Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Batangas: Sailing for beginners at Taal Lake Yacht Club

Ivan Man Dy talks about our Lake Sailing 101 adventure at the Taal Lake Yacht Club and lunch at Club Balai Isabel in Talisay, Batangas.

I had thought that layag was just the verb and I didn't realize that layag is also Tagalog for boat sail. Just like English, layag (the sail) is root word of the verb layag (to sail). Thus maglalayag sa dagat literally translates to sailing in the sea. This was just one of the many aha moments I learned with our first sailing experience in Taal Lake in Batangas. We recently checked out the sailing activities at the Taal Lake Yacht Club (TLYC) upon invitation by their president Peter Capotosto to try out the sports activities of the club. And what a revelation it was!
             
Located in the town of Talisay just below the ridge from Tagaytay, we now add this to our list of fun things to do when visiting this highland city. Upon arrival, we signed a waiver and did a crash course on sailing. TLYC offers several options to enjoy the the waters of Taal Lake such as the Hobie 16 (feet) sail boat that is good for 3 people, kayaks, sail boards and even bangka rentals for Taal Volcano hikes. Our pick was the two-hulled Hobie 21 Sport Cruiser sailboat which was the biggest in the lot. With Peter as our captain and guide, we immediately headed off for the water.
           
Our day was perfect for sailing, with the onset of the amihan (north-east monsoon), Taal Lake was filled with endless gusts of wind that took our Hobie sail boat from a relaxing cruise to sudden bursts of speed which was very exhilarating! In between controlling the sail, determining the wind direction and guiding us as we controlled the rudder, our captain Peter explained to us the intricacies of this sport as well as discussed the environment issues currently confronting Taal Lake. In terms of sanitation standards, Taal Lake is rated class 2 which means that it is not recommend for drinking but just right for swimming and water sports like sailing.
       
For our lunch break, we made a spur of the moment decision to dock at the nearby resort of Club Balai Isabel. Good thing the resort's amiable president Nelson Terrible was there and he treated us to a sumptuous lunch buffet at the restaurant. What was once an old coconut plantation is now a nine-hectare fully-furnished resort with 228 rooms and a swimming pool, in case the lake is too big for you!
             
All in all, it was a very productive morning with fresh insights and new experiences to a tried-and-tested day-trip destination. Sailing is an individual sport as it can be a fun-group or family-oriented activity. They even allow for food and beer to carried on-board! Note that you will get very wet, so do not forget to bring extra clothes, towels and toiletries. Hobie sail boat rentals start at Php1,500 and goes up depending on the boat size and duration. Even better is that the rental fees can be charged on an hour's interval, perfect for first-timers who are initially testing the waters to this adrenaline pumping sport!

Thanks to Peter Capotosto of the Taal Lake Yacht club for hosting this trip. For sailing details, click here.

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