Experiencing Majestic Puraran

Experiencing Majestic Puraran
by Danny Tariman

The Puraran Beach is top beach destination in the province of Catanduanes. It prides of the barrel wave that even pro-surfers from other countries rave about. This surfing destination appeared in a surfing magazine published abroad as “Majestic”. Its unspoilt creamy brown beach is perfect for families – even for children to play – for a beach outing.

Our children & cousins on their way to the waves.
Our children & cousins on their way to the waves.

My family went to this stunning beach in summertime. I thought we will not be able to experience the surf, as it is the time of the year when the seas are calm. But to our surprise, our children were still able to ride the surf.

We went with our extended family – with cousins and their kids. We traveled by land. Some of us came all the way from Mindanao, while others from Laguna. We all met, in 5 cars, at Tabaco Port in Albay for our boat ride to Virac.

In Virac, we had a ‘homestay’ accommodation in my sister’s family. Thank you Ne & Gay for the accommodation. We enjoyed the stay and the food! Who will forget the fresh seafood? We like so much the latik (glutinous rice in sweet sauce) and the other local food prepared. It was a gastronomic experience for us!

My extended family enjoying the swim at the beach.
My extended family enjoying the swim at the beach.

From Virac, we traveled about 25km to Puraran. We passed by the town of Bato, where a centuries-old church still stands today. You will notice this old church as you pass the Bato bridge.

When we reached the town proper of Baras, my memories brought me to my childhood days. I remember the shoreline of the bay as my “playground”, the boat rides to Minabalay island. The bicycle rides to Paniquihan. Memories…

We drove further to Puraran. You will not miss it; you will see a welcome arch announcing that you are to enter the famous beach. As we drive down hill to the beach, the view is simply stunning!

We were billeted in one of the accommodations at the beach. The price is fantastic too, at unbelievably low price!

We had some family fun activities in the evening. It was the first time that cousins – young and old – stayed in one big room together! We were 25.

Very early in the morning, I and my wife had some morning meditation by the sea. Really a good place to commune with the LORD in prayer. We had a good time too walking on the beach together!

My kids and their cousins took surfing lessons in the morning. I was a bit nervous as the waves were quite big and were near the reef-breakwater. But as soon as I saw the kids riding on the waves, my jittery was replaced with excitement and joy.

My son with his cousin taking lessons from surfing coach Ezra
My son with his cousin taking lessons from surfing coach Ezra

The kids were lucky that they were able to get as their surf coach the legendary Ezra (may he rest in God’s peace) whose fame reaches pro-surfers in Baler, Quezon.

We also had a good taste of fresh seafood at the resort. A tip: pre-order your food as it takes time to cook. They cook the food as you order. And the best thing is that food prices are really cheap.

I had been to other surfing destinations in Luzon. I would say the Puraran is one of the best! With its unspoilt, stunning beach, and big waves for surfing, who can resist?

Puraran beach.
Puraran beach.
My daughter with cousins just before going to the waves.
My daughter with cousins just before going to the waves.
Our children and their cousins trying to ride the waves of Puraran.
The crystal clear waters of Puraran.
The crystal clear waters of Puraran.
The beach store and reception
The beach store
Puraran beach at night.
Puraran beach at night.

Travel tips:

Going to Virac:

By air. Take Cebu Pacific Air from Manila to Virac. Plane usually leaves at about 6am. Travel time is about 1 hour.

By land/sea:
1. Take any of the buses in Cubao, Pasay, or Alabang bound for Tabaco. Travel time is about 10 hours
2. From Tabaco, take a boat ride to Virac or San Andres. Virac takes about 3 ½ hours boat ride while San Andres is about 2 ½ hours ride. If you take San Andres, take a jeep ride Virac which is about 30 minutes away.

If you plan to take a drive from Manila, it will take you about 9-10 hours depending on your driving speed. You can take your vehicle to Catanduanes as the boats can accommodate cars and buses aboard.

There is also a bus that takes you to Virac – all the way. The bus boards the boat in Tabaco. You may leave your baggage in the bus while you are in the boat. Upon reaching San Andres port, you ride the same bus again to Virac.

To Puraran:

From Virac, you may rent a jeep or a tricycle to Puraran, or take a public transport to Baras town. From Baras, take a tricycle ride. You need to have a good haggling skills for the tricycle rides.

While in Catanduanes, you may want to visit Twin Rock Beach, Mamangal Beach, or go island hopping in Caramoan Islands (the set for the US TV reality show “Survivor”)

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Prospering in Health

Prospering in Health
by Danny Tariman

“I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul.” (3John 1:2)

The Biblical verse above is a prayer for wellness (in other versions the word used is “prosper”) in all areas of our lives, including physical fitness. This tells us that the LORD wants us to have good heath.

This reminds me of my family’s consciousness to stay healthy. I believe that as Christians, we have to take good care our our bodies.

“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?” (1Cor 6:19)

I believe that regular proper exercise, in addition to healthy food, will keep us fit.

This is why, I and my wife do walking around the village for about 30 minutes.

My son does his weights and cardio exercise in his personal gym.

My daughter does her exercise too in a membership gym.

But for us to reap the benefits of exercise we have to do it on a regular basis. We have to discipline ourselves to do these exercises 3 times a week.

“Physical exercise has some value” (1 Tim 4:8)

 In addition to these physical exercises, we also discipline ourselves to have a healthy diet.

We have “fruitified” and “vegefied” our meals.

“Then God said, ‘I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’” (Genesis 1:29)

For breakfast, we eat fruits first. A mix of 2-3 kinds of fruits everyday of whatever is available for the season and in the market. Of course we have protein too – eggs, lean pork or beef, fish, etc. But this is after we had finished the fruits.

Why fruits first? Because fruits are easily digested hence gets absorbed quickly than carbohydrates and protein. And of course we always take a glass of milk, and yoghurt too.

Expensive? No. We make home-made yoghurt. We buy fresh fruits from the wet market – banana, papaya, pineapple, or whatever is available.

For lunch and dinner, we take more vegetables. During dinner, we frequently eat fresh vegetables – iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce (and all sorts of lettuce leaves), carrots, cucumber mixed in a healthy salad dressing – vinaigrette, lemon juice, and sometimes yeah, mayo-based dressing, which is not much recommended.

“Please test your servants for ten days by providing us with some vegetables to eat and water to drink. At the end of the ten days their appearance was better and their bodies were healthier than all the young men who had been eating the royal delicacies.” (Daniel 1:12,15)

And yes, we eat protein as well for lunch and dinner – fish, chicken, less-fat pork, lean beef, and other protein sources.

We have lessened our in-take of carbohydrates. We take less of processed food.

We love ice cream, cakes, and all. But we take them now in moderation.

I pray that the Lord continue to grant us all good health and strength.

 

[Photo Credit: downloaded thru Google search]

Potipot: An Island Paradise

Potipot: An Island Paradise
by Danny Tariman

Potipot is an island off the shores of Candelaria, Zambales. It is a short 15-minutes boat ride from the shore. From the grey beaches of Zambales, you are transported into the white sand beach of the island, which is also called ‘Boracay of Zambales’.

The creamy white beach of Potipot Island
The creamy white beach of Potipot Island

We traveled to this island paradise for almost 5 hours from Manila. From Subic Bay in Olongapo City, it is about 2 hours drive. This was my first time to travel this road. I would say that the roads are well-paved and nice for speed driving, except that I have to slow down in urban areas where jeepneys and tricycles are reigning the road.

The sights are nice too. You will see at the right side of the highway the volcanic lahar-covered rivers which is greyish in color on both sides of the river bank.

At Dawal Beach Resort in Candelaria, Zambales
At Dawal Beach Resort in Candelaria, Zambales

Upon reaching the Candelaria, we looked for a place where we can safely park our car. The good thing is that, with prayers, we were able to locate a very nice hotel-resort – Dawal Beach Resort. It offers free parking if you avail of their services (of course!). We rented the boat from this hotel and we were able to use their bathroom and parking facilities for free.

He hotel itself is very nice – by provincial standards. Large pavillion, clean courtyards, and clean rest rooms too.

In no time, we hopped into the boat at the beach front of the hotel. In about 15 minutes, we reached the island surrounded by white-sand beach. Truly fascinating because, from a grey-colored shores of Candelaria, we were in a fine white-sand beach of Potipot.

My family at the iconic dried tree along the beach.
My family at the iconic dried tree along the beach.

My family enjoyed the swim in its crystal clear waters and frolicking along the beach. We walked around the island which took us about 30-40 minutes to circle. Of course, we had some photo shoots as we toured the place.

At the other side of the island is the iconic fallen tree truck. It is a mistake that you will not take photo of this fallen tree as most of the photo blogs of the island has this view. The entire perimeter of the island is fine white sand beach and swimming area, except for some patches of small rocks that are gathered in a small side of the island.

At the other side of the island
At the other side of the island

One thing that you should not forget: bring your food and drinks to the island as there are no restaurant (yet, as we went to the place late 2014) in the island. But I had noticed there are some developments going one – construction of additional huts, landscaping, etc. So maybe by this time, there might be some nice facilities.

Potipot island is indeed a great place for family outing – especially if long-distance driving does not bother you. It is worth the trip!

The greens in the island
The greens in the island
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My family enjoying the sun, the sand, and the sea
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One of the nice nooks in the island

 

Bonding in Gardening

Bonding in Gardening
by Danny Tariman

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow.” (1Corinthians 3:6)

 

My wife loves plants, and loves to plant. She’s a “green thumb”.

But I am not.

Her garden along the pathway.
Her garden along the pathway.

There are a few things that we do or we like the opposite.

And this is one of them.

But we still blend together. She plants, I water.

Once in a while, we do gardening together.

While she removes dead and dried leaves, I water.

While she cultivates the soil around the plants, I water.

While she plants or transplants, I water.

And there is one common activity we do together – weeding.

This weeding-out activity takes longer. We sit beside each other on a stool. While pulling out weeds, we share a lot of stories. Funny stories, sometimes problem stories.

We share our dreams. We share our plans. We share our wishes.

One of her flowering orchids
One of her flowering orchids

Really a good time for bonding.

There are many ways to reach-out and to connect with your spouse. I mean, MANY. Some go to dinner dates, and others do house chores together.

But this one is simple, yet good quality time.

It makes me happy. I believe she is happy too.

This makes us an inch closer to each other.

May the Lord strengthen our relationship, and yours!

 

Discovering Rizal Province via Manila East Road

Discovering Rizal Province via Manila East Road
by Danny Tariman

It was a lazy Sunday morning after attending the Mass. Without much to do at home, we decided to have a “joy ride”.

We tried the C-6 (Circumferential-6) Road from Bicutan in Metro Manila, going to Rizal. It was an easy 30-minute drive from Bicutan to Cainta, Rizal! This is a very big improvement in travel time from an hour-and-a-half drive via Ortigas Avenue to just about 30 minutes via C-6! We have no objective destination. This was just a pure “joy ride” exploring the towns of Rizal province via the Manila East Road, and perhaps taste local food and delicacies.

My family in front of the St Jerome Church in Morong, Rizal
My family in front of the St Jerome Church in Morong, Rizal

We first got the sight of this old church in Morong town, in Rizal province. This was almost twelve noon. We stopped here, and of course, we prayed inside. It is the St Jerome Church of Morong. This is a centuries-old structure with fine architectural design. The frontage is plastered in cement while the sides and the interiors still shows the concrete blocks in its original form.

We were looking for some local restaurant that serves local food. Unfortunately, most – if not all of them – are branches of Manila-based restos. And so we just had our lunch at a popular burger chain.

We then proceeded to one of Tanay town’s favorite nature tourist destination, the Daranak Falls. Wow, it is awesome! The magnificent water falls veiling a wide portion of a hilltop. There are also a number of smaller, secondary falls, but this main falls really gushes immensely with water from the mountains.

The family enjoying the experience in Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal
The family enjoying the experience in Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal

Downstream is a wide river where many local tourists were enjoy a cool bath, some of them making some “rock arrangement” activity. We had a quick exploration of the place, passing through rocks and foot trails.

After few minutes – that was about 2pm – we drove back towards the metro. We passed by Tanay Church. This too is a centuries-old structure. The interiors show a bit of renovations; it does not show anymore the mortar-and-brick surface we usually see in old churches. The altar is impressive with gold trimming.

Our next stop was the name-sake of my hometown, Baras in Rizal. (I am from Baras, Catanduanes.) This too is an old church and the interiors shows its antiquity. I appreciate the interiors as it is able to maintain its rustic looks. The yard has some steps which matches the antique appearance of the church. A good place for photo-ops.

At the patio of Baras, Rizal Catholic Church
At the patio of Baras, Rizal Catholic Church

One thing I noticed: an old church bell which is very similar to my hometown’s church bell. I remember in my childhood, whenever this type of bell is rung, the entire town is filled with its “clanging” sound. This one however, rests on a hanger just a few feet from the ground. How I wish it is still used and hanged at the church’s belfry.

After this “visita iglesia” on a regular weekend (not holy week), we drove back home. I love these moments with my family, exploring together places we haven’t been before!

More photos:

The frontage of Tanay, Rizal Church.
The frontage of Tanay, Rizal Church.
Baras, Rizal Church
Baras, Rizal Church
Interiors of Morong, Rizal Church
Interiors of Morong, Rizal Church
Interiors of Tanay, Rizal Church
Interiors of Tanay, Rizal Church
Interiors of Baras, Rizal Church
Interiors of Baras, Rizal Church
A church bell at Baras, Rizal -- similar to Baras, Catanduanes' church bell
A church bell at Baras, Rizal — similar to Baras, Catanduanes’ church bell
The beautiful countryside scenery along the roads in Rizal
The beautiful countryside scenery along the roads in Rizal

Enjoy Life

Enjoy Life
by Danny Tariman

“And this is a gift from God: that every man to whom God has given wealth and resources, and to whom he has granted the ability to consume these, may enjoy his portion, and may find joy in his labors.” (Ecclesiastes 5:19)

“You are so fortunate to visit those places, Danny”

“Your family is blessed. You have a happy family.”

“You must have a lot of excess money. You are spending a lot for these travels.”

These are the common comments I get every time I post photos on Facebook, showing my family’s latest outings.

Yes, my family enjoys a lot going places – together. We love to discover the many beautiful spots and the wonderful sceneries in our country. And add to these, we like to discover also the local delicacies in the different regions and provinces.

Yes, we spend money, but we spend it prudently. There is a way to go places without spending too much. The important thing is you enjoy going places together.

Let me share with you a wisdom I got from a friend who shared with me many years ago.

He told me “Bro, you don’t have to spend to enjoy going out.

“1) Before you check-in, eat your lunch first outside the resort or hotel, after-all check in time is at 12noon and sometimes its even 1pm.

“2) Stuff your packed food and drinks – for afternoon snack & dinner – in you car’s compartment. Keep and leave it there because most of the hotels and resorts don’t allow guests to bring food inside their room or facility. When it is time for afternoon snack, take your family to your parked car, and eat inside your car. And when it is time for dinner, go back to your car and eat. And enjoy!

“3) Since most of these hotels and resorts offer breakfast for free, take your breakfast there so your family will also experience eating at the hotel or resort, and

“4) Leave the hotel at close to its check-out time – which is usually 11am to 12noon. Then eat your lunch at a fastfood as you go, along the way.”

True, I enjoy going places without bleeding my pocket.

More wisdom: plan your trip well in advance.

We don’t usually go for package tour. We arrange our itinerary ourselves. This give us more flexibility, and more places to go in shorter time, and if we want to stay longer in a place, we can do so without breaking a package’s itinerary.

We research. We Google the places to go. We search the most practical hotel to stay, and the restaurants nearby, we research for local food and delicacies. We research the roads and directions on Google Map. And yes, we allow ourselves to get lost at times – yeah, it is part of the excitement and (mis)adventure!

Yes, we enjoy life together!

As the Bible says “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.” (Psalm 128:1-2)

Thank you LORD for this wonderful gift – a happy, enjoyable family life!

Escape in Puerto Galera

Escape in Puerto Galera
by Danny Tariman

My family’s escape to Puerto Galera is an experience that I will never forget. I had grown up in a town by the sea but never in my life had I interacted with many fishes while in Puerto Galera. I had my first experience of fishes literally feeding on my hands and kissing/petting my arms.

My family enjoying the beach and the sea.
My family enjoying the beach and the sea.

We left Manila for a 3-day weekend adventure in Puerto Galera. We took an air-conditioned bus to Batangas City from Alabang, south of Metro Manila. It was a comfortable 2 ½ hours ride – so comfortable that I almost sleep if not for the excitement that keeps my heart jumping.

We arrived in Batangas City port at about 9:30 in the morning, and immediately lined up for ticket to Tamaraw Beach in Aninuan, Puerto Galera. You have to know your beach destination so you can ride the correct boat. We were headed to Sunset at Aninuan hotel which is along the Tamaraw Beach.

The boat is an oversized outrigger which can accommodate about 60 all-seated passengers. During our travel, the sea was calm and so my entire family enjoyed the trip.

Aboard the boat which took us to the island.
Aboard the boat which took us to the island.

After almost two hours, we reached the first stop – the White Beach. It was a long stretch of powdery white sand meeting the crystal clear blue waters. This beach has a lot of stores lining the shore, and plenty of hotels and B&B accommodations. This is beach has an active night life, the locals say. This is where we bought some souvenir items. But this is not our destination as my family enjoys a more quiet place.

The White Beach near the resort where we stayed.
The White Beach near the resort where we stayed.

In just about 10 or 15 minutes, we were transported to our destination, the Aninuan beach. The place is perfectly romantic, with its gorgeous sunset view. And our hotel accommodation is truly nice too – clean and crisp room get-up, dining at tables-by-the-beach with matching candle light – truly wonderful.

The sunset view of Puerto Galera as seen from our hotel
The sunset view of Puerto Galera as seen from our hotel

The beach front of the hotel was simply good – peaceful, quite, and clean! We enjoyed it as if we were in a private family beach resort! Except for a handful foreigners who were also billeted at the hotel. We had free use of kayak, other beach “toys”, and of course life vests.

Our island hopping tour took us to other places in the Puerto Galera. During the tour, we were surprised to see – even for few minutes only – a sea turtle swimming on the surface of the sea. It dived after seeing our approaching boat.

The boat parked in front of our hotel, ready to take us for the island hopping
The boat parked in front of our hotel, ready to take us for the island hopping

It was during this island hopping where I had the opportunity to feed fishes in the wild at the snorkeling area. Wow! Literally hundred of fishes in various colors were swimming around me! As I was carrying food in my hands (sliced bread which I slowly crumble under the water), fishes were pecking my hands and my arms! It’s tickling! This is my most unforgettable experience in this trip!

We also visited an island resort, and another one – a restaurant on a sand bar where we had our lunch of fresh seafood!

The best part of this trip – we are always a family that goes out together and enjoys the company!

More photos

My family on kayak
My family on kayak
The resort hotel at night: dining area on the beach
The resort hotel at night: dining area on the beach
The beach front at the resort.
The beach front at the resort.