God’s Favor

God’s Favor
by Danny Tariman

“Do not be afraid… for you have found favor with God.”  (Luke 1:30)

My family arrived at the airport departure area at about 4 o’clock in the morning for our 7 a.m. flight. I noticed an immense number of people were massing at the check-in counters of almost all the airlines. It seemed impossible for us to reach the counter in time for the cut-off, as the lines were very long.

I called my friend who was booked at the 6 a.m. flight for the same destination. He arrived at the airport at about 2:30 a.m. but his flight was canceled. No wonder it was chaotic at the departure area.

My family and I prayed that we would easily get our boarding pass. Suddenly, we saw three computer kiosks for online check-in. In less than 10 minutes, we were able to check in and get our boarding passes.

All we could do was exclaim, “This is the favor of God!”

Thank You, Lord!

Reflection:The Bible says, “Come! let us go to implore the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 8:21). Before you leave home for work or any activity, pray for God’s favor to be manifested in whatever you undertake for the day.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the grace You have given us to see Your hand moving in our lives. May we see Your favor manifested in us in many more ways.

[This reflection is published in Didache (online & printed edition) March 25, 2017]

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A Merciful God

A Merciful God
by Danny Tariman

Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ (Matthew 18:33)

My family & I were traversing a heavy traffic intersection along the National Road in Los Baños. I was driving our car at the outer lane, but a jeepney in front of us stopped to pick up passengers. Noting a chance to safely change our lane, I signaled our car that we are going left, and quickly changed to the inner lane.

Suddenly, the mini-bus from behind crashed into our car! Our car was hit at the left-rear corner of the body!

Immediately, I checked our car to asses the damage. Then I spoke the driver of the mini-bus, but instead of being apologetic, he was so arrogant to point that it was my fault. I said, it cannot be because my car was hit from behind!

Sensing that I cannot settle this alone, I called the police. In few minutes, a police car came, took photos of the accident scene, and accosted us and the mini-bus to the police station.

Inside the police office, the bus driver was still arrogant, insisting that I was wrong. However, the police was on our side: it was the bus which hit our car from behind. Clearly, the driver did not give-in.

The police investigator also noted that his driver’s license was ‘expired’ because of a recent apprehension that he didn’t settle within the required time frame. Thus, he can be jailed.

But then the police officer also noted that he had 3 recent apprehensions, and that he did not settle his last one, which can be reported to the LTO (Land Transportation Office) for a more grave offense. The penalty I hear is a fine of 10,000 pesos!

At this juncture, the driver became meek. His arrogance was slowly melted. And he asked me to forgive him. He cried because according to him, he has a family to feed, and that driving is his only means of livelihood.

Asking him what lessons he learned from this incident, he said he has to be humble and not arrogant, and that he has to observe road courtesy.

Taking it as a cue that he learned his lesson, I told him, with my wife beside me, “We are forgiving you.” I told him further to go to church on Sundays, and ask the Lord for forgiveness.

After this, we were allowed to go.

We were driving a bit slow, and the mini-bus overtook us. However, in another intersection, we saw the same mini-bus, in another accident. This time it appears it hit a tricycle. Oh my!

Inside of me I was telling myself “I should not have forgiven this driver” because it appears that he really didn’t learn his lesson in our incident.

While this thought was entering my mind, the Lord spoke to my heart “I have forgiven you too, despite repeating the same sin. You should forgive him.”

As this Bible says “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matthew 18:35)

Thank You Lord for being a merciful God! Thank You too for giving me the grace to forgive.

Family Moments in Caliraya Lake

Family Moments in Caliraya Lake
by Danny Tariman

It was a cool month of February when temperature in the city was about 17-19 degrees. We haven’t been going out lately, so to celebrate my dear wife’s birthday, we decided to go out to this lake on top of a mountain in Laguna. I was excited because I had been dreaming of fishing in a lake for quite sometime, and I thought this is a good idea to go outdoor again for a fishing adventure.

The placid lake early in the morning, where I had my morning prayers & reflection.

We drove to this mountain resort at mid-day for a check-in at 2pm. As we were nearing the place, my excitement grew stronger because I can now see the peaceful scenery of the Caliraya Lake. It was quite a long drive of about 2-1/2 hours from the city. We reached the resort pavilion in no time. It was a refreshing drive up the mountain.

Immediate I scanned the beautiful scenery. I was not disappointed. Verdant green lawns, with some ducks roaming, calm and refreshing lake, a swimming pool near the pavilion, hanging rope bridge above water crossing the lake… perfect for a weekend family outdoor adventure.

Another view of the lake. The huts at the left side where we slept. A few ducks near the edge of the hill.

We checked and kept our bags and things in the cottage reserved for us. With the front facing the lake, and the cool wind blowing, oh… wow! It would be a cool – literally – weekend for the family.

Our children tried the zipline which crosses the lake. My wife and I didn’t try this anymore. I can see the excitement of our grown-up children riding the zip-line. At the other end, after the zip-line ride, they have to come back passing through a rope hanging bridge. I tried walking a short distance on the bridge, it was wobbly, I can’t stand the movements, I have to walk back. Haha!

My daughter trying the zip-line crossing the lake

We walked around the resort. There were children feeding the ducks roaming near the lakeshore. Some ducks were just swimming at the lake. Walking further, we see some horses grazing on the grassy hillside. We did a short trek to a star-gazing point on the hill.

We took a ride on the lake using the “swan paddle boat”. We got 2 swan boats going to the farther places of the lake. It was a really enjoyable ride. Me and my son on one boat, my daughter and her friend on another. The paddle was not that heavy, it was in fact an easy foot paddle. Really nice!

My family enjoyed very much these paddle ride around the lake

The following day, after a sumptuous breakfast the clubhouse overlooking a golf course, we tried riding bicycles around the clubhouse. It was a wonderful experience for us all. It was the first time for me to use a double-bike, with my wife behind me on the bike. With cool mountain air blowing, it was a refreshing morning experience for us.

An enjoyable early morning double-bike ride with my wife.

We went to the “Fishing Village” – that part of the resort where the cottages are floating near the lakeshore – where we had a try fishing for some fish. It took us a little over an hour without any fish eating our baits. Finally, I surrendered; it was not a “fishing day” for me. I didn’t catch one. What an enviable sight it was when another group caught a fish, quite big – maybe over a kilo! Haha! Anyway…

I tried fishing for cream dory but was not lucky that time.

We had a dip at the cold swimming pool! With an ambient temperature of about 19 degrees Celcius, what would you expect? Haha! We didn’t stay long at the pool.

Wow! What a cool-cool experience it was! Really a fantastic family bonding adventure for us all.

My wife and I taking a “selfie” near the swimming pool.
The hanging bridge
The golf course behind the big club house
Family moments beside the lake
My son at the wharf for the boat ride.

Exploring the Rich Cultural Heritage of Iloilo

Exploring the Rich Cultural Heritage of Iloilo
by Danny Tariman

Located in Panay Island, in central Philippines, Iloilo is known for its rich cultural past: from old churches to heritage family houses. We had stayed in the city, and I had noted that despite the highly urbanized city central, the glow of provincial warmth is still maintained.

Join me and my family as we explore the “Queen City of the South”.

Miag-ao Church

Miag-ao Church: built in 1797.
Miag-ao Church: built in 1797.

This heritage church is some 40 kilometers away from the city. Despite the distance, I say this is a “must” place to visit. I was awed by facade of the church: very detailed carving etched on the front wall. It is said that this church was built in 1797 by Augustinian friars. It was declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 1993. It is actually known as the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church to the locals.

Guimbal Church

Guimbal Church. Another centuries old church we visited on our way from Miag-ao.
Guimbal Church. Another centuries old church we visited on our way from Miag-ao.

Another church we visited is the centuries-old Spanish-type church, the Guimbal Church. We passed by this church on our way to Miag-ao, but we decided to stop-over here after the Miag-ao visit.

It is said that the yellow-colored structure is made of corals and adobe rocks what were taken from Guimaras Island. And just like Miag-ao church, this was built by Augustinian friars too. This is the home of the San Nicholas de Tolentino Parish.

Molo Church

Molo Cathedral: More than an old church, the warmth of the servants and the Mass was 'extra-ordinary'.
Molo Cathedral: More than an old church, the warmth of the servants and the Mass was ‘extra-ordinary’.

I was instantly impressed with this centuries-old Gothic-architecture church – the Molo Church. It was built in 1831 and is known to locals as the St. Anne parish church. The ornate interiors, with arches connecting the posts, wow, it is really an art to behold.

We attended a Mass in this church. What also struck by the attentiveness of the usher. He really guided us through the crowd for us to get seats. The homily too was so down-to-earth, I believe the priest was able to connect to the church attendees and was able to convey the message.

It sits in front of a well-developed plaza. The plaza has also its own attraction: the dome-covered pavilion where a lot of church goers also takes photos.

Jaro Cathedral

The Jaro Cathedral, built in 1874, has a unique facade -- a stairway leading to the image of the Lady of Candles.
The Jaro Cathedral, built in 1874, has a unique facade — a stairway leading to the image of the Lady of Candles.

The Jaro Cathedral which was originally built in 1874 has a unique facade: it has stairs leading to the image of Our Lady of Candles (Candelaria). As with most of Iloilo churches, this old structure was rebuilt in 1956 after it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1948. Another unique feature of this church is its belfry which stands at the opposite side of the street.

Casa Mariquit

Casa Mariquit
Casa Mariquit

We arrived at this heritage house a bit late, hence it was closed. The outside of this old house shows the Spanish-type brick-and-wood charm. Never-the-less, we took some photos of the 200-year-old house which sits beside an old balete tree.

Ted’s Bachoy

My family having a good fill of our tummies at Ted's Bachoy
My family having a good fill of our tummies — an authentic bachoy — at Ted’s Bachoy

After a long day, we filled our hungry stomach with what is Iloilo City is known for – bachoy. There were a number of local food outlets that sells this Iloilo specialty but we just settled into the more popular Ted’s Bachoy. We had a real taste of this specialty soupy dish to the satisfaction of our palates.

Iloilo Esplanade

The Iloilo Esplanade along the river bank of Iloilo
The Iloilo Esplanade along the river bank of Iloilo

The Esplanade is a well-developed, and well-manicured river bank along Iloilo River. We had a good early evening stroll in this place. We enjoyed the night view of the river – with the street and building lights reflected on the river – and with the refreshing beautiful ornamental plants along the stretch of the walkway. This place is also a ‘must’ visit when you go to Iloilo.

At one end of the park is commercial area with a number of eateries and restaurants. We had our dinner in this place at Ramboys – which offers “Aklan best chicken and liempo”.

Biscocho House

Shopping for some presents for your friends back in the city? Don’t forget to drop by Biscocho house. This store offers a variety of local delicacies and sweets.

Oh, so much story to tell! Our wonderful Iloilo family experience will always be treasured!

One of the antique rooms of Maig-ao church.
One of the antique rooms of Maig-ao church.
The plaza fronting Molo Cathedral.
The plaza fronting Molo Cathedral.
My family at the grounds of Molo Plaza
My family at the grounds of Molo Plaza
A nice spot along the Esplanade for a souvenir photo.
A nice spot along the Esplanade for a souvenir photo.
The belfry of the Jaro Cathedral, opposite the church.
The belfry of the Jaro Cathedral, opposite the church.