God’s Generosity

God’s Generosity
by Danny Tariman

“To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away”  (Luke 8:18)

“We cannot outdo God’s generosity.” I’ve heard this many times from people getting more than what they give.

Meet “Kuya T.” He always gives in generous amounts at every opportunity to help the parish. He used to live in a modest house in a small village. He now owns a big house in a nice village, bought an adjacent lot, and owns a few cars.

Meet “Family K.” This family is a big-time benefactor of parishes. This family funded a substantial portion of the new church building requiring over P15 million. The Lord continues to prosper their family business even more.

I have my own little story, too. My family helped a rural village build their own modest chapel. At that time, we were still praying for our own house. I claimed God’s word in Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap….” I know God would fulfill His promise. Three years later, we moved in our own house in a quiet neighborhood in the metro!

Yes, we receive in the measure we give.

Reflection: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please forgive me for being stingy. Grant me the grace to be generous, as You are.

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A Family Trek to Buruwisan Falls

A Family Trek to Buruwisan Falls
by Danny Tariman

It was another long weekend. Our family had planned few weeks before, to go and “discover” Buruwisan Falls.

We have heard of this falls, we passed by the drop-off point many times in the past, but we really have not planned to go out and see this falls which is very near the Metro. But this particular weekend, we intend to trek.

The towering and enchanting Buruwisan Falls with my family in the foreground

It had been raining in the city for the past couple of days due a tropical typhoon in the northern tip of the country. But this has not dampened our spirits to go and trek that Saturday.

And so, we left the city at about 5:30 in the morning, did a 100-km drive to Macatad, in Famy, Laguna. We had a brief stop-over in Pagsanjan where we had a quick breakfast, and arrived at the drop-off point at about 8:00.

The road to the drop-off point lined by trees.

After the usual registration process and payment of fees, we got our trek guide “Kuya Dondon”. We were quite fortunate to have him for our tour guide: he was very helpful, and cheerful, and knows the place and the various trails quite well.

We started our trek at about 8:30am, passing a hanging bridge. Oh! We forgot to have our usual stretching exercise before the start.

The weather was good that morning. But the night before, we were told that there were rains. Because of this, the trail was wet, muddy, and slippery. It was a long trek. After almost an hour, we reached the summit of the first mountain. Yes, first mountain. Because we have to pass another mountain before the descending trail to the falls.

The summit of the first mountain along the trek. A good view of Rizal province, you can see the windmills of Pililia.

We passed a number of pit-stops which sells fresh young coconuts. I like these young coconuts – as it refreshes my thirst plus it is a good source of electrolytes. My family had a good drink of its juice and take its white meat!

It was quite a difficult trek mainly because the trail was wet. And because it was wet, it was muddy and slippery. It took us 3-1/2 hours to reach Buruwisan Falls! It would have been an easy 2-hour trek if the trail was dry.

This part of the trek is near the summit of the second mountain we passed.

The final descent to the falls was even trickier. The trail was very steep and rocky! But all the weariness due to the long trek were gone when we were greeted by the towering and enchanting Buruwisan falls. According to Wikipedia, the drop height of this falls is about 50 meters!

The final stretch: a steep descent to the falls.

Beneath the falls is a relatively shallow basin of water. According to our trek guide, the inner part of the basin could be 10 to 15 feet deep. We did not try. Hehe! My son & I had a good swim in the icy cold water in the periphery.

We had some good photo shoots here. While relaxing at the beautiful scenery and refreshing river, we had our lunch right at the riverbank beside the falls.

Our soiled, muddy shoes after the wet, muddy and slippery trek.

We were so tired by this time, and we wanted to just go back to the drop-off point. But our trek guide tells us that a nearby falls is just about a 5 minute walk. And so we went.

It was a 10-minute walk actually, really short distance from Buruwisan. This is called Lanzones Falls. It was a remarkably smaller falls, but the view is just as wonderful: gushing waters cascading from the rocks and splashing to small basin below.

The Lanzones Falls: so refreshingly cool with wild anthoriums lining the “walls” of the falls.

Our return trek was much faster! It took us only 2 hours with a couple of stops! Thanks to our guide Kuya Dondon (phone 0912-961-3105) who led us to another trail which was much shorter but quite steep. The deep descent was okay, since we were going down. It would have been a difficult one if we passed this trail going up.

We thank the LORD for this another wonderful family adventure experience!

My family in front of Lanzones Falls
My family at the summit of the first mountain
We finally reached the marker of Buruwisan Falls after 3-1/2 hours of trek.

Thanking in Adversity

Thanking in Adversity
by Danny Tariman

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” (Phil 4:6)

Our car conked-out in a far-away city, almost 70km from where we live.

I was with my family. We have no friends nor acquaintances in this place. And we have no one to run to, except to the LORD!

We stopped at about 6:15pm due to a broken engine belt. It was past 6pm and most, if not all, automotive shops were closed for the day. But we were still hoping to find one.

We prayed to the LORD and lifted up to Him our situation.

Despite this problem, we continued to thank the LORD.

We thank the LORD for a wonderful day at the beach! Yes, we had been from a beach.

We thank the LORD that we stopped not in the middle of a dark highway, but in the city, in a well-lighted road.

We thank the LORD for “Nomer” the tricycle driver who accompanied me in looking for an open shop as fast as he can, trying to beat the closing of shops. We went to over 5 shops – all closed!

We thank the LORD for “Noni” a café owner, who had extended his all-out help calling his friends from his mobile phone, and even knocking at his neighbors trying to help us resolve our situation.

We thank the LORD too for the complimentary coffee that “Noni” offered from his café.

We thank the LORD for the automotive shop near our stalled car for helping us; even contacting a car service provider to help us.

We thank the LORD for the mechanic who fixed our alternator belt; the LORD sent a skilled mechanic!

We thank the LORD for keeping us safe the entire night sleeping inside our stalled car.

We thank the LORD for bringing us back home safely!

As the Bible says “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” (Phil 4:4).

Yes, it was grace that despite the problems, we were able to say “Thank You LORD!”

“Noni”

“Noni”
by Danny Tariman

“Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers, especially for strangers… Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.” (3 John 1:5,6b)

We were driving back home late in the afternoon.

Suddenly, after about 57km of travel, at around 6:10pm, our car’s dashboard alerts lit-up. Something is wrong!

I tried driving a few meters but I noticed that the breaks were not okay, while the alerts continue to blink.

We stopped and parked our car at the roadside, in front of a café.

I called our mechanic who advised me to check the alternator belt. I checked, and it was indeed broken!

It was past the usual business hours (at past 6pm). But we were hoping we can still find an “open” automotive shop to buy alternator belt. After running around the city checking at over 5 shops, all were closed for the day.

Exhausted from running around, I decided to enter the café, to ask – out of courtesy – if we can park in front of their shop overnight.

The cashier said it’s ok and asked why. I replied, “An engine belt is broken.” She asked me to wait for a while as she tries to get help. She texted her boss.

After few minutes, “Noni”, the café owner, came out to help. He tried calling his contacts on his mobile phone trying to find a shop where we can buy a replacement part.

I watched him speak to his friends on his phone. Inside of me, I was awed at his kindness! I know calls using mobile phone are expensive, but he did it more than once just to help.

Having no positive response, we, together, went on to knock at his neighbors who have business connections. Unfortunately, no positive result too.

My family were all in admiration for his kindness. It was one-of-a-kind show of kindness, helping a total stranger get out of his problem.

To top it all, he offered us brewed coffee famous in his province, the “barakong kape”.

Truly awesome!

As Christians, we should indeed be faithful in all that we do, especially in helping strangers (3 John 5,6),

I pray that the LORD will pay back “Noni”, not just thirty, nor sixty, but a hundred-fold return!

Thank You LORD for giving us “Noni”.

Diving & Snorkeling in Laiya’s Best Kept Secret Spot

Family Adventure
Diving & Snorkeling in Laiya’s Best Kept Secret Spot
by Danny Tariman

My kids were itching to have another dose of “vitamin sea” – that of going to a beach. We had searched the internet for a good location as we had been to most of the popular beaches in Batangas province. But this time, we are not settling for just the beach; we wanted to have a fairly secluded place not with many people, and a spot for diving and snorkeling.

The resort’s right side: this is the place where we had snorkeling and diving just few meters from the shore.

And so, this particular long weekend, we drove to Laiya in Batangas. Leaving the city at about 4:30 in the morning. We passed by SLEX toll way and STAR toll way exiting in Lipa, down to town of Rosario, leading to the municipality of San Juan where this resort is located.

Turning left from the main road, we passed thru a dirt road (not so rough though) for about 2km. When we reached the junction, we were greeted by a lush rustic narrow road going down to the beach. The entrance itself is “Instagramable”.

The resort’s rustic entrance, which looks like a tunnel covered by lush greens

Upon reaching the beach resort at about 7am, we were awed by its freshness – crystal clear waters, blue skies, clean small shoreline perfect for my family. It was a good match for us looking for some “private place”.

As planned, we had our breakfast at the beach. We took our food packs and had a good eat of fruits and buns. We brought our food without the usual corkage fee that other resorts charge. The resort has no restaurant, just a few covered tables lining the beachfront.

The main beachfront, good for swimming with kids

We learned from the caretaker that the owners would want to maintain just a few visitors on any day. Good for us because we also like to be in a place with only few people. The resort has simple yet clean bathrooms and toilets, with water taps.

Immediately, my children explored the seas. I and my wife soon followed. Wow, the water is so clean and clear, you can see the bottom clearly even at the depth of about 4 feet! We explored the right side where my family had a good snorkeling experience. You can see live corals, and an assortment of reef fishes.

The underwater marine gardens: full of life with an assortment of corals and fishes

Further to the reef is a deep basin where my kids had a “free diving” – that dive without the usual diving gears. My daughter had a “free diving” lesson in the city a few months back where she learned the techniques of free diving. I enjoyed watching my kids going down to the deep. Oh! I saw a big anemone, and of course, its inhabitant, clown fishes. My son saw a number of live clams too! Really wonderful place for diving, and snorkeling!

My daughter going for the free-dive at about 18 feet.

At about half past ten, we tried to explore the other side of the resort, the left. This is the place for beach bummers and for swimming. The beachfront is just around 80-100 meters wide, not sandy but is covered with small pebbles and broken corals. Good for us, we brought our aqua shoes, as it could be hurting our feet.

The leftmost point of the cove is a good distance to walk. We saw a lot of tourists on boat go to this point and we thought it was good exploring!

The right side of the cove: a good distance to explore, but worth the trek.

We passed by a trail, where beautiful rock formations lined the shoreline. We even had to go down again to the waters to shoot some photos. It was good. The sea water is so clear. And you can swim almost in private.

We continued our short trek – about 30 minutes, where we had at some point, decided to wade through the very tempting clear water. When we reached our destination – the end of the cove, there were a lot of tourists taking photos. After some photo-ops, we went back to the resort.

Back at the resort, our children grilled tuna jaws. Oh, we had more than enough of tuna flakes! So deliciously fresh! We ate with our bare hands of course, on plates lined with banana leaves! It was a very satisfying home-made meal.

Oh! I will always remember this super-delicious grilled tuna jaws

It was truly a wonderful experience at Johnny’s Resort. Our kids enjoyed, I and my wife enjoyed. And yes, we all enjoyed the snorkeling, the dive, and the crystal clear waters! We love the awesome underwater marine gardens! We will surely come back!

My son’s turn for the deep.
A family pic on our way to the left-side point. Note the crystal clear waters!
My family in one of the few native huts lining the shoreline
A family photo in front of the resort

Church Worker

Church Worker
by Danny Tariman

“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household…? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.” (Matthew 24:45a,46)

It was already the third meeting we had for an events project.

After two months and past two planning sessions, a committee coordinator, up to that third meeting, has not given yet a concrete plan for his working group.

I was very unhappy of what was happening. I know this work is on voluntary basis but this is not for anyone else. We are all doing this for the Lord!

We are servants of the Lord. We are church workers.

I was so exasperated, but with prayers and grace from the Lord, I was able to maintain my composure. And even trying to put a smiling face.

Today’s Gospel reminds us to be faithful in our service to our Lord. We have to be committed. We have to do what is expected of us, especially when we work with a team, so that others who are waiting for our output is not jeopardized. We have to give our best!

Unfaithfulness takes many forms: absence from meetings, not doing an assigned task, not replying to emails or text messages, or even coming-in late to service.

The Word of God is very clear about this: blessed is that servant whom He finds doing his job.

Let us give our best in our service. Not only in Church, but even in workplace. Ephesians 6:5,6 says “be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”

Reflection: Are you giving your best to meet the expectations of your leader or boss?

Prayers: Lord, please forgive me for not giving my best. Grant me the grace to be faithful to You and to Your Word. Amen.

Casting Out Demons

Casting Out Demons
by Danny Tariman

“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19b)

It was an experience I will never forget.

We were at the ending portion of the prayer service in a remote mountain village. We were “praying over” the attendees who want to be prayed for.

Suddenly, a pregnant woman ran to the front and jumped as if she was to fly. The good thing is that our brother-servants were able to catch her before she landed on the floor.

She was extraordinarily very strong. She was trying to free herself from the hold of the men. The men tried to pacify her and brought her to the office. She continued to be defiant, with eyes looking sharp and fiery. She was possessed by some evil spirits!

Our elder asked her “What is your name?”

“I am the king of the well” she replied in a deep man’s voice, not her usual voice!

We checked around and found out that she regularly does her laundry beside a water well near her house. She must be possessed by a spirit residing in the well!

And so our elder commanded “In the name of Jesus, I command you, king of the well, to be bound and chained and be cast out of this woman, and I lose this woman from your possession!” Everyone in the small room replied “Amen!”

Immediately, a pungent smell came out of the woman.

And the woman came back to her senses, freed from the possession of the evil spirit.

Indeed, we can drive out demons in the name of Jesus (Mark 9:38)

Reflection: Are you in a bondage of vice, or sickness, or poverty? You can cast it out of your lives, in the authority of the Name of Jesus.

Prayer: Father, grant me the boldness and the courage to use the name of Your Son to cast out evil spirits that lurks in my life. Amen!