God Provides

God Provides
by Danny Tariman

“He said to [his] disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat… For life is more than food'” (Luke 12:22a, 23a)

My wife had a 2-day holiday with friends in an exclusive resort. Because we want her to just enjoy her moments, we told her not to bother preparing our food packs, which she usually does every day.

She left home early in the morning. My family had a quick breakfast without her and drove-off for our day in the office.

I do not have the usual food pack I bring for the day.

To my surprise, a few minutes upon my arrival the office, two of my staff gave me something I really do not expect: one gave me a cup of bean jelly/curd (taho, in Tagalog), and another gave me an apple! I have food for my snacks!

Just before twelve noon, as I was about to go to the canteen, my staff told me that a member of my office team will be bringing in food for our lunch. Another surprise!

I was so touched at how the LORD provides. As I had asked my wife not to prepare food so she can enjoy her day with friends, the LORD touched somebody else — these three guys — to give me food!

Truly amazing! His Word is indeed real: “seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Matthew 6:33)

Reflection: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat… For life is more than food” (Luke 12:22a, 23a)

Prayer: Am sorry LORD for the times that I have not fully trusted in You by worrying. Grant me the grace to live a life fully surrendered to You! Amen.

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Talisoy Cove: A Rock With Jesus’ Face

Talisoy Cove: A Rock With Jesus’ Face
by Danny Tariman

The city of Virac in Catanduanes never runs out of places to go. I had lived in this island during my childhood years, but never had the chance to explore the places.

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The rock with Jesus’ face

My only sister and her family organized this outing one beautiful summer. Gay, Lilet with their siblings and children planned to have bonding moments with the bigger, extended family. After all, it’s been a couple of years we hadn’t had any family gathering as we live in different places, some are living overseas.

We had this gathering one day in Talisoy beach. It is just a 20-minute drive from the town proper. It is a tiny cove, a good swimming beachfront but has quite big waves which may not be good for unattended children.

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The little cove called “Talisoy”

This place is open to public, and is usually crowded during summer. The huts are very affordable to rent, and beach water is clean. Really a good place for those looking for a nice place for family bonding moments, at an easy-on-the-pocket budget.

One of the attractions of this cove is the rock formation that looks like the face of Jesus. It’s amazing, some people sees 2 faces, some can only see one. Whichever or whatever you can see, one thing is sure: one looks like the face of the LORD.

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The Talisoy beach with Jesus’s face at the right side

We had good sumptuous late lunch at the beach, as my family drove down to this place all the way from another resort: the Puraran Surf.

Indeed, another wonderful time spent with my extended family. Praise be to God!

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The stretch of the cream-colored sandy beach
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My family pic
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The extended family pic

Dinner Time

Dinner Time
by Danny Tariman

“When you come together to eat, wait for one another.” (1Cor 11:33)

Dinner time is one of those moments I wait for. Each day.

This is the time when my family shares our daily experiences, the achievements we had for the day, the challenges we encountered at work, the joyful moments we had, and even problems we encountered during the day.

It is also a time for us to talk about our dreams, our wishes, and even a time to plan family events.

It is indeed good! We laugh together, we share ideas, we ask questions, and many more. It is a delightful family time.

There is one rule, though, that we observe during dinner time: no mobile phones on the table. This enables us to really have moments for each other — with no distractions.

Today’s verse reminds us to be together, to have moments for each other during mealtime.

Reflection: Do you wait for each other at the family’s table during mealtime?

Prayers: Dear Lord, grant that my family will have wonderful moments during meal time. May these be moments of sharing Your love and joy. Amen!

Surfing in Puraran

Surfing in Puraran
By Danny Tariman

It was raining hard when we reached this surfing destination of Catanduanes. We had been in this place in the past, but its fresh salty-wind, fine-sand shores, and barrel waves in the seas are irresistible for us not to come back. I like this place — rather I love this place. After all, I grew up in the town where this resort is located.

The iconic islets fronting the Puraran shoreline

Despite the impending storm, we braved the rains. It was good, because somehow the storm induced bigger waves. Something that my daughter liked because she wanted to ride the surf again.

My daughter in her surfing form

She wasn’t disappointed: she enjoyed the surfing. While she was riding the surf, her equally adventurous father was taking videos or photos of her surfing.

The beach with just us strolling.

And while she was surfing, my son who owns a salt water aquarium, was busy searching the seabed for sea creatures he can put live in his aquarium.

Me and my wife had wonderful moments too in the beach: just gazing the horizon, sharing stories and experiences… Really good moments.

My family at the resort’s accommodation

My family had a good accommodation too. The beach resort we checked-in is a family-run simple resort, the Pacific Surf. It has just a few native huts lining the putting greens. But we got an aircon room for just 1,500 pesos!

Indeed, it was another beautiful day in Puraran! Thank You LORD!

I and my daughter before she rode the surf board
Another view of the Puraran beach

Witness at the Workplace

Witness at the Workplace
by Danny Tariman

“It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” – (Matthew 24:46-47)

You are on Facebook. Or maybe exchanging text messages on your phone. That’s why you forgot your task at hand. Suddenly, your boss arrives. He asks you, “How’s the job I assigned to you?” You freeze. You have no answer. You are at a loss. You are caught red-handed!

Can you relate? My friend, as witnesses for Christ in the workplace, we have to work diligently on the tasks assigned to us. We have to make sure that we give our best, as if working for the Lord. The Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23). In the preceding verse, the Bible tells us to “obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord” (Colossians 3:22). I believe that when we give our best at work, even when our bosses are not looking over our shoulders, they will be pleased with us. Soon, they will promote us and put us in charge of bigger responsibilities.

Reflection: Are you giving your best in your workplace? Are you making your boss happy?

Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for not giving my best at work. Please grant me the grace to work with all my heart to the best of my ability. Amen.

[This relfection was first published in Didache Aug 30, 2018, and was read in “Gabay” at Radio Varitas 846]

Tuwad-Tuwadan Rolling Hills & Rock Formations

Family Adventures
Tuwad-Tuwadan Rolling Hills & Rock Formations
by Danny Tariman

My family loves outdoors and adventures. We are always in the look-out for new places to explore. It was not a surprise that when we heard and saw photos of Tuwad-Tuwadan, we put it in our bucket list.

The view of the blue ocean from the hills

Tuwad-Tuwadan Rolling Hills and Rock Formation is in the northern tip of the island province of Catanduanes. It is within the bounds of a village called Balangonan in the town of Pandan. The town is about 90km north of the City of Virac. We drove to this town from Virac for almost 3 hours, enjoying the coastal view by the road.

We got lost, actually. We didn’t notice the road to Tuwad-Tuwadan and drove straight to the town proper where we asked for directions. [Poor me! We didn’t use technology – like Google Maps – to locate the place.] That was good too, because we were able to visit the town, and even had some moments of prayers inside St Ignatius of Loyola parish church.

The fresh winds of the hills greeting us

Driving back southbound from Pandan, we finally found the road to Tuwad-Tuwadan. It was another challenge as there were no directional signs yet, as the road was under construction. And because it was under construction, we passed through dirt and muddy road.

If you plan to go driving yourself, do not go straight to the village (barangay) of Balangonan as the locals will offer you to take a boat ride to Tuwad-Tuwadan. When you go by boat, you will miss the windy and magnificent view of the rolling hills.

The rock formation on a windy day and rough seas.

Asking a few locals, we were able to finally found the right road. It was a very tough and rough drive. I would highly recommend that you bring an SUV for this adventure. I drove passing through deep trenches in the middle of the trail; I had to carefully navigate the tires not to roll down the trench! It was really a difficult, almost off-road trail.

All the difficulties reaching the place were negated when we reached the rolling hills. It was indeed an awesome view, with winds splashing our faces! From the hills, I have a fantastic view of the cream colored beach cove which opens to the blue ocean.

Another view of the rolling hills

This is just the opening of Tuwad-Tuwadan! We continued our drive until we reached the drop-off place to start our trek. This was just a short less-than-a-kilometer drive.

We were guided by 2 little local girls. We trekked passing through a rice field paddy to the main rolling hills. Really beautiful! Even our puppy who went with us from Manila enjoyed the place. She run away from us and explored the hills too! It was a good 15-20 minutes of hiking.

A lagoon that would have been a “blue lagoon” had it not been for the rough sea.

The rock formation is a down-hill trek on the side of the hills to the sea. It was a very steep trek. Although the locals made some cemented steps, I was a bit scared going down as I have this fear of heights. What could have been the blue lagoon was a white lagoon when we visited the place. It was because the sea was rough, with waves pounding the rocks, and the suds splashed by the waves covered the lagoon. It was still a good place for photos though. We didn’t swim as it was quite dangerous because of rough seas.

After few minutes of photo-ops, enjoying the sea breeze, and the magnificent views, we drove back to Virac. Another amazing experience for our family!

My family enjoying another adventure
Me and my wife at the rice paddy going to the rolling hills.
With my son
And with my daughter

Pure Nature: The Beauty of Palumbanes

Pure Nature: The Beauty of Palumbanes
by Danny Tariman

My family had been talking about this “newly discovered” adventure-tourist spot off the island province of Catanduanes. We had seen a number of TV programs showing this stunning place where nature is at its best.

The pristine beach of Palumbanes

Palumbanes is an island off the coast of Caramoran, a northern town of Catanduanes province. It can be reached by a 45-minute boat ride. Caramoran is about 55km from Virac airport, passing though well-paved roads, zigzag at some points. My family drove for about 1hr and 40 minutes — quite slow — as this was the first time we drove this way. We had to take some photos, enjoy the view, while driving.

We were warmly met by the Palumbanes village head upon reaching the jump-off point in Caramoran. There is a safe parking area near the wharf, where we left our car overnight.

Upon reaching the island, we were awed by its pristine cream-colored beach! And crystal-clear sea water! With no other people in the island — except the 4 of us! We were indeed for an awesome, nature adventure trip!

My family — all alone in the beach.

We brought with us a couple of tents for our family, but the good village head offered us a native hut made of bamboo and palm leaves. This added to our nature outdoor experience!

We stayed in this secluded island in Parompong beach — a long stretch of fine cream-colored sand. My family is almost alone! We can play, we can swim, and we can do just about anything without any interference!

Just near the beach is a rich marine garden! My children were able to spot clown fishes playing in its natural habitat — a blanket anemone!

Clown fishes playing just few meters from the shore.

Oh yes, the corals! Our host took us to a nearby deep snorkelling area. My children, of course, take turns doing their free-diving to about 15-18 feet. I and my wife also took a dip into that snorkelling area. We were just awed by its colorful coral formations.

As the day was about to close, we all watched for a spectacular view of the sunset! We were not failed! Golden rays booming out of the clouds, with the sea at its foreground, a perfect shot indeed!

The golden sunset of Palumbanes

In the night, it was another almost magical experience for my family. We saw a couple of trees along the beach inhabited by fireflies! My 2 children (and me too!) immediately took their mobile phones to take photos, but unfortunately, it didn’t work. My son took out his DSLR camera, but then again, the fireflies can hardly be seen. But the experience was just awesome!

All alone in the beach that evening, we were just gazing the heavenlies. We enjoyed a night of pure nature: just the moon and the stars lighting the beach and the entire surroundings! There was no electricity, and no lamps. In my about 2 decades living in the city, this was the first time I enjoyed the moon and the stars! Really wonderful, what an experience!

My son on top of a rock formation. Note the stars in the background, this photo was taken in the night

Here’s another experience: we cooked our dinner on firewood! Wow, indeed outdoor experience at its best!

We were assisted in this adventure by a passionate promoter of the Catanduanes Island as a tourist destination — Ferdie Ocol Benavidez — who led me to meet our tour guide, and Palumbanes village head, Kap Tiloy Condeno who guided us. Kap Tiloy can be reached through his mobile phone at 0948-4165370.

We left the island the following morning with many good memories to keep. Amazing, awesome, wonderful experience!

My family floating at the snorkeling area.
My wife and I taking a selfie while watching the sunset
Our children taking photos of the beautiful sunset.
My daughter taking the 18-ft deep.
With our puppy who traveled 600-km with us from Manila.