September 20, 2011

New Additions in Club Balai Isabel

Our company had a leadership workshop last September 15-16 in Club Balai Isabel in Talisay, Batangas. This was my second time to stay in this fine resort located in the shore of Taal Lake which boasts of an awesome view of the Taal Volcano. My family and I stayed in Club Balai early last year and I noticed a number of additional amenities to accommodate more groups and events.

During our free time, we strolled around Club Balai Isabel's vast property. We saw a newly-built church to accommodate weddings or other occasions of the Catholic faith.

I'm not sure if the facade, which was devoid of paint, was deliberately kept "unfinished", but this added an old-world charm.

The church interior was mostly made of wood which exuded warmth, adding a cozy ambiance for small and intimate weddings. This instantly reminded me of the little church atop a hill in Calaruega in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Located towards the other end of the property was the floating pool-cum-jacuzzi. One would surely feel like dipping into the waters of Taal Lake once submerged in the floating pool. To up the ante,  the jacuzzi could be powered on to relieve those tense muscles while taking in the fresh air and sights of the lake. 

Sitting back on these lounge chairs while sipping in some fresh fruit shake will surely relax a city dweller's tired and weary body.

Another addition to the resort was this huge irregularly-shaped infinity pool. From this angle, the Taal Lake again provides a fantastic backdrop. (My photo doesn't do justice to the pool. I tried taking a picture of the whole pool but I just couldn't fit it in my camera's screen.)

A quiet stroll along the boardwalk path until the sun sets on the horizon is definitely a peaceful respite. A sunset wedding with this at the background would be most lovely.

These new facilities are pleasant additions which make the resort an ideal quick getaway place for families and an ideal venue for corporate team-building activities. These also provide a scenic backdrop for events or occasions. Picture perfect moments won't be hard to create in this idyllic setting.

Its close proximity to Manila is also another plus factor. With the South Luzon Expressway now connected to the Star Tollway, travel time has been considerably cut by 30 to 45 minutes. Getting to Club Balai Isabel is now so much easier. 

For inquiries and more information about Club Balai Isabel, click here to view their website.

Disclosure: Club Balai Isabel is an official hotel partner of the company I work for. We were given a group discount for our accommodations. However, this post was written without the knowledge of the hotel and our company.

September 5, 2011

The Baguio Country Club

The last long weekend was special for us because of HB's 41st birthday. We braved the rains and the fog and traveled to the City of Pines with HB's brother and his family. They extended their privilege of staying at the EDC Staff House which was located atop a hill fronting the Baguio Country Club. As officers of the Energy Development Corp., my brother-in-law and his wife also had rights to use the club's facilities, which they generously extended to us as well.

We spent the afternoon of HB's natal day inside Baguio's oldest and exclusive Club. 

entrance to the Baguio Country Club

such a foggy day

the birthday boy

While HB and I both had previous chances to go and stay inside the BCC, it was our girls' first time to enter. Together with their cousin, they spent quite some time in the game room and tried out their skills in table tennis and darts. When they grew tired, we all promptly moved to the pastry shop which was located near the entrance of the hotel. The wide glass windows of the dining area gave us a great view of the pine trees amidst the fog. 

filling in our sweet tooth with cakes and keeping warm with hot chocolate in The Raisin Bread Shop

The Baguio Country Club's Pastry Shop is called The Raisin Bread Shop, so named after the Club's famous Raisin Bread. I have always been a fan of the BCC's Banana Bread and Raisin Bread. I have brought home these treats as pasalubong. But for HB's tea party, we tried out the pastry shop's other offerings.

French Apple Pie

a slice of Blueberry Cheesecake with a candle to blow for HB

Sadly, the cakes were not as good as their breads. I wonder if these are actually churned by the same staff who make the breads. The apple pie crumbled when sliced and served on a plate. It was actually a little on the bland side for me and did not totally satisfy my sweet tooth. The cheesecake filling was also a disappointment. While it was firm, it lacked thickness. 

Nonetheless, the kids were refueled with some sugar rush and went down again to the recreation room. This time around, they tried their hand at the Wii station.

jamming with the rock band, HB will always be a kid at heart

As I posted on HB's wall on Facebook, I wished him unlimited blessings along with the unlimited rains which continually pelted us during our entire stay in Baguio. It may have been a quiet celebration under gloomy weather, but the presence of family and a quick jaunt at the elite Baguio Country Club made it a (hopefully) great time for my beloved HB.

September 1, 2011

Foggy Marcos Highway

The following photos were taken yesterday on Marcos Highway on our way back to Manila. Note that we traversed this road at 6 a.m.

It was a rainy and foggy day, making the road slippery. Our speed was kept to a minimum as visibility was quite poor. I noticed at least 3 road cuts along the way, plus a number of unpaved spots. There was a remnant of a landslide which covered half of the road. 

On normal days, it would have taken us about 5 1/2 hours to travel from Baguio to Manila. It took us 7 hours yesterday.

Our experience going up to Baguio last Saturday was actually more harrowing. We had absolutely zero visibility on some parts. The night had crept in and I did not dare to take pictures then as I concentrated on telling HB to follow the white lines and the cat's eye on the road. As HB put it, "(it was the) most challenging drive up to the City of Pines...heavy rain in NLEX, flood in Pangasinan, limited visibility and obstacles going up Marcos Highway."

We were all simply thankful to arrive and get home safely. The journeys were indeed quite an adventure which would be told a hundred times over.