Our family took advantage of this promo package offered by Club Balai Isabel last August. We fell in love with the place. The kids loved it. And the adults too. So when my friend asked me for a one-day itinerary to entertain a group of friends, it was a no-brainer to head back to this magical place.

Taal Volcano and Lake from the Pantalan @Club Balai Isabel, Talisay, Batangas

It makes for a wonderful day trip if one were to introduce the Philippines to foreign and balikbayan friends. Not too far from Manila, and a day well-spent viewing Taal Lake and Volcano from the shore (Talisay, Batangas) and from the ridge (Tagaytay City, Cavite). This is our one-day itinerary:

Mabini Shrine in Barrio Talaga, Tanauan, Batangas

On Our Way By 8am

Not bad. You don’t have to wake up extra early for this day trip. By 8 am, we were driving along SLEX , connecting to STAR Highway and out Tanauan Exit. All that in slightly more than an hour. As you exit out of STAR Tollway towards Tanauan, take the right turn towards Talisay. Along the way, you’d fine Mabini Shrine. This sprawling property houses the Shrine honoring the Sublime Paralytic, Apolinario Mabini. I have earlier visited this Shrine and dedicated a blog to the Brains of the Philippine Revolution back in the 19th century. This second visit cum stopover on our way to Club Balai Isabel took just 20 minutes max. Just a little bit of history for our Norwegian friend in the group.

Club Balai Isabel

Just In Time For Lunch @Club Balai Isabel

From Mabini Shrine, we took the lone road towards Talisay. It did not take very long to reach Club Balai Isabel. This resort complex offers much by way of activity to day trippers and weekend travelers. The more adventurous may even come much earlier to try the boat ride across the lake and trekking towards the volcano crater. The resort can make all these arrangements for you.

There was time before lunch to check out the chapel inside the resort. The 3 swimming pools. The Pantalan. From the clubhouse, we enjoyed an amazing view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake. You can grab a bench by the shore or at the cute-sy Pantalan and feel the breeze while viewing fishermen out to harvest the famous “tawilis” from Taal Lake. If they get lucky, maybe there’s even Maliputo for lunch. We walked the lakeshore from the Pantalan towards the Marina near the Chapel and the bigger pool.

Club Balai Isabel

On our way back to the Clubhouse, we passed the Butterfly Garden, the Dr. Fish Massage area, the Spa, the Tennis Court, and the lovely villas , each of which has a splendid view of the smallest active volcano in the whole world. The view is enough to rev up our appetite. The stroll was a good exercise to take away the guilt from the sumptuous food to be had from the buffet table. The very accommodating crew of Club Balai Isabel makes for a very enjoyable stay in the resort. As I said, this is my 2nd visit. The last time, we stayed overnight. From the reservations to the waiter, to the gracious lady chef, to the store clerk, we were warmly received like old friends. I couldn’t resist shooting out an email to the Management just to mention this. The service orientation and culture of friendliness and courtesy are awesome.

This is not a paid advertisement. Or do they say advertorial these days? I am a paying client who had the pleasure of discovering Filipino hospitality and quality service from Club Balai Isabel, and I wish to share this with my friends who read my blogs.

Taal Volcano and Lake From Tagaytay Ridge

Zigzag Up Via Ligaya Drive Towards the Ridge

After Club Balai Isabel, we took a left turn and in no time found Ligaya Drive. From here, try looking up to where you’re headed. You are leaving the shores of Taal Lake to get up to Tagaytay Ridge to view Taal Volcano a second time , this time from above. It can get you a bit disoriented. Two views of the lake and volcano in a day? And between these 2 viewpoints is this zigzag drive passing ritzy villages and mansions with rooms with a view. I think it is just a 7 kilometer drive but it would seem like a longer drive as you are climbing up with ravines on your right. πŸ™‚

Up on the ridge, you have several choices on how best to spend the rest of the day. Oh, I’d never grow tired of Tagaytay. If you plan to stay way beyond sunset, there is a number of bistros with prices ranging from budget-friendly to extravagant. Check out some of these travel guides. If you want something really fancy, then dine at Antonio’s. You may burn a hole in your pocket, but if you are in a celebratory mood and can afford it, why not?

Fried Halo Halo or Turon?

Taal Vista Lodge

In our case, we chose Taal Vista Lodge. They have one of the best views, if not the best, from the Ridge and a restaurant which offers many choices on how to eat Filipino delicacies. They also have a lunch buffet, if you choose to do this itinerary in reverse.

Taal Vista Lodge

Some of us had our halo-halo the traditional way (cold, with ice shavings) or fried! Make no mistake about it, but fried halo halo it was! And then there’s the traditional turon topped with ice cream. Or turon with leche flan filling. Imagine that!

Lunch Buffet @Taal Vista Lodge

If you choose not to dine in Taal Vista’s restaurant, please do remember that the parking ticket is P100 per hour. Not bad if you just wanted to breathe in the air and savor the view from there. It is free if you have your parking ticket stamped in the restaurant.

Taal Vista Lodge

So there. If your foreign guests or balikbayans are hankering for day trips outside of Manila, here’s one itinerary for you. More itineraries to come! So, don’t forget to subscribe to this site to get updates. You may also find me on Facebook (Lifeisacelebration) where I post all my blogs from this site and from TravelBlog. See ya!