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Of Giant Ducks and Trampolines


A day in Club Balai Isabel’s newest attraction

From where I lay, all I could see was the shiny arching neck of a duck. Or was it a swan? It was unmoving at first then, all of a sudden, it turned towards me, very slowly, like something in the continuum was resisting it. It looked sinister, all too ready to clobber me with its beak. “God,” I heard myself say. That’s enough jumping for today.

I turned to lie on my back. The wet canvas of the trampoline cold against my skin. That Saturday, the late afternoon sky over at Talisay, Batangas was a sweep of grey and plump clouds. The Taal Volcano a mere hazy outline on the far horizon. Club Balai Isabel (CBI), a premier resort, had just officially opened its newest addition to the estate: an inflatable water park.

It wasn’t the first of its kind in the Philippines, but what sets CBI’s apart is, unlike the others that’s been set up just for the summer, it will be a permanent attraction. Guests will get to enjoy the park all year round. Plus, it only takes about two hours from Manila to get to the resort.

Stumbling splashes of fun

Dubbed as the Aqua Park and taking up a half hectare of Lake Taal, it’s composed of a variety of obstacle courses made even more challenging by the squishy, wobbly, slippery nature of high-grade inflatable vinyl. A portion of it is festooned with large inflated balls. There’s a giant hamster wheel, and this crazy contraption where one is essentially catapulted to the water. Of course, there were the giant swan-ducks.

Everything reminded me of that TV show American Ninja Warrior, only this seemed more fun because chances of stumbling and falling over were higher (I speak from experience). Safety’s not an issue though, as everyone who chooses to go on the park was required to wear a life vest. Alert and helpful lifeguards are stationed in every corner to boot.

In fact, they were so helpful and ready to assist guests that I had let myself be “conned” into going up what I thought was a too-tall-for-my-taste waterslide right at the center of the Aqua Park. I was content pretending to do some defensive Parkour across the ground-level (or water-level?) obstacles. If I hadn’t seen a green-shirt-wearing lifeguard at the top of the slide, I wouldn’t have gone up there. But the thing is I went on it, and, alright, it was quite a thrill. Even though I swear I saw a five-second reel of my life as I was skidding down, I did actually enjoy it. I think the screaming helped.

My favorite part, however, were the trampolines. I kept returning to them, jumping with ferocity and careless abandon. Even after I fell face first into the black canvas and had a bit of an episode with the giant inflatable ducks/swans, I got up and kept bouncing. Good thing too, because then, the sunset made it more special. As I cavorted and leaped to my heart’s content, I watched the sky turn from drab to golden, then to a purplish afterglow that bathed everything in a soft, flattering light. The giant inflatable duck-swan hybrids even looked a little less threatening. All was well.

Moments later, we were informed that it was 6 p.m., and we were herded out of the Aqua Park. It was closing for the day. After all the guests were off the structure, the green-clad men went straight to inspecting the inflatables, checking for air leaks and holes, prepping the Aqua Park for another day.

As I took off my orange vest, I thought, “I want another go at that trampoline.” It was at that moment I was sure that CBI’s Aqua Park was going to be a hit.

To know more about CBI’s newest attraction, head over at their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/aquaplayparks