A Relaxing Day in Sunrise Cove

A Relaxing Day in Sunrise Cove
By Danny Tariman

We love to discover places. My family had been to a number of beaches in Calatagan, Batangas but it seems we haven’t explored them all. This particular weekend, we were led to go to the tip of Calatagan peninsula – the Sunrise Cove.

The beach during low tide

We drove a bit of a distance. I initially thought it was near Calatagan town proper but it was not. I had to drive more distance and curves before we finally reached the beach.

The place was indeed beautiful for relaxation: a good view of the sea where Pagapas Bay and Isla Verde Passage meets, very refreshing sea breeze, comfortable cottages and beach benches. It was a perfect place for us family wanting to just have a good relaxing day. We thought we would be able to swim; unfortunately, it was a low tide – perhaps lowest for that period – so that we were not able to swim. My children wanted to have a free-dive in one of its spots to see the submarine gardens but they were not able to make it.

The rafts as the tide was slowly rising

We had enjoyed the place, nevertheless. While my son tried to scour the almost flat seabed, trying to find creatures for his salt-water aquarium, our daughter walked our dog on the almost dry seabed. My wife and I just rested our backs on the cottage and had a nice very relaxing moment.

For our lunch, we decided to eat our prepared packed food at the raft tied a few meters away from the shore. It was supposed to be floating, but the low tide didn’t allow it to float. Haha! Just the same, we just loved the sea breeze and the company of each other as we ate our lunch together on a raft.

The rafts during a low tide. It was an easy walk with water just above our ankles

After we enjoyed our meal aboard a raft, we went back to the beach and had more relaxing moments. With the salty wind blowing on our faces, it was really good moments to rest and take a nap.

We drove back home by mid-afternoon. And the cool mountain air of Tagaytay City was irresistible not to stop a while and take a stroll in one of its new lake-facing malls – the Twinlakes. We spent some more moments here before we headed back home, finally.

The line of beach bench and our cabana

We thank the LORD for another family bonding moments… a relaxing day at the beach, and an afternoon stroll in Tagaytay.

Another view of the beach at low tide
Our children enjoying the company of our dog
My family upon our arrival
Our daughter playing with our dog while we were on a raft
A family photo on a different angle
Our after-the-beach stroll in Tagaytay City
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Leaving and Coming

Leaving and Coming
by Danny Tariman

“I am going away, but I am coming back to you.” (John 14:28)

I remember the day when I left my family for an overseas job. Although we all agreed that I would take this job and that there would be no tears, we couldn’t stop ourselves from crying when I was about to leave. We knew that this overseas job would bring tremendous blessings to the family, yet the agony of missing each other for a few years set in.

I cannot thank the Lord enough for His blessings for us while I worked abroad. My children graduated college from the best universities. We were able to purchase a good-sized house in a peaceful community in the city. We have cars. And the biggest blessing was the opportunity to share God’s Word in a foreign land and to become an instrument to bring about change in peoples’ lives. But I’m happy to say that those years are over and now I’m back with my family.

That experience has helped me understand today’s Gospel better. I’m sure the Apostles were saddened to hear Jesus telling them He would leave them, but He also would be leaving them with His peace and reassurance so they would not be troubled. Jesus’ departure is a cause for joy because He is going to the Father, the source of all blessings and graces.

Reflection: It’s always difficult to part with someone or something you love. But trusting that the Lord has better plans for us gives us peace. Are you ready to let go?

Prayer: Dear Lord, I may not know exactly what is Your plan for me, but I put my trust in You.

[This reflection was first published May 21, 2019 in Didache, in Gabay (Tagalog texts), and in Kerygma Family webpage]

Faith in Action

Faith in Action
by Danny Tariman

“If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:15-17)

In a gathering of fellow Christians, I noticed a little girl singing in front of the karaoke. I was told by my wife that this girl is an adopted daughter of the host.

The party host told me later that they found this girl sleeping in makeshift cart, malnourished. Touched by the situation, her family took care of the little girl, clothed her, feed her and treated her as their own.

She further told me that they have another adopted child who is now studying in college. A victim of a broken family, this student had no home nor a family to go to and had to stop schooling. The host’s daughter asked her if they can “adopt” her. And the family did.

This wonderful story amazes me so much, as I see this as faith in action. This host family is simply living out their Christian faith, practicing what the Bible teaches.

I know in my heart that this family will be greatly blessed. As the word of God says “…sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house… Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: ‘Here I am!'” (Isaiah 58:7,9)

Reflection: Would you lift your finger to help a needy person? Or will you just pray for him?

Prayer: Dear Lord, pls forgive me for not helping the needy as you would. Grant me the grace to be a channel of Your love, and a channel of Your blessing. Amen.

Family Snorkeling and Diving in Mabini

Family Snorkeling and Diving in Mabini
by Danny Tariman

It was a long weekend. My family usually looks forward to extended weekends so that we can go for our outdoor activities. We really love outdoors!

This particular weekend, we decided to just go for a day trip to one of Batangas’ famous shores for diving and snorkeling — the shorelines of the municipality of Mabini. Popular in this place is Anilao, the spot where the best underwater marine gardens are.

The view of Mabini snorkelling and diving area

While I and my wife were just lounging at the resort’s balcony which offers a good vantage view of Balayan Bay, our grown-up children were enjoying their free-diving. We later joined them in the dive area, but since I don’t know how to dive, I just enjoy seeing them go down to the deep and explore the beauty of corals and reef fishes.

My wife and I enjoyed our snorkeling, viewing the colorful corals under the sea. I was glad that my wife finally conquered her fear of the deep as we were really in the “deep”. Haha! She didn’t notice we can no longer step on the rocks; we were just floating with our life-vests.

Beautiful and colorful: coral formations in Balayan Bay

Come lunchtime, we prepared grilled tuna and pork chops. I did the cooking — on bare charcoal. This too, is an experience as I have to set it on fire with just match sticks and old newspaper. This is something that I seldom do in the city.

It was an enjoyable lunch for the family, as always! We always have fun and enjoy meals on banana leaves and use our bare hands to eat. And with the shore and the sea in front of us, wow, truly an appetizing ambiance for lunch.

My daughter going for the free dive.

We were told by local folks that there is a cave at the far right-end of the cove. And so in the afternoon, we trekked to the place, passing through pebble shoreline, and climbing rock formations. After about 15 minutes slow trek, we finally reached the “cave”. It was not really a cave but an arch — a rock, which by the pounding of waves through the years, had a huge hole punched through it. And so for me it was not a cave because we can pass through it from the front (facing the sea) to the back of the rock.

My family in front of the “cave”

We continued our snorkeling, while our children had their free-diving. It was a full-day of just enjoying the seas and the company of the family.

We drove back to the city, leaving the resort at about 4:30 in the afternoon. It was a surprisingly less-traffic drive. We reached the city in just about one-and-a-half hour drive. And just before we reached home, we dropped by Starbucks for a good sip of its famous coffee concoctions.

Really a great way to spend a weekend!

Capping the day with espresso coffee at Starbucks
The sunset view of Balayan Bay
Photo of our children taken from the top balcony of the resort
A rock formation at the right-end of the bay
Our son taking his free-dive
A coral formation at the snorkelling area

Smiling, Thanking

Smiling, Thanking
by Danny Tariman

“Let the peace of Christ control your hearts… and be thankful” (Col 3:15)

I was navigating through the early morning traffic going to my work. At an intersection, a motorcycle was about to cross my way. The rider looked into my eyes with a cheerful smile and gestured to cross.

I stopped and gave him back a good smile. And as he crossed, I can read his lips saying, “Thank you”, while still wearing that joyful smile.

I am blessed with his very simple act: a smile and a thank-you.

In today’s traffic chaos, with car drivers and motorcycle riders trying to out-do each other, it was the least that I expect from a fellow road user. Almost every day, it pisses me off that motorcycle riders will just cut across my path as if they are alone on the road: crisscrossing (changing lanes like passing through a zigzag), overtaking at the wrong side, not yielding to traffic lights. It is indeed messy on the road, driving along with motorcycle riders.

But not this morning. And I thank the LORD for people who has the courtesy, and a grateful heart.

Thank you, dear Jesus, for this motorcycle rider who crossed my way early this morning. May many more follow his example.

Reflection: Do you have the road courtesy to yield to other drivers and to traffic signals? Are you grateful to the drivers who let you pass?

Prayer: Dear LORD, grant me the grace to drive carefully and defensively, and to yield to others when necessary. Amen.

Family Adventure in Isla Verde

Family Adventure in Isla Verde
by Danny Tariman

Vista Verde is an island off Batangas province. For this particular weekend, my family planned to explore this off-beaten beach-island destination.

The creamy sand beach of Isla Verde

We left the city at about 5:30 in the morning. Passing through the entire stretch of South Luzon Expressway and of Star Tollway, it was as easy and fast drive reaching Batangas City at 7am. After a quick breakfast stop at a popular food chain, we proceeded to Tabangao Port, where a boat to Vista Verde was anchored.

We reached the island in about an hour. I was awestruck by its crystal clear small waves pounding the shoreline. With powdery white sand, the place is just perfect for this weekend family adventure.

A good vantage view of the beachfront from the top of a hill.

We checked-in at Surface Interval Resort. It is a decent quiet place, perhaps because we were just few guests. The surroundings are clean, and the staff were so friendly and accommodating.

My children had their swimming soon after our arrival, although it was almost noon. While they had their time at the beach, I & my wife prepared our lunch. Really, a nice bonding moment for the family.

It was a very relaxing afternoon. I had never had a long nap in a beach, until this time. With the strong sea breeze comforting me to sleep, the pounding waves seems music to my ears.

My family enjoying the beach

My family had happy moments swimming in the afternoon. With big waves splashing to the shore, we truly had some fun time in a playful swim riding the waves as it nears the beach.

As the sun was going down, the skies slowly turned to orange-red. It was a glorious, scenic view of the sunset. I love this part of the day when I have to capture the sun hiding into the horizon.

The color of sunset at the beach. Truly awesome!

The following day, we went to a dive site for an early morning dive and snorkelling. Wow! It was so beautiful swimming experience! Colorful coral formations with lots of fishes of various colors.

The entrance of Surface Interval Resort.

After the dive, we were treated to a rock formation at Punta, by Rowel, the resort owner who went with us to the dive. The place is good vantage point to develop: it has a snorkeling area and a 10-feet cliff diving spot.

When we were just about to leave Punta, Mother Nature gave us an amazing show. A school of dolphins danced their way, from a good distance from the boat. That really made our day!

I and my kids just loving the afternoon moments

We would like to thank the owners of Surface Interval Resort — Rowel & Jojo, and its friendly staff.

We really had many wonderful, happy moments and experiences in Isla Vista. Thank you Lord!

The beautiful beach of Isla Verde
More bonding moments: my wife and my son
Nighttime at our cottage, while preparing for dinner
The sunset colors as captured in the background
Another view of the beach

Our God of Order

Our God of Order
by Danny Tariman

“And so your faith and hope are in God.” (1 Peter 1:21)

“We’re sorry, your 5:30 a.m. flight for Iloilo this Saturday is canceled,” said the airline representative. I received the disturbing call just three days before our family trip.

With all the details of our family vacation already prepared, we couldn’t easily accept a delayed flight. Our hotel booking was confirmed, our itinerary organized, and our schedules finalized.

I asked that we get the next available flight. I was assured we would. But after an hour, I checked our flight details and learned that we weren’t rebooked yet. Worse, the next flight we could get was past noon, which would affect our tour itinerary and schedule. I was distressed and asked my family to pray.

Finally, I asked the airline that our destination be changed from Iloilo to Bacolod for the 5:30 a.m. flight that Saturday. We were approved with no charge.

God is so good! In putting our faith and hope in Him, we were able to fly to Bacolod direct, which was actually the first destination in our itinerary. It saved us from making a boat transfer had we landed in Iloilo first.

Indeed, “we know that all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28).

Reflection: Are your plans being disturbed? Trust God. Keep the faith.

Prayer: Strengthen my faith, O Lord, that even when everything seems to go wrong, I may continue to have hope and trust in You. Amen.

[This reflection was first published in Didache 2018 — May 30th]