Just a few hundred meters along the road to Talisay from the Tagaytay ridge lies what is likely the most upscale vacation rental in Tagaytay. Balai Taal, a privately owned vacation home in an exclusive development, is available for rent as accommodation or for corporate and personal events such as weddings or parties. The tastefully designed and immaculately maintained home offers visitors a taste of the good life in one of the country's most popular weekend destinations.
Balai Taal is actually the name of the entire subdivision, a 19 hectare property built within and around the forested slopes of the Tagaytay ridge. Masterplanned by Architect Francisco "Bobby" Maņosa, the low-density development has available lots that are oriented to have excellent views of the Taal Lake.
Within this exclusive setting is the cluster of identical houses more commonly referred to as Balai Taal. Two of these four private homes are being rented out as vacation houses or events venues. All the houses are three story structures with five generous rooms, open living areas, and sprawling gardens. From the gardens, guests can also go trekking through the surrounding landscaped forests, where a trail follows the 14 Stations of the Cross, each marked by unique wood carvings.
Balai Taal's entry and main living areas are located at the top floor, with the middle and lower levels moving down the slope towards the garden areas below. The levels are generally laid out with the same open plan. The top level has a central living area and a balcony beyond, with identical bedrooms and bathrooms on either side. The middle level follows the same plan, with an additional children's room, and the lower level houses a formal dining room, a living area, a kitchen and bar, and the servant's quarters.
The materials and furnishings used are elegantly luxurious in a very understated way--narra planks on the floors, wood panels for the ceilings, glass walls, windows, and balcony railings, and rattan and hardwood furniture. Colorful bougainvillea shrubs line the windows and balconies and trail over the plant boxes that wrap around the walls. Leaf-shaped stamped concrete stepping stones lead from the house to the gardens beyond.
The house can be rented on a daily basis, with weekday and weekend rates as well as corporate and wedding packages available. Convenient facilities like cable TV and WiFi are provided for guests' use. Party packages are available for 80 to 150 guests; for smaller parties using the house as a vacation rental, a maximum of 18 people is recommended. Demand for Balai Taal as an events venue has the place solidly booked during weekends up to 2012; as a rental home, it is has served as a hideaway for celebrities like ZsaZsa Padilla and daughter Karylle.
With its posh facilities, exclusive setting, and lush surroundings, Balai Taal lets guests step into the shoes of the privileged few and experience the good life-even if only for a quick weekend getaway.
How to get there:
From the Aguinaldo Highway rotunda or the Santa Rosa highway, turn left heading towards Picnic Grove. Before reaching Picnic Grove, turn right on Ligaya Drive, which goes down the ridge to Talisay. The gate of Balai Taal is on the left side. Upon entering the gates, turn left at the second street. Balai Taal Houses 1 and 2 are on the right side at the corner lot.