“Those who fear the Lord honor their father, and serve their parents as masters. In word and deed honor your father, that all blessings may come to you.” (Sirach 3:7-8)
It was a 2-week absence for my wife.
After a family travel overseas, she stayed for a couple of weeks with our daughter who is working abroad.
Back in Manila, it was only me and my son at home. We haven’t really been “alone” this long.
I was not at the peak of my strength: both my hands are in pain due to trigger finger. I can’t do the usual chores I do at home. My son would assist me even a simple task of opening a bottled water.
A few days later, I had my left-hand trigger finger surgically released. At this point, the more I wasn’t able to perform much activity with my right hand only, which was also in pain.
At home, I had been almost always together with my wife. And I haven’t really seen both my children do ALL household activities.
But during these times, I am so touched that my son will prepare for me all that I will need for the day until he comes back from work: my breakfast, my lunch, my snacks, and others. He wouldn’t even allow me to menial tasks while my wound was still fresh.
He had shown to be a truly responsible son: taking care of his father, and ensuring that household chores are done. He would wake up early to prepare the food, and upon arrival from office, he would do the unfinished chores, staying late at night.
Thank you, son, you are indeed a blessing! May God’s abundant blessings be upon you.
We love to discover places. My family had been to a number of beaches in Calatagan, Batangas but it seems we haven’t explored them all. This particular weekend, we were led to go to the tip of Calatagan peninsula – the Sunrise Cove.
We drove a bit of a distance. I initially thought it was near Calatagan town proper but it was not. I had to drive more distance and curves before we finally reached the beach.
The place was indeed beautiful for relaxation: a good view of the sea where Pagapas Bay and Isla Verde Passage meets, very refreshing sea breeze, comfortable cottages and beach benches. It was a perfect place for us family wanting to just have a good relaxing day. We thought we would be able to swim; unfortunately, it was a low tide – perhaps lowest for that period – so that we were not able to swim. My children wanted to have a free-dive in one of its spots to see the submarine gardens but they were not able to make it.
We had enjoyed the place, nevertheless. While my son tried to scour the almost flat seabed, trying to find creatures for his salt-water aquarium, our daughter walked our dog on the almost dry seabed. My wife and I just rested our backs on the cottage and had a nice very relaxing moment.
For our lunch, we decided to eat our prepared packed food at the raft tied a few meters away from the shore. It was supposed to be floating, but the low tide didn’t allow it to float. Haha! Just the same, we just loved the sea breeze and the company of each other as we ate our lunch together on a raft.
After we enjoyed our meal aboard a raft, we went back to the beach and had more relaxing moments. With the salty wind blowing on our faces, it was really good moments to rest and take a nap.
We drove back home by mid-afternoon. And the cool mountain air of Tagaytay City was irresistible not to stop a while and take a stroll in one of its new lake-facing malls – the Twinlakes. We spent some more moments here before we headed back home, finally.
We thank the LORD for another family bonding moments… a relaxing day at the beach, and an afternoon stroll in Tagaytay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Vista Verde is an island off Batangas province. For this particular weekend, my family planned to explore this off-beaten beach-island destination.
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.
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 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 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.
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!
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!
A Relaxing Family Weekend at Abe’s Farm
by Danny Tariman
It was a trip we all look forward to: a weekend at a farm-resort. It has been a while that my family haven’t visited a farm or garden resort. I think our last trip was years ago in Cintai Corrito, a Balinese-themed garden resort in Batangas.
It has rained in the city for a couple of days before our scheduled out of town trip. And so, we stormed the heavens with prayers for a good weather that weekend. Indeed, the LORD is good, He answered our prayers. It was a rainless weekend.
Leaving the city at 6:45 in the morning, we arrived at Abe’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga just before 10. We had a breakfast at a pit stop along the North Luzon Expressway.
I was awed by the refreshing greens that welcomed us at the resort. The guard ushered us to the reception, which serves as the lobby to a very nice, nature-inspired restaurant. The place is so good, we had taken many photos from various angles inside the restaurant.
Native furniture made of bamboo, raw wooden planks, and all sorts of natural materials literally fills the interiors of the place. I was telling myself: this is the kind of furnishings I want for my farm house!
Right behind the restaurant is a good-sized swimming pool which is just right for relaxing moments for my family. An Ifugao hut stands on one end of the pool, and at the other is an open cottage, a nice nook for family interaction.
Further down the farm is a well-manicured garden surrounded by shrubs of all kinds. My daughter and my wife had a time of playing at a swing hanging from a tree.
And oh! The lunch! It was so good! Big shrimps in guava soup, sautéed chicken in soy sauce with lemon grass, “morcon” cooked the Pampanga-way… we were burping to the very satisfying lunch at the resort.
After a good after-lunch rest in an air-conditioned Ifugao hut, my family had a good swim at the resort’s swimming pool. It was like exclusive to us family! Haha!
After the swim, our children had a relaxing massage at the spa! I am not a fan of massage and so I didn’t join them.
We had attended an anticipated Mass at San Bartolome Parish. While I can’t understand the local dialect, I can sense that the priest was able to deliver a good homily, and that he was able to “connect” with the church-goers.
Immediately after the Mass, we had a good, satisfying dinner at Bembi’s Kitchen. An awesome place to eat in Magalang, Pampanga. Not only the food was awesomely delicious, the service was excellent – with Dennis (the business owner) himself serving my family!
The following morning we woke up to a fresh new day in a lush garden environment. After we had a nice breakfast at the farm-resort’s restaurant, we took another dip at the farm’s pool.
What a very relaxing weekend treat for our family! Thank You LORD for this blessing of a wonderful weekend!
It was raining throughout the week. But my family prayed for a rainless weekend for this particular week. We wanted to try this sailing adventure in Taal Lake where the famous Taal Volcano is.
Our prayers were answered! The weather forecast was partly sunny. And so we drove to Tagaytay then down to Talisay town where Taal Yatch Club is.
At first I was a bit nervous, as I saw photos of this Hobie catamaran sail boat sailing at its side. Haha! It was good, but just seeing the photos gave me a feeling that I may fall.
After an hour long lecture-orientation on sailing, I and my family were excited to hit the waters. We learned the parts of the boat, how to navigate through various wind directions, and many more, including how to raise the sail onto the boat.
My children took turns being the skipper — the one who controls the sail and the boat — and being an assistant, the one who loosens or tightens the ropes per instructions from the skipper. It was a teamwork at the sailboat.
We traversed the lake many times, from different directions, to try sailing under various wind directions. It was really both fun and educational.
I also tried once as a skipper. Really nice feeling, a one-of-a-kind adventure.
As we go back to the wharf, we were met by the Yatch Club’s Commodore, an Italian-American who had stayed for most of his life in the Philippines. He speaks fluently in Pilipino!
We were planning to sleep in tent that weekend, to complete the outdoor experience, but it rained so heavy late in the afternoon. And so instead of putting up our tents, we drove back to the city.
Even our camping plan was cancelled, my family enjoyed the moments, just the same. We are so thankful to the LORD for that awesome adventure. Truly a different kind of experience!