Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Talisay, Batangas & Club Balai Isabel

Tagaytay has been made famous by its view of Taal Lake and its volcano. However, there is one lakeside town that never became tourist destination because it lacks the resort facilities.

Taal Volcano captured from Tagaytay Higlands

Talisay is a 3rd-class municipality in the province of Batangas. It is 84 kilometers south from Manila. Talisay is right on the shores of the world-famous Taal Lake.

A typical scene in Taal Lake

The rolling hills of Tagaytay lined with pineapple plantation

Recently Talisay has transformed itself into a resort town, making use of these superb views and access that they have to Taal Volcano and Taal Lake. Many resorts that fit a wide range of budgets has sprouted along the town.

During my routine vacation in the Philippines, I purchased a vacation promo package from one of Talisay's prime resort; Club Balai Isabel.

Terazza Lakeside Restaurant

Club Balai Isabel is a fifteen minutes drive from the Tagaytay ridge via Ligaya Drive, it offers an up-close and personal view of the lake and its world-famous volcano. Club Balai Isabel is actually a residential resort community but was reinvented to be an upscale private resort. It sits on a prime nine hectare landscape of lush greenery. Within the resort are varieties of mangoes, over a dozen varieties of bamboo, hardwood trees, several varieties of macopa, as well as cacao, mabolo, tiesa, chico, caimito, santol, duhat, pomelo, oranges, balimbing, langka, banana and papaya. It is a place where you can relax, connect and be with nature. It offers an option for an active lifestyle with all the comforts of city living. And when I say relaxation and comfort, I really mean it. Club Balai Isabel live up to its' standard.

Taal Lake Drive - Main Street of Club Balai Isabel

Lake Shore Villas

Club Balai Isabel's amenities and facilities make it an excellent choice for my family's holidays.They have Terraza Lakeside Restaurant, where local and international dishes are served at very affordable price. Although we choose to prepare and cook our own food most of the time, we somehow managed to dine-in during our arrival. Here are some of their best dishes you should not miss;

  • Crispy Fried Tawilis - it comes with the local "sawsawan" of suka with siling labuyo.

  • Nilagang Bulalo - very fresh prime bulalo and best with "patis labo"

  • Sinigang na Maliputo sa Miso - fresh lake fish prepared the "lutong bahay" way

  • Pinakbet - prepared and cooked from fresh ingredients and topped with crispy bagnet

  • Kapeng Barako - the all time pride of Batangas

My grandchildren enjoyed the refreshing dip in the infinity pool and hang out in the cabanas. My sons enjoyed the more active pursuits such as kayaking and fishing. Swimming in the lake is not recommended because of the thick seaweed vegetation inhabiting the lakebed. The shoreline is black sand and quite rough but kept clean and tidy all the time so you will have a mile-long of beachfront to jog or walk-on. 

Lake Shore Villas

Infinity Pool

Shore line of Club Balai Isabel

Kayak Stand

Swimming Pool and Playground

The Lakeshore Platform

Lakeshore Platform for Dine-out

The Front Desk & Reception Area are glass-walled and surrounded by trees, a cascading stream and a koi pond. Adjacent to it is an open-air waiting area and a lounge, which is an enclosed waiting area and is occasionally used as an extension of the reception area.

My grand daughter Beatriz by the Koi Pond

The Reception Area

Last year, I came to know that management have commissioned additional amenities like the Taal Lake Cruise aboard their newly built ferry boat which resembled a minature Catamaran. They have expanded to an adjacent property that happens to house the ruins of a Seventeenth-century church. The popularity of the resort as a wedding destination combined with the church ruins makes it an exciting place to build a wedding chapel. And perhaps, I hope they have completed the wave pool. A drive up Tagaytay City can be a supplementary activity since it is just 9.0 kilometers via Ligaya Drive but be very cautious of the winding road. We spent sometime driving around the city and snacked at the famous Mushrooom Burger.

My Unico Hijo enjoying the garden fountain

Club Balai Isabel's proximity to Tagaytay City

I have to praise the services and courtesy afforded us by Club Balai Isabel staff from their Booking Office in Manila to their very doorstep in Talisay. The check-in process were specific and prompt. Rooms were very clean, toiletries and other amenities were sufficient.  

Overall, it was a very enjoyable and relaxing stay. My wife and I had our share of the complimentary one-hour full body massage and believe me it was very soothing.

You might wonder if the promo package is a pocket buster, no it's not. For a 3 day/2 night stay, it's a winning deal and worth the stay. Check it out.


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