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“I heart Balai Laiya”

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Balai Resort Anilao
Ranked #5 of 7 Hotels in Mabini
Reviewed November 24, 2009

Our stay at Balai was wonderful. It definitely exceeded our expectations! The resort's theme is native and back-to-basics. I love the nipa huts! The rooms were small but they were very clean. Smelled like fabric softener. There were two double beds and they also provided clean towels. The bathroom was nice. Spacious, clean and has hot and cold water. They also have those traveller soaps and shampoos in sachet. We didn't use them since we brought our own. Didn't know they would provide that.

The staff were polite and friendly. They answered all of our questions and took good care of us while we were there. Meals were served when we wanted it since we were the only guests and the servings were more than enough. The other reviews were correct. The food is what makes your stay worth it. Dea, the cook, is amazing! Someone should pirate him and bring him to the city. Hehe. Kidding.

The beach is not sugary, like Boracay. It is white though but more gravelly/pebbly. The water is clean and clear. You can see fishes swimming arpund you! Better than Boracay's... almost as beautiful as Moalboal's water in Cebu. There's no TV or radio in the rooms so you have to keep yourself preoccupied. There's sungka in the dining hall, billiards in the reception area and a couple of novels/magazines lying around. I love the dining area! Breezy and relaxed. The chair was too high for my daughter though so she had to eat standing and used the chair as her table. Cute.

Overall, an amazing experience. Not bad for our first family outing. The commute wasn't too bad as well. It was around 5 hours from Laguna but we enjoyed the trip. The directions on the site are accurate. If you're not sure, you can always ask the locals.

See you soon, Balai!!!

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank kaliweftie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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18 - 24 of 31 reviews

Reviewed October 27, 2009

Enjoyed our stay at Balai. Went for diving and the boat guys were great. Location is a bit isolated so if you crave snacks, make sure you bring some on your trip and keep them in a bag so that the bugs don't try to get them. You can get soft drinks n beer n such but there are no snack machines.Rooms were a bit pricey...3,000p per person if you are sharing a room...4,000p per person if you are single room. Also...we took a driver with us and there were drivers quarters there so that was nice but we are still trying to figure out why each of us was charged 200p for driver entry fee. Rooms are cute..bamboo floors and perfect for a diving trip. No TV's, a/c was great, fan in the room as well. Hot water in the shower and plenty of places to hang wet scuba gear on your shared front balcony. Food is served buffet style and we enjoyed it all during our stay. Staff was nice n very helfpul. Slept with our doors open and listened to the waves at night. It was very nice!

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Yvonne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2009

I was invited by a very good friend of mine to join his family, relatives and friends to have fun in Balai Anilao. I checked about the place first through the internet and asked some friends about it and got favorable reviews about the resort. Since my weakness is great food, I was easily convinced to join them after hearing that Balai serves good dishes (buffet style) despite the long trip from Manila.

We left Manila at 4:30 AM to reach Balai before 8AM to enjoy the morning sun of Anilao. We requested for a boat to bring us to Sombrero Island as suggested by their office representative in Manila and was charged P1,500 for the boat rental. We reached Sombrero Island after a 20 minute boat ride and surprised to learn that our group (7 adults, 2 kids and 1 mentally challenged person) was being charged an amount of P1,500 for a maximum of 2-hour stay in an island with no cottages, no food stalls, no other people aside from the guy manning the island. This same guy did not allow us to use one of the two tables in the island without us paying him another P800. We wanted the guy to issue us receipts for all his charges but he wouldn't issue one. We then decided not go down from the boat and we just transferred to another place. We just rented the boat for 2 hours and went back to Balai, looking forward to lunch. We had tilapia and grilled pork... not enough for second servings considering that we were with 2 kids.

Dinner came... salty chicken barbecue, breaded pork chop, cold cream soup and pasta with creamy mushroom sauce were served. I started asking for nearby restaurants or fastfoods to satisfy my cravings and hunger but we were stuck in an isolated place with nothing to do but play mahjong while the others play rummikub with the kids. Since we had an early day, we went back to our rustic rooms at 10pm.

The worst of our stay came...breakfast! We were stunned to see pancakes, rice, bread, eggs, a bowl of "Sabah Mackarel" and a plate of slices of canned meatloaf!!!! Why were we eating canned foods in a resort located in a place which is supposedly rich in fresh seafoods and low-priced meats???!!!! Where were the sumptuous meals that other people talked about?

Due to our great disappointment, we left Balai before lunchtime. We left with no good memories of our stay, and no good experience to share with our friends.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with friends
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14  Thank Mackarel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2009

The SERVICE is great. All members of the staff are always smiling. They were very helpful, accommodating and fast.

The ROOM looks and feels "native" with its airy, bamboo floor and the nipa hut roof. You can decide if you want to use the a/c or if you'll just settle with the fan. The bathroom is very clean unlike other resorts. But I just want to share that I found a cockroach despite the cleanliness of the area.

The BEACH is nice and clean but it doesn't have fine, white sand. But I can say that I liked it so much. The waves are not big so it's nice to swim. A few cottages and benches are scattered in the area. There are just a few people even if it's a long weekend.

The FOOD there is just amazing. We paid for the overnight package with 3 meals/buffet and all the foods that they served are delicious.

The place is a bit far from Manila though it's not difficult to find it cause the instructions that they gave us was good enough. We didn't get lost. In fact, we just commuted to go there. The only 'not-so-good' thing is that the total fare is a little pricey.

Balai Laiya is wonderful. We'll go back there for sure. :)

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank mariellovesthebeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2009

My best friend brought me here with his families and another friend from the states. We check in to their rooms, rooms are really very rustic and old.

Then we rented a boat from the hotel for 1500 pesos, which is good for 3 hours. The boat man said that we can go to Sombrero Island, the only decent beach area nearby. We got there, and they were charging 150 pesos for each people and 800 pesos for the table, which i feel is outrageous for an undeveloped Island, lots of broken corals on the beach which I think is not safe for children since we have two with us. It has zero amenities, not even a restroom. The person in charge was arrogant and we feel unsafe to stay so we decided to leave immediately. Then we were brought to a snorkling area which is just average. With nothing else to do, we were brought back to the hotel one hour earlier than our expected time. Actually the boat wants us to stay in sombrera island and even discouraging us to go snorkling.

Here comes our lunch. We read that they have a heavenly buffet but it turns out that is wasn't heavenly at all. The food is limited both in quantity and quality. We had egg drop soup, fried tilapia, grilled pork, vegetable and dessert. Considering that we had three kids with us, the food wasn't even enough to make our first round. Considering that it was buffet. We already advise the staff that the food was not enough. When they serve our dinner, the chicken is very salty that the children don't even want to touch it. The cream soup that they serve was not enough. But the worst of all, was breakfast. They serve us canned goods of sardines and maling or mai-ling meatloaf whatever it is, eggs and pancakes. As if we are stranded on an island and there is nothing fresh to serve. My host decided that we should skipped lunch even we already paid for it. We feel sorry that our host feels embarassed for taking us to that place.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank ricci2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2009

me and my friend went to balai anilao last may 19 and it was a very nice and fun experience.after 2 hours bus ride and 30 minutes bumpy ride in jeepney we arrive at the resort around 12:30 pm..we went straight to the front desk to check in.the girl in the front desk is so nice she smiled right away we she saw us she entertain us very politely and after we showed her the receipt from UCPB (FYI before you can go to balai laiya you need to pay the half of your bill in their account in UCPB) the girl told tme that they implement that policy for marketing purposes because some of the guest have reservation but on the day itself they won't show up,they need to estimate the number of people that will come on a certain day so they could estimate the food that they gonna serve since all the meal is buffet.nwei going back after i showed her the receipt she show us our room then she said that the lunch is ready....since both of us is so tired due to the long bumpy travel time we just put our thing in our room then go straight to the dining area...there are 3 main dishes that you can choose from then soup and a desert.the food was really amazing!!!!it is just a typical pinoy food but there is some kinda twist on it...that makes it real mouth watering..me and my friend realy enjoy the food there.after eating we gear and and get ready to swim.. the sand is white but its not as white as bora though...water is clear and cold..i really enjoyed by stay at balai laiya..this is highly recomended

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with friends
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2  Thank piffer12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2009

Last weekend, my sister and together with some firends had our overnight summer escapade at Balai Laiya Resort in San Juan Batangas. Though I have previously visited and stayed in couple of resorts along the shorelines of Laiya too, it was my first time in Balai. Alright, below are the things I noticed from beginning until the end of our trip.

1. Reservation - Never in my entire inquiry process had I have a big problem dealing with their resort reservation agents. They are consistent on the booking information and very much accommodating. You can ask them anything you want - from the size of the rooms, the look / ambiance of the resort, food menu they are going serve on each meals, house rules, flexibility of the inclusive packages, payment procedures - I must say they are very accurate and true. If you are a sigurista traveler just like me - then having an uber honest agent is like heaven.

2. Travel - Since we took the courage of commuting all the way to Laiya, one thing that amazes me is that the resort can be easily found. At first I have this gutty feeling that we'll get lost because along the road I hardly able to find advertisement boards and "this way" signs of Balai, but by asking on most all-so-knowing jeepney drivers on bound to Laiya, we were able to make it just 3 hrs of travel time. I think the resort's popularity in the whole Laiya town wont make you lost along the way - so, who needs map anyway?

3. Location and Ambiance - The entire resort is situated right along the shorelines of Laiya. You can see the clear waters approximately 15 to 25 ft away from the main resort hall. The resort has a perfect view of the whole stretch of Laiya especially when you stand in the sun deck area, what's sad though is you cannot actually see the sun sets nor rise. Also the resort is filled with tall sampaloc trees and flowers which I think adds the breezy, so natural and earthly feeling when you walk along the area. Resort's over-all design is rustic and light, they use more on natural materials such as woods, bamboos, nipa and stones.

4. Rooms and Facilities - Since the resort was fully booked as early as 5 days before the day we stayed, I only got the seaside room with maximum capacity of 3 person. At first I was reluctant to set the deal but because i feel the honesty of their reservation agent, I said yes to it. But to my surprise the room turned out just fine and what i expected. It was cozy, decent, clean, not smelly and has a nice private bathroom toilet inside. Bedsheets were smelly good, same with the towels and yes the room has a small veranda overlooking to the shoreline.

5. Food - This is the most distinct reason why I enjoyed my stay at Balai. Really, i cant believe that the food was so delicious! I always have this notion that when you dine in a buffet style places taken in the country side/provinces of Luzon - expect that they will serve the classic provincial menu, which I find it very typical, so expected and a bit mediocre styled way of cooking. But in Balai - provincial menus turned into a new level of elegance and high distinction. Where can you find a very chessy tomatao-based baked macaroni pasta with shredded eggplant inside - only in Balai. One thing as well, they serve in great quantities - super buffet!

6. Service - The whole staff of Balai is just super perfect. From the front desk (Elma), kitchen helper (Susan), the super tight mamang security guard up to the dining hall caretaker (Greg) - everyone was at their best in terms of respect, kindness and courtesy.

7. Value for Money - though standard rate may hit as high as 2,050 php per person on an overnight accommodation with 4 buffet packaged meal - it is still recommendable and so worth it. Like I already enumerated above, Balai Laiya offers real quality to their customers - and they make sure that your stay in the resort, will be the best ever.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with friends
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5  Thank akosihetty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Balai Resort Anilao

Address: San Teodoro, Mabini, Luzon, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Luzon > Calabarzon Region > Batangas Province > Mabini
Amenities:
Beach
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 7 Hotels in Mabini
Number of rooms: 16
Also Known As:
Balai Resort Anilao Hotel Mabini
Balai Hotel Batangas
Balai Hotel Anilao
Balai Resort Anilao Batangas/Mabini, Philippines

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