Tag Archive | Taal Volcano

Balai Isabel – Talisay, Batangas

Balai Isabel…

Take time to do what makes your soul happy.

I have declared for several times, that I am lucky (or blessed) to be near Tagaytay or the Batangas area. As list of destinations from here is endless, places that will take your breath away. Even if it’s just a day or two.

You will have a hard time choosing, or probably, list them all and visit each if chance permits.

I was having my caffeine fix the night I was packing for an overnight trip to Balai Isabel. There’s a natural feeling of excitement and I found myself smiling.


Enjoyin’ the sun..

The place has it all. (Though they need some enhancements to do. If your place is getting more and more popular, maintaining it is actually a must). The place has a hotel, Mediterranean styled villas to choose from, cottages, there are 3 swimming pools, restaurants, a spa, basketball court, tennis court, water sports facilities (kayaking, jet-skiing and there’s pedal boats too), a church (ideal as wedding venues – We learned that there are few celebrities who have exchanged their vows there), there’s a lot of activities to do at Balai Isabel meant for friends in groups, families and companies to hold their annual outings,just like what we did. What it boasts – is being strategically in front of the smallest volcano not only in the Philippines but in the world. The Taal volcano.

The entrance of the place looked promising. There are interesting stuff lovely enough to behold and capture.

So serene...

So serene…

Greens are everywhere creating a special scent especially when the winds are blowing. There are dainty flowers all around and the signages are my favorite.

b10 sgnages

Signage says Taal lake drive..=)

So seldom I see a white gumamela nowadays..

So seldom I see a white gumamela nowadays..

b29 welcome

Welcome! =)


A vintage clock creates a country feel..


Floating flowers..


Another vintage element..antique tiles..

Giant keys????

Giant keys????

The place felt serene. Even if as expected, there are other guests during our visit. I felt peace. Or maybe because my mother was with me, I do not need to think of her while I am away from her. I am meant to enjoy this particular weekend with her. =)

Mama! (--,)

Mama! (–,)

We stayed at Frijas. It’s a 4 bedroom villa with a loft that fits us all.=)



We stayed at Frijas...Pronounced as Frias...

We stayed at Frijas…Pronounced as Frias…

Where mama spent her whole time here...

Where mama spent her whole time here…

From the loft...

From the loft…


Multi-colored lamps..

Not unpacking my stuff yet, I went into a “Can’t get enough” mode of taking pictures of the tiniest volcano sitting calmly in front of us. I especially loved the lamps in colored glasses which happens to be all over the place like a unifying element to achieve a theme.


Taal – so near and yet so far..ehehe..



b11 lamps

Saw a similar angle so I tried my take..and i liked it..=)

b12 lamps


From this, you'd get the best angle of the Taal...

From this, you’d get the best angle of the Taal…

b14 lamps

Two favored subjects in one shot..=)

There were plenty of food, enough to satisfy our hunger in exploring the place. My mom, by the way, spent the whole time sleeping. Ahaha!

Her prize for sleeping the whole day is my treating her of a massage. She can no longer walk that long, so we had to ask the attendant to do it in our room. Me and my soul buddy had ours in the spa. Dimly lighted with a soothing piped-in music played to better the ambience and relax us. There are also a few candles lighted which I got worried of that might burn, but the strokes done to me made me forget about it. T’was one of my best Saturday nights.

bmassage 2


After the massage, it’s bonding time with the rest of the group. There are singing, eating, drinking over conversations of interesting topics, even scary ones. Ahahaha! We dozed off past midnight I guess. I do not want to sleep so late, I am looking forward to wake-up early and explore the other half of the place.


Ghost stories & booze!

After a hefty breakfast, me and my buddy readied ourselves for another tour of the place. We were restless. We went to the church, tried finding the old one as declared, but to no avail, we can’t find it and we ended up swimming with this specific pool all to ourselves.


I imagined how it sounds as to announce that a mass is about to start..imaging a an altar boy in white liturgical vests..


Stairs to the choir area..


A door within a door..

Just in time, one group was about to make use of that pool, we’ve had enough of the water.


Talisay garden pool..had it all to ourselves..ehehe..

We also bond with the girls deciding on traversing that enticing island on the other side where the Taal is sitting.


Staring at that is hypnotizing..

We found a boat, it’s a 30 minute ride for us to get to the other side. The roar of the engine and the sound of the water slapping against the boat and the serene vista we were leaving made me sleepy… Though the view of the Taal volcano wakes me up from time to time as it gets bigger and bigger until we are already in front of it.


Few more miles?


Almost there..

The squeaking footbridge was a sight to behold. I’ve seen several blogs featuring this subject and I can’t help but admire it’s allure. I finally had my shot at it.



It was such a unique experience, I used to bring my telescope, as young as I was, I was 12, just to be able to get a closer glimpse of its’ beauty. Admiring it from afar. All these years. But this time, up close and personal.



With the girls...

With the girls…

We can even get nearer if we wanted to, but horse-back riding at noon isn’t such a good idea besides it’s nearly lunch and everyone might be already hungry. We are all looking forward to have “bulalo” (beef shank soup) for our lunch.

Being physically there, relishing the moment is more than enough.

Why oh why all weekends can’t be like this? (–,) Such thing makes me look forward for the next one. Till then. (–,)


For those interested. Here’s a link that you might make use of.



An afternoon at Cliffhouse…

One of my most favorite part of the country is Tagaytay. I am so blessed and lucky to have it just an hour away from our house (if without the traffic jam).


I was always aiming to take a photo of this welcome signage, then i did it this time..=)

Young as I was, we frequent the place, it was like a huge park for me, there’s the highest point, where you can enjoy the whole panoramic view of Sta.Rosa, Tagaytay itself and some of Batangas.

Blooms of all the colors you can think of can be spotted everywhere. Picnic grove was very famous even when I was a child, had been a favorite of excursionists that allows you to do horse back-riding. Recently, they introduced zip-lining too.

Tagaytay established itself as tourist spot enticing investors to build hotels here and there due to influx of local and foreign visitors. Currently, there are more than a hundred hotels to choose from, each offering their own uniqueness, details of each making a difference which makes choosing a little harder and fun too.

The place had also been venues of seminars, trainings, retreats as started by DAP and a lot of weddings were held here too. Spas are like mushrooms sprucing in every corner, not to mention the restaurants too. There’s a zoo too, Tagaytay is like a one stop shop, upon your plight, everything you need is there. What captivates the hearts of so many, is the cold weather of Tagaytay, as a child, it is here where I saw thick fogs for the first time. My papa had to stop driving from time to time due to zero visibility especially during the “ber” months.

One early weekend morning, we hit the road heading to Tagaytay. My mom’s cousin is residing in Tagaytay and they are celebrating the annual fiesta. And so I grabbed the opportunity to enjoy Tagaytay to the fullest. (–,) We decided to check out Cliffhouse.


Cliffhouse – at last!

Initially, I was just craving for froyo (frozen yogurt) feeling bloated after having lunch with more than 5 different viands to choose from (this is how fiestas in the Philippines are being celebrated – fiestas: festivals celebrating the patron saint of a particular town), and then later we discovered that Cliffhouse is a a whole block of the following establishments: Fire lake grill, Buon giorno, Cafe Breton, Domicillo, Burger bar, there’s a hotel too, a Souvenir shop,


Souvenir shop!

Attendant claimed it's prohibited to take photos inside the Souvenir shop, sowee, she's too busy to notice...

Attendant claimed it is prohibited to take photos inside the Souvenir shop, sowee, she’s too busy to notice…


I so love this mannequin!


Excited for my frozen yogurt!


Where to? =)


loved this wicker!

The shop where I got my yogurt!


want to have a fling?=)

There’s a space where you could get a good view of the Taal volcano,


This area allows you to have a good view of the Taal volcano..

some comfy benches, trees and flowering plants made up a place worthy of being revisited time and again.








Focal point..

Plus, the many choices nearby of whatever that you are craving for. We had some pizzas from Buon Giorno with drinks that comes in giant mugs shaped like a muscled arm. I found it really cute so I had to take a photo of it. (–,)

buon giorno menu

Buon Giorno is “Good morning”!


My yellow mango shake!

This resto by the way coveted the Best Restaurant award from the Philippine Tatler.


Tatler’s taste..


Personalized dressings..


Where are the birds?

And this is just one of the many authentic restaurants that you can find in Tagaytay. Please take a look at my top 10 list:

1. Eateries from Mahogany market

2. Mushroom Burger

(I even heard my former boss saying “What’s Tagaytay without Mushroom burger?”)

3. Antonio’s 

4. Mile-hi

5. Bag of Beans

6. Gerry’s Grill

7. Rowena’s

8. Verbena 

9. Sonya’s Garden

10. Buon Giorno

After seeing my own list, I was thinking of the other places that I think are as good as those I listed. I think I’m listing a second batch soon. Suggestions are always welcome! As I will never get tired going to Tagaytay, the more I see it, the more I love being there. The place is so peaceful to me. There’s a different air that I always feel being in Tagaytay, not just because it’s colder there, it’s really something special. (–,) And it’s best felt than told. Please come and see for yourself! (–,)


So where do I go next in Tagaytay? (–,)

Canyon Woods…

I keep on picturing this beautiful place in Tagaytay which is still vivid in my mind even if its been years since I’ve been there.

Then I recall, its in Canyon woods. I also recalled how traveling makes a person. Personally, it fills up my memory with sublime thoughts until I can’t hold it no more. And then after a wink, I started dreaming of another. Ready to immerse my mind into resplendent proliferation.

On our way to Canyon woods! papa driving for me and mama!

On our way to Canyon woods! papa driving for me and mama!

Canyon woods (aside from it’s name), at first glance or literally the first time I’ve entered the gates, it was able to bring me somewhere else which felt like I was not in my own country not to mention the colder altitude at that specific time.

We're here!

We’re here!

Good thing I was with a shawl (in anticipation), as the wind sends specks on your shoulders every now and then.

Super good weather..

Super good weather..

This is a place ideal for busy individuals who yearns for tranquility and requiescence. It is literally a “breath of fresh air”.

I'm lovin' bridges!<3

I’m lovin’ bridges!<3

Each gaze directs you to rawness. It was so relaxing. I enjoyed walking a few blocks while I won’t when I am at my usual environment.   The clubhouse is specially extra-ordinary.

At the lobby..

At the lobby..

The lavish food they offer, there are pools and a spa which we noticed was similar to Sanctuario in Malate only to find out it’s one and the same as I was going through their brochure.

Goin' up..

Goin’ up..

group 2

It was totally fun!<3

Miss the laughter! =)

Miss the laughter! =)

I was able to visit the place twice. Honestly, I was wishing for a third one.   The first one I was with my former staff, we were accompanied by my parents and the second one was with my high school friends because I was able to convince them to witness the grandeur of the place.

Both experience were unforgettable. Till Then! =)

Coming from Canyon woods, we opted for a coffee which is best for the weather Tagaytay is famous for.

Coffee and friends! Good combi! <3

Coffee and friends! Good combi! ❤

Tagaytay is such a gifted place. As a whole, Philippines is. I could not fathom God’s ingenuity to create a world with such unending beauty. Thank you Lord for such love and generosity! <3<3<3


The place will allow you to take a peek at Taal volcano too!

Canyon woods..

Canyon woods..