Club Balai Isabel
An hour away from Manila lies the silent town of Talisay, Batangas and for our trip today, we’re heading to Club Balai Isabel. Named after Isabel, the owners’ only child, Club Balai Isabel is resort complex complete with a hotel, pool areas, residential area, open grounds for activities and even a church. As one would say, everything’s already here. For our vacation, we stayed at the Attic Suite Villa. What I simply love about this place is that everything is green. You are surrounded by trees an walking around will make you feel as if you’re in a forest.
The information center.
Lunch with a view
The normal package for a daytour includes a buffet meal. But we opt to try the food at their main restaurant, the Terraza Cafe which has an awesome view of the Taal Lake. We tried their famous Bulalo which is my favorite. It’s good for 3-4 persons and it’s not bad for the price. We also tried their pinakbet and Balai Bagnet, another fave. The bagoong tastes soooo good! Price range at the cafe is around 250-800 per person.
Balai Sunrise (Php 140)
Pinakbet (Php 185)
Bulalo (Php 475)
Balai Bagnet (Php 360)
Attic Suite Villa
We stayed at the Suites with Attic which has a regular capacity of 8 persons. Rate is Php 11,825. It can also accommodate up to 4 more extra persons with a charge of Php 550/head (around Php 1,200/head for 12 pax). Cooking is allowed.
The place was spacious enough and it was clean however it lacks basic toiletries considering the price. There were no bath robes, slippers, iron and hair dryer which is very basic. Towels were also limited.
Aside from the pool, Club Balai Isabel offers a lot of amenities. Got a chance to try the traitional massage (Php 300/30 mins). They also offer water sports activities such as banana boat, flying fish, and jet ski.
Traditional Massage (Php 300/30 mins)
Banana Boat (Php 300/head, 15 mins)
I look really weird here! haha! (Jet ski Php 2,000/30 mins, Php 3,500/hr; photos by Jinkee Umali)
Club Balai by Night
Pool is open until 10pm only.
I don’t know why but I find this trick shot so cool!
There’s no better way to spend the next morning than trekking at the Taal Volcano. To get to the crater, you need to ride a pump boat. The view along the way was just so amazing!
What I love
- The place is spacious
I you’re looking for a large space that can cater many guests, Club Balai Isabel is the best place to go. It’s perfect for events and team buildings. Because of its large space, it’s very quiet and you can really relax. Plus, who would not love the view of Taal Volcano by the pool? And didn’t I mention that it’s just an hour ride away from Manila?
What I don’t love
- Lack of toiletries
- Buffet Food
- Security Lapses
As mentioned, the lack of toiletries is a turn off considering the price you are paying. Speaking of prices, it can be really pricey especially if you’re traveling alone or as a couple. Also, the food at the buffet was meh. It was just okay. I was expecting it to be good since it costs around a thousand bucks but it was very disappointing. Lastly, what really turned me off is the way they handled the security. I’ll admit that its my fault that I forgot my hiking sandals which I left by the pool after swimming. It was already past ten when I went to our room (I really forgot that I was wearing sandals before swimming! silly me). The next morning, I only realized that I left it while packing our stuff since it was already check out time. I asked the pool guy in charge if they saw it and honestly, it appears that they don’t even care or know what they were doing. They have no lost and found center. Instead, he told me to just go to the information center which I did. After asking, the front desk lady called multiple departments. Just like the pool guy, I don’t think she also know who to call. She told me to ask the pool guy instead. It’s like they are pointing fingers. So in the end I just accepted that I lost my sandals which I recently bought this January. It’s my fault after all. But hey, if a sandal can be stolen just like that, imagine if that is something more valuable.
Overall, my stay at Club Balai Isabel was fun. Is it worth it? That depends on your budget really an how many you are. If you’re going solo or as a couple, there’s a lot of cheaper alternatives but if you’re a family or in a large group, it’s a great place to stay.
How to go here
The best and fastest way to go here is via car. Just head to SLEX and exit at Sta. Rosa then head to Talisay. Club Balai Isabel is just along the road. Travel time is around an hour or two depending on the traffic.
If via commute:
1. Ride a bus at Cubao bound to Sta. Rosa (Php 96). Tell the driver to drop you off at the terminal to Tanuan.
2. Ride a jeep going to Tanuan (Php 10) and drop off at the intersection. Just tell the driver you’re going to Talisay.
3. Walk to your left until you see a market and a terminal station bound to Talisay. Fare is Php 28. Drop off at Club Balai Isabel.
Travel time is around 3 hours since you’ll pass through Tanauan.
Day tour rates is around Php 750/head.
Buffet Breakfast – Php 350/head
Buffet Lunch – Php 500/head
Buffet Dinner – Php 550/hea
Outside food is not allowed. Reservation is required.
Room rates starts at around Php 3,000. For the current rates and promos, you may check them out here.
Water Sports and Equipment Rental
Kayak single-seater – Php 150/hr
Kayak double-seater – Php 300/hr
Pedal boat – Php 500/hr
Banana boat – Php 300/head (15 mins.)
Jet ski – Php 2,000/30 mins.; Php 3,500/hr
Fishing rod and bait – Php 50/hr
Taal Trekking – Php 4,500 (6 pax)
For more info and reservation, visit www.balaiisabel.com
– Justin –