Sailing on Taal Lake with kids
Taal Lake Yacht Club is a great place for families to enjoy sailing. In fact, the owner, Peter Capotosto (an American who has lived in the Philppines for 62 years), opened the yacht club 18+ years ago to bring the sport of sailing to the Philippines. He told me how as a child he had a really difficult time concentrating and doing well in school, until one day as an early teen he went sailing for the first time. It changed everything for him. He loved it so much that all of a sudden he wanted to learn everything he could about it. He WANTED to read books and learn about topics like sailing and physics. He became a tinkerer as he tried to figure out how things worked.
Well now he has a yacht club and his target audience is local FAMILIES. Why families? Well he really wants the children and youth to learn it, but he said that it’s no good for the kids to know if the parents don’t understand it too and BRING their children to sailing. Kids can’t brning themselves on their own! So, at the yacht club, you can take sailing lessons as a family (that’s ideal), but otherwise kids as young as 9 (that’s when things start to really click, said Peter) can learn to sail at the yacht club. Peter added, “if there’s a child as young as 5 who is really into sailing, we’ll take him!”
Peter has a passion for sailing and for passing on this passion to Filipinos. “We were a sailing people once upon a time, and we’ve lost it,” he said. I have to say, it was a welcome change to adventure on a motor-less sailboat versus a buzzing bangka.
Well, my kids loved our time sailing that day. The yacht club has many sizes of sailboats at different hourly or day rates. For kids learning to sail on their own, they have “Gooses.” For families with no sailing expertise yet but who want to go for a ride, they have “Hobie Getaways”, which fit 4 adults in addition to the instructor/guide. Since we had kids with us, we could carry an extra person, so 5 people on each Getaway. It costs 1900 pesos for an hour rental of theGetaway, or 4200 pesos for the whole day. There’s about a 350 peso fee for the tour guide, as well as a per person fee if you only rent the boat for an hour (which does not apply if you rent for the whole day). Below is a pic of the rates, and also please see more info at the Taal Lake Yacht Club website.
We were two families and enjoyed two Getaways for an hour. We intended to rent the boats for the whole day, but it being a windy day in February, we got really wet from the cold water- and we were good after an hour! It was a first for us to get so cold while boating in the Philippines! Also, the 1-hour rides were also way more thrilling than we expected and the kids already had a blast with just that- holding on as we sailed swiftly over rather big waves in the gusty air with water splashing over us. My 5-year-old said, “it’s like a ride at Enchanted Kingdom!”. Yes, except on an actual boat and subject to actual nature. Our older kids in the group, aged 12, 13 and 14, had some previous sailing experience, and Peter himself being one of our guides, was so good at teaching them in that hour we had with him. The kids took turns driving and tightening or loosening the sail. I recommend taking Peter as a your guide/instructor if possible! His love for sailing was obvious and he made it a memorable time for all of us.
The yacht club recommends making a reservation for the boats before coming, this is to ensure that they have an instructor/guide available when you arrive. These are the same guides who take visitors to Taal Volcano, so might not be available if you don’t reserve beforehand. So, yes, if you want to climb Taal volcano, this is also good jumping-off point for that with trusty guides.
Taal Lake Yacht Club allows pets and bringing food in (you can even camp there). They do have snacks and menu items for sale. The meat for the menu items is frozen and only thawed and prepared once you order, so plan ahead. We brought in a picnic which we had at their picnic tables after sailing.
Note: Another spot to learn how to sail relatively close to Metro Manila is at Puerto Galera Yacht Club. My daughter went here for 5 days with her class of 12/13-year-olds on a field trip to learn how to sail.