Along the shores of Taal Lake in Talisay, Batangas lies a sprawling 10-hectare residential resort and club known as Club Balai Isabel. The property has clusters of hotel buildings, rentable condominium suites, villas, and family homes, as well as a range of amenities including activity areas, pools, function halls, a restaurant, a spa, and even a large chapel. The resort not only serves as an ideal place to have an activity-filled family vacation or hold all manner of events, it is also an ideal jump-off point for a trekking tour to the crater of Taal Volcano.
Accessible through Batangas through the Star Tollway, and to Tagaytay through Ligaya Drive, a winding road which snakes down from the Tagaytay ridge, Club Balai Isabel is a good option for an all-in resort vacation within driving distance of Manila.
Upon entering the huge compound, visitors pass through a residential section lined with villas named after their owners. Some of these homes, like many of the units within the club, are rented out to visitors, while others are used exclusively as vacation homes or resort residences. Villas and rooms are centrally available through the Club Balai Isabel management, and reservations and accommodation arrangements are made at the reception area, which is located at the end of the main road, fronting the hotel clusters. Here, guests, daytrippers, and parties interested in purchasing property or time shares can stay at the Mabuhay Lounge while waiting for their rooms or learning more about the project.
Club Balai Isabel has a wide range of room types to suit every group's needs and budget. Typical hotel rooms and condotels for smaller parties are available, and come with complimentary breakfast. There are also villas and cottages for larger groups on family or company outings; these do not come with breakfast, but come with kitchen facilities for cooking. The rooms and villas are located throughout the compound-some have lakefront views, while others located near certain facilities like the large pool or the clubhouse.
There is no lack of things to do at Club Balai Isabel. Guests can enjoy watersports such as kayaking, aqua biking, jetskiing, and banana boating, or swimming in one of the three pools throughout the property. The lake also offers a lot of possibilities: sailing at the nearby Yacht Club, fishing, or taking a boat and trekking up to the volcano's crater. The "Balikatan" obstacle course is popular for teambuilding activities, and the tennis and basketball courts will appeal to the more athletically inclined. A covered hut houses billiards and darts facilities. There is also a Kids' Activity Center, an outdoor playground, board games, and toys to keep children occupied.
The striking lake views also make Club Balai Isabel a popular venue for weddings, receptions, parties, and other events. While the Espousal of Joseph and Mary Chapel cannot be used for Catholic wedding rites, it is a good venue for the renewal of rites, and mass is held here regularly for the community.
Though it is quite a large compound, the grounds have a distinctly club--and resort--oriented community appeal. There is space for children to run around and explore without leaving the secure property, and enough variety to keep company outings and team building sessions interesting. Those looking for a quiet, contemplative getaway can also find their own little patch of sand, or grass, away from the crowds, and escape to the spa, operated by Nurture Spa, for a relaxing wellness treatment. This rambling resort offers a little something for everyone.
How to get there:
From the Aguinaldo Highway rotunda, turn right towards Picnic GroveGo 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.
Via Star Tollway:
From the South Luzon Expressway, go straight past the end of the highway onto the STAR Tollway. Exit at Tanauan City and turn right onto the National Highway. Follow the road going to Talisay. When you reach the town proper of Talisay, go straight ahead. You will pass a bridge. Club Balai Isabel is 500 meters from the town proper on your left side. If you see a second bridge, then you have gone past the resort.