Down But Not Crushed

Down But Not Crushed
by Danny Tariman

“We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained… struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

He underwent a gallstone operation last month. His sister was hospitalized two weeks later. His mother, too, was recently hospitalized for a couple of days. Then early this week, he was back again in the hospital for dengue.

While I watched him at the hospital, his wife called in the middle of the night telling him that their little girl had a fever. “Her fever will be gone,” I heard him whisper on the phone.

It’s easy to give up in situations like these. These are the times when our faith as believers of Christ are put to the test.

The Bible says, “No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

As we waited for his blood test results, he continues to hold on to his hope. He is down, but he is not beaten. He will come out victorious from all his trials!

Reflection: “They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are my hope. You are my strength. I lift up to You my situation. I am almost crushed. Hold my hand and take me out of this.

[This reflection was first published in both the online and paperback editions of Didache. Was also read in Radio Veritas846]

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Cabongaoan: A Tropical Paradise


Cabongaoan: A Tropical Paradise
by Danny Tariman

My family will always remember Cabongaoan as a tropical paradise. With its undeveloped, unspoiled creamy sandy beach, crystal clear bluish water, it was nature at its best.

The pristine, creamy-white sand beach of Cabongaoan.

Cabongaoan Beach is in Burgos town, in the province of Pangasinan, about 310km north of Metro Manila. It was an easy drive from the metro to Burgos town. Leaving the city at about 2 o’clock in the morning, we arrived the beach at about 8am, with few pit stops along the way, passing the NLEX, SCTEX, and the newly opened TPLEX – all of these are expressways.

From Burgos town, it was a bit of a challenge driving as many portions of the road are still under construction, and we have to drive through rough dirt-and-gravel roads. However, it was not ‘that’ difficult drive, even tricycles can manoeuvre the road. It took us about 35 minutes to reach the beach from the town.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the big blue waves splashing to the creamy sand beach. It was high tide, and so the waves were indeed big.

The golden sunset at Cabongaoan.

We checked-in at Roven’s Beach Resort, a simple, no-frills provincial resort. Oh, I need to say that the owners were so hospitable and accommodating. They assisted us in every way possible. Thanks to our hosts – Kuya Inggo and Ate Venus.

We got the best part of the long stretch of Cabongaoan beach! Fronting our resort was all sand beach, in its creamy-white nature. No rocks and rock formations unlike other parts. The seabed too is just alright – no sudden change in depth. My family and cousins enjoyed just lazing at the beachfront, exchanging all sorts of stories. At times we would go to the water and enjoy the waves splashing on us and ‘carrying’ us to the shores.

Scenic rock formations of Cabongaoan

One of the highlights of our adventure is going to the “Death Pool”, a natural pond in the middle of a flat rock formation. This “icon” of Cabongaoan beach is at the right side of the beach, if you are facing the ocean. This can be reached by a short walk – perhaps 15-20 minutes from our resort, passing by a few other resorts.

It was quite scary to jump into pool, as tidal waters keep on splashing into the pond. During our stay in the rock formation, we were waiting for someone to try, but hadn’t seen one jumping into the “Death Pool”. Haha! But we had some photo ops in the area. Really nice views!

My daughter at the edge of the “Death Pool”

My son wouldn’t complete the adventure without scouring the seabed for fish and other creatures for his aquarium. We had some sort of a father-and-son bonding time. I accompanied him in his search. We saw and saved a sea urchin, a tang fish, among others. But the best part of this is his catch of a medium-sized octopus! Wow, we would have taken this home! But it was a challenge keeping it alive in the aquarium as its tentacles would enable this creature to go out of the tank. So he just released it back to the sea.

We have enjoyed this adventure more because we had some cousins joining us. We are actually three families who travelled over 300kms just to enjoy this scenic spot in Pangasinan!

Cousins all: our children with their cousins in one of the rock formations

All of us enjoyed the fresh seafood we bought along the way. We just grilled it on live charcoal, and wow, it was really very tasty as a fresh fish can be! Not content with what we ate at the beach, on our way back, we stopped and bought some more fish in Sual, Pangasinan. Make sure to drop by too, and if you have an ice chest, get some to take home!

My family enjoyed this pure-nature, tropical paradise. With beach so pristine, the sea water so clear, and the waves just right to enjoy, this was really an amazing family adventure!

Family picture on the sands
The resort covered by greenery, taken at dusk by my son on his DSLR camera
A “seflie” family photo taken by my daughter on her GoPro camera
All family: cousins enjoying the early morning sun at the beach
A rock formation near the “Death Pool”