Last 2016 I had my very first independent travel with my Squad at a little resort in Batangas.
The remarkable first taste of freedom and adventure set the tone for my next standards of travels. Clearly, however, it was only the beginning of all my newer journies. It was only a matter of time, or probably a matter of choice, before traveling became a priority.
That’s why we set on a similar journey a year later. This time, as imposed to the past, we focused on a more mature undertaking. After all, it was already a year later. With the same people but with new faces and at the same region but at a better place, we got twice of what we anticipated for especially with our newer approach in this travel.
Day 1 – Weekendscape
On March 18, 2017, we set off on our second journey and our second time in Batangas together. We’ll be meeting at the same place at the same time where we used to last year – Saturday, noontime at our old workplace.
Like before, we hitched onto the company van. Cheap for our budget and convenient for our belongings. I’m really thankful on how they were able to pull it off!
Appreciating Club Balai Isabel
Before dusk sets in, we finally made it into the resort! It was nothing I have ever expected! The entrance was only a mere spectacle of what I’d expect to see. The name of the place was Club Balai Isabel. Inside were large houses and apartments for guests. The structures were all segregated accordingly. In our case, we had to settle in the apartments area. The designs and interiors gave the perfect tropical feel as natural materials were used.
Our apartment was two stories. From the entrance, we were welcomed by a very comfortable sofa and across it was the small kitchen. It was a cross between a living room and a kitchen. It was adjacent to a very small veranda for outdoor dining on one side and the bedroom on the other side. Of course, they were separated by sliding glass doors. Upstairs, from the living room, also welcomed us with another living room with a bedroom connected to it. A slightly larger veranda can be accessed here. We made no use of the verandas here, however! Each bedroom has it’s own queen sized beds, TV’s, and sofas. Also, the bathrooms were conveniently near the bedrooms. We didn’t worry about the temperature sizzling in for the season. The air conditioning left us with a cozy temperature.
We were now settled in this wonderful place. Leaving our belongings plus the two big and heavy grocery bags! Our financier figured out that it would be best to prepare groceries. We were, in fact, staying there as if it was our home. From the meat, canned goods, and snacks, we seemed to have everything we need. Of course, no awkward cookwares to carry because they were available.
Come to think of it, our financier was really good with the money. All 10 of us contributed ₱2,000 each but it seems to be a perfect amount for the overnight stay. Not once did we spend extra money for anything since the beginning of the trip. No one went hungry, and no one felt lacking in the resort. It seems that it is expensive but it’s pretty cheap because we’re laying back in such a pristine resort.
From the map of the resort, it would seem the scale is considered explorable. Every step took us to a very new place. Only a few people felt present in the area but it never felt empty. We felt that life was all around us. It reminds me of a lively open world video game much like Hyrule. Over 3 pools were spread throughout the resort to make sure each guest would get their fill over the waters. The day tour or the bike rentals can make it convenient to go around but I always prefer to explore by foot. Speaking of adventure, there are many water sports available all day such as kayaking, banana boat, paraw sailing, jet skiing, and as such! If I wanted to I trek up Taal Volcano like last year. They offered a package deal for 7 people but it’s not necessary at the moment. Of course, if I prefer to chill and do nothing but relax I could lie down the bed or I could go to their spa. The services are extensive!
Night of the first day
As the sun starts to rest, we saw the fading red from the sky. The remaining lights are reflected on the lake’s water as the birds fly right above. It was the final sight of the day. The volcano rests in the far distance. Sleeping itself from all the daily hikers. Taal lake shines its glory despite its unswimmable water.
Walking along the sandy shore brought us to the farther side of the resort where the biggest pool was. We had our towels ready and had our swimwear ready for the swim. There were many people swimming with us except in the rest of the people. It seems that the pool reaches 7 -8 feet deep. It was a great time not to drown in the dark of the night! At least, there are always lifeguards. In the distance, we see a wedding after party. They were about to end their announcements and about to dine in their buffet.
With the smell of the buffet, dinner sounds like a good idea. We fled back to our room taking a different route along a street. The apartment was not hard to find. They cooked pork siningang and spam once we got back. We took turns with cooking and cleaning ourselves until we’re all finally set for dinner. A very grand one.
The problem with good dining is that we never stop eating or we are tempted to eat and eat. Sadly, when our bellies are full, we felt guilty. So some of us took a walk outside. Of course, we took more and more pictures under the heat of the night. Making the most out of the glistening moon.
Day 2 – Discoveries
The best thing about my friends is that we not only choose to stay put in one place. We, every unique individual, love to take steps into newer places. All our goals for the next day was to wake up to see the sun rising in over Taal Lake. A quick stroll over the sand just for the sights. However, the case was, each of us wandered off the way we wanted to. Honestly, when I felt it was 6 o’clock, I quickly ran off to witness, not only some missing people in the room, and not even the sun, but actually, the moon floating far above the tip of Taal Volcano (named Mt. Balantoc) with the blue sky fading to red. The clarity and simplicity felt very overwhelming especially with the addition of the fresh air.
I only witnessed a wee goodness and I clamored for more. That clamor is just the right call. I would confidently say that we’re all excited for the breakfast buffet which comes for all guest staying overnight, much like a bundle. I was curious to see how they could pull it off at the expanse of the whole resort. I imagined seeing a long line of people holding onto their plates for the food and a flock of guests already occupying seats. To my surprise, everything was well organized! The dining area was open and sitting beside the pool and the Taal area can be seen further. It was a beautiful sight for a breakfast. The seats were reserved for the incoming guests and no one was left standing. I guess for the other guests in the farther areas have their own dining place. This is what I really call an organized vacation.
The food consisted of many breakfast dishes. Mainly, pancakes, rice, fruits, pastry, and coffee. It was all sufficient. Sufficient to the point that we most likely filled up our sacks. Of course, we enjoyed the taste of their food. Once we felt we couldn’t handle food, we walked off taking photos again. I managed to take candid photos of my friends and I’m frankly proud of them without shame.
During my spare time, I came across a foreigner couple. They were gazing the view of Taal Volcano. I have no intention of conversing with them until I walked a bit closer. They were Caucasians but when the man finally spoke, I distinguished they were Australians. I was never great in distinguishing accents so I had a slight guess. They said they were interested in going to Taal and I hoped they had a wonderful time there. I told them they could ask the resort for that service. Other than that, we had only a small talk. I didn’t spoil any information than just the great sight from the crater. I didn’t want to spoil their experience.
A few of us insisted on walking around to burn out the heavy breakfast. Doing a bit of exploration before we jump into the pool. We’ve seen a few interesting places like the basketball court, a large butterfly cage, the street filled with trees, and the 3rd and secluded pool. Lastly, we’ve seen a hidden area called “Tagong Gubat” which translates to “Hidden Forest.” As the name may imply, it’s a forest shrouded with beautiful sights and of course using natural elements, making it look great for photos. Following the small bridges led us into a viewing area. There could be further plans for the future as I might guess. There were still some areas where we could see the Chapel and the team building area but we didn’t venture onto those areas. Instead, we all reunited back to the largest pool for a swim!
That final hour was reminiscent of all our swimming memories despite only being a few. We were separated for the longest times compared to being together. Yet, we enjoy as if time does not even exist. We were parted but our spirits remain the same. That’s one good thing about companionship. It’s still being united despite the blank spaces.
When we had our final lunches, there was still too many foods left for us. We had everything separated and rode the last rides going back to the city. Still, no one paid anything. All our rides were covered plus some extra money. The wellness of that trip has brought an amazing travel entry for 2017! I was refreshed to end the final responsibilities of the day. The day the reminded me how great companionships really work. Eventually, we’ll have our third one. No matter if it takes a year again!
For Club Balai’s complete info, check out their website.
Refer to the map below for their location on Google Maps.
Finally, click the links to check their services and prices.