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