various recreational facilities for the active visitors and for company team building requirements like courts for Basketball, Tennis, Volleyball and Badminton, Billiards, Darts, Bike Rentals, Camping Grounds, Obstacle Course and a Childrens’ Playground. They also have shuttles that can take you around the place or you could just walk too, that would be a healthier option – and besides, there are a lot of trees inside Balai to shade you from the sun.
For the Quiet Soul
Now for those who just want some peace and relaxation, whether alone or with a loved one – you can either drop by their spa for a traditional massage (300 Pesos/30 minutes), go on a stroll at their Tagong Gubat to watch the beautiful Koi fishes, head on to the newly opened Sampaguita Music Lounge for some KTV or just get a quiet seat at the Terraza Pool and Clubhouse and watch the magnificent Taal Lake together with a tall order of their Balai Sunrise chiller or a hot cup of coffee.
Speaking of Terraza Cafe, actually this is my favorite area inside the resort. What is there not to like, you got great tasting food, a pool by your side and an awesome view of Taal! I could actually stay here all day and all night even without a Wifi – but they do have a wifi. 🙂
Here are some of the Terraza Cafe food that we’ve tasted during our visit:
Here are the Buffet Rates:
Breakfast (350 Pesos/person)
Lunch (500 Pesos/person)
Dinner (550 Pesos/person)
DayTour Rates is 750 Pesos per Head
At night, Terraza Cafe is transformed into a lounge that offers live music performances. The pool is open until 10pm so you can actually swim while listening to the soothing music under the clear and starry moonlit night. It’s poetry!
So there’s that and then they also have a Taal Trekking adventure package that includes a boat ride to and from Taal and a guided hike up to the mouth of Taal Volcano to witness its majestic crater lake! And those are my two awesome firsts right there!
But that’s another story – Be sure to subscribe to rainCHECK to get updates on my Club Balai Isabel Taal Trekking adventure and that’s coming up NEXT!
How To Get To CLUB BALAI ISABEL?
SLEX via Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay
- Take the Sta. Rosa Exit and turn right.
- Follow the main road leading to Tagaytay. When you reach Tagaytay, you will come to an intersection.
- Turn left at the intersection.
- Go straight until you see a public elementary school on your left and a road named Ligaya Drive on your right.
- Turn right at Ligaya Drive. Follow the road down to Talisay. Please exercise caution: this is a steep road.
- When you reach the bottom of the road you will come to an intersection. Turn left at this intersection.
- You will pass a bridge. Club Balai Isabel is 200 meters from this bridge on the right side. If you see a second bridge, then you have gone past the resort.
SLEX via STAR Tollway
- On South Luzon Expressway, simply go straight past the end of the highway and straight to the STAR Tollway.
- Go up the ramp at the Tanauan City exit and turn right. You are now on the National Highway
- Follow the road going to Talisay.
- When you reach the town proper of Talisay, go straight ahead.
- Club Balai Isabel is 500 meters from the town proper on your left side. If you see the second bridge, then you have gone past the resort.
Commute (Manila to Talisay by Bus)
- Go to the bus terminal in Buendia-Taft, take the bus with the sign board Lipa, Tanauan, Batangas City. It will cost you around P70 – P80 pesos per person.
- Get off at Tanauan town proper bus terminal. Once you get off, you will see the tricycles beside the bus terminal.
- Take the tricycle and ask the driver to bring you to the Talisay jeepney terminal besides Mc Donalds Tanauan. It will cost you P8 per person.
- When you have reached the jeepney terminal, take the ride with the signboard TALISAY. It will cost you P 20 per person.
- You will reach the town proper of Talisay, the jeep will stop near the church of Talisay (San Guillermo).
- Take the tricycle at the terminal near the church where you get off. Ask the driver to bring you to Cub Balai Isabel. It will cost you P8.00 per person, if you wish to take the trip alone and not wait for other passengers, be prepared to pay P 24.00.
- The tricycle will bring you to Club Balai Isabel.
CAUTION: Bringing of Food is not allowed. Pets are also not allowed inside Club Balai Isabel. FOR reservations go to www.balaisabel.com