Tag Archives: Family Bonding

Exploring Batu Cave

Family Adventures in KL – Day 3
Exploring Batu Cave
By Danny Tariman

My family had been roaming around Kuala Lumpur. We have been enjoying the beautiful sights of the city. I love its environment: cleaner air, less traffic, efficient and dependable mass transport system.

Our first day in the city was highlighted by our visit to two iconic structures: the KL Tower – a slim high tower with viewing deck at the top, and the Petronas Twin Towers, with a connecting bridge between the two 88-storey towers at its 41st level.

The city of Kuala Lumpur as seen from KL Tower

For the second day, I like the experience of the Night Street Market. An awesome place where I had tasted authentic Asian food from among the varieties of food available in many stalls lining both sides of the street.

We continue our tour of Kuala Lumpur.

Our third day in Kuala Lumpur was the culminating day for our family’s short visit to the city. We had planned and is booked to a bus trip to the state-city of Singapore at 1pm. So we have practically about 2-3 hours left of our family tour of Malaysia’s capital.

As planned, we should visit Batu Cave early in the morning so as to have time to prepare for our Singapore trip, and also to check-out of our accommodation.

The entrance gate to the Batu Cave complex

We arrived the Batu Cave complex at about 7:30 in the morning. Only few tourists were there when we arrived. We had time for some photo at the foreground, feeding tourist-friendly pigeons. Oh! it was really fun feeding those birds.

At the foot of the cave is a Hindu Temple. We are quite hesitant to enter. I observed how to go inside, and noticed that we just have to go – no questions asked. We passed by a narrow door and entered a very colorful interiors of the temple. Aside from the usual permanent setup, we noticed some newly decorated areas. Few minutes later there was a pre-nuptial shoot!

The stairs leading to Batu Cave

While inside the temple, of course we were very silent and had to speak in hush as a number of worshippers were inside. We had some good shots inside too.
But the most amazing experience of the day was climbing the 272-step hill leading to a series of caves with Hindu temples inside. From the level ground, the stairs are appealing because of its multi-colored steps in gradient colors. The iconic gigantic golden statue of a Hindu god stands tall at the foot of the stairs.
We had to stop several times to take our breath as the climb was truly a challenge.

Inside the Hindu temple

But once we reached the cave, I was awed by its size! It was the size of a big cathedral. And there were a number of Hindu temples in each of the chambers. If I remember correctly, I think I saw 3 small temples with worshippers doing their service.

We explored the inner chambers, with additional stairs as we go inside. But eventually, we retreated for shortness of time. We have to be back to our accommodation to prepare for our check-out.

Inside the Batu Cave

Back to the ground, we had a good rest at one of its shops offering traditional Malaysian and Indian souvenir items, and also food.

After refreshing ourselves, we traveled back to the city, and prepare for our afternoon trip to Singapore.

The inner chambers of the cave, with a Hindu temple at the left side.

Land Trip to Singapore

Our trip to Singapore was an experience in itself. I saw the countryside of Malaysia which I believe is generally cleaner than most of the Asian countries we had visited so far. Even the village houses we passed along the way show well-planned communities.

At the far end of the highway and just before crossing the border, was the immigration counter. It was easy, although there was queuing and generally good. No hassle.

Inside the temple at the foot of the stairs

Our next stop was the immigration of Singapore. I told myself “Singapore, here we come!”

It was truly an amazing experience in Kuala Lumpur. Truly fun and fully enjoyed. Thank You LORD!

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More photos

Another area inside the temple
Inside the temple
Inside the cave
Another view inside the huge cave
At the foot of the cave showing a gigantic Hindu statue
The entrance of the Batu Cave complex

Markets and Malls of Kuala Lumpur

Family Adventures in KL – Day 2
Markets and Malls of Kuala Lumpur
By Danny Tariman

My family had an amazing day touring Malaysia’s capital, the city of Kuala Lumpur. Our day-1 was highlighted by our visit to two of the magnificent icons of the city: the KL Tower and the Petronas Towers. It seems you haven’t been to KL if you hadn’t set foot on these two iconic tourist destinations.

It is our second day, and we haven’t finished yet visiting the many exciting places in the city. Join me, as I continue to tell our second day story.

Central Market

KL’s Central Market is where we got the best price for local items – food and souvenir items. It looks like an old building that was spruced-up and air-conditioned lately. It offers various kinds of souvenir items, shirts with Malaysia or Kuala Lumpur prints, local chocolates (you have to taste this!) food items, and many more. The local chocolates are a must-taste: with various filling of local fruits such as durian, strawberry, and a lot more.

A stall inside the Central Market

We had a good time looking around what to buy, and buying some items in this retail shopping market. We were surprised to note that a few of the stalls were manned by Filipinos! And one of these, if I remember it right, is managed by a Filipino.

River of Life

This river is few hundred meters away from the Central Market. We just had a perhaps 15-minute leisure walk to this tourist spot. This is actually a convergence of river systems that was rehabilitated by the government in an attempt to bring back to life polluted rivers. It is a nice attempt to clean the river.

The River of Life

At the background is the oldest mosque in Kuala Lumpur, the Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Samad. I read from some materials that this place is better visited at night as there are some elaborate lighting effects at this river complex. We happen to visit the place in broad daylight, and so we were not able to see the “dancing lights”.

Textile Museum

This museum stands out as an iconic Islamic-style building within the bounds of Merdeka Square. It showcases the different processes and techniques – starting from ancient times – of textile making. It also has a display of the process in making batik!

A diorama featuring Batik-making

There are 4 main galleries or sections inside the museum, showing many beautiful collections of traditional apparel, accessories, and textiles.

It was an educational visit for me as I had been fascinated by elaborate design of batik. It was in this place I learned how this was made. Really interesting!

Merdeka Square

This huge patch of greenery in the middle of the city is one of the famous landmarks of KL. There are many Islamic-style buildings surrounding this expansive tract of land, and one of these is the Textile Museum. A very tall pole hoists the Malaysian flag. I can’t resist comparing this place to Luneta (or Rizal Park) in Manila. Indeed, a beautiful place to take some good pictures.

The Merdeka Square

On the other side from where we were standing, we can see a church – which happens to be St Mary’s Cathedral. I thought it was a Catholic Church, it turns out to be an Anglican Church. I remember in Hong Kong, we mistakenly attended a church service (Mass) in a Catholic-like church, which happened to be, you guess it, an Anglican church. It was ok though – similar service, similar readings.

The well-manicured greens, I understand, used to be a playing field for a sport called cricket.


This place is bustling with commercial activities. Not only the sidewalks but the whole streets were filled with vendors selling all sorts of stuff. My son was able to buy a camera lens which you clip onto a phone to get a wider view.

Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown

From all angles, it is really a Chinatown. We tasted a very familiar food for us family – soy curd (taho in Manila). We also tried other street food which we are not familiar, just to taste the native culture of Chinese-Malay. All really taste good!

To taste a more authentic Sino-Malay meal for lunch, we entered this food market inside the Chinatown. Wow! The food – the noodles, and others we ordered – were really good! And the price was very, very reasonable. On our way out of the food market, we saw this looking familiar street food – chakoy, as we call in Tagalog – we tasted it, and yes, tastes very much familiar!

From Chinatown we took LRT to MyTown Mall, our next destination to check what we can buy from Ikea.

Our LRT ride to MyTown


MyTown Mall was quite far from the city center. But with a very efficient railway system, the travel time was short and very comfortable. The train coaches were clean, and arrival & departures were prompt.

Strolling at MyTown

We first explored MyTown to see Ikea – this Swedish store chain that offers good quality household furnishing and accents. My son was looking for a kind of jar he couldn’t find in Manila, and so we tried Ikea Kuala Lumpur. It was a good experience. The mall is big but far from city central, which is good urban planning so as to decongest the city proper. It got a lot of shops and boutiques with familiar foreign-brand names.

After touring MyTown, it was about 5pm, we went back to the city to meet up with our daughter who went to work that day.

We met our daughter at Pavilion Mall, another upscale mall in the city. We again roamed around, and finally went to the supermarket at the first basement to buy some food and grocery. Although it was a basement, the place is totally refreshing and looking good.

My family, complete this time with our daughter, at Pavillon Mall

From the basement we went straight to another mall across the street passing through an underground tunnel – with stores – you would never thought you have crossed a street.

And again, we roamed around and we found this familiar store brand in Manila – “DIY Store”. It happened that this store started operations in KL.

Night Street Market

This is one of my most memorable experiences in Kuala Lumpur. An entire street, seemingly an ordinary street during the day, but bustling with people in the night.

The Street Night Market: an awesome experience

At night, both sides of the streets have all sorts of food – Malay, Indian, Thai, Singaporean, and many others. And its full of people from different cultures. You would see whites, Asians, Chinese-looking people enjoy the meals, and the drinks in the middle of the street.

That particular night, I was awestruck on what cuisine I would want for dinner as there was literally a *lot* of choices. But finally, after making rounds to the different stalls, we finally settled for some Malay and Thai food. We had my favorite Thai soup dish – tom yang. Oh… it was so incredibly tasty, I had to ask for extra soup.

Our dish for the night

At daytime, cars can pass by the streets, but at night, the middle of the street is literally filled with tables and chairs full of people. It is truly very lively, and a truly different kind of experience!

It was indeed a fun-filled second day in KL. And we capped the day with this awesome Night Street Market. A truly memorable adventure! Thank You LORD!

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More photos

At the downtown of Kuala Lumpur
A Turkish store inside the Central Market
One of the exhibit sections of the Textile Museum
At Merdeka Square in front of the Textile Museum
A fountain at the Merdeka Square

Coron Family Adventure – Day 1

Coron Family Adventure 1
Diving the Depths of Sea & Scaling the Heights of Mt Tapyas
by Danny Tariman

This was a very much anticipated family trip. We had long planned to visit this world-famous tourist spot, and finally we are going to Coron!

Coron at sunset, as viewed from Mt Tapyas

We know that we would have a lot of swimming activities in this amazing adventure, and so my family brought with us our entire snorkeling gadgets, including flippers or diving fins.

We arrived Coron at about 9:00am after an hour flight from Manila. We landed at Busuanga Airport which is about 30 minutes drive to the town. We couldn’t wait to land as excitement grew, as we view the beautiful island from windows of the aircraft.

After checking-in at the hotel, we immediately look for a place to eat breakfast. We wanted to taste local food, but it was a bit early for good restaurants to open. And so we settled for a good carinderia (a small eatery).

Our boat ride to the islands.

Since the start of our packaged tour will start at 4pm yet, we decided to do some island hopping activities. We approached the hotel’s concierge who was so kind enough to arrange for us a boat and a tour guide to take us to the islands.

Our tour guide Arjay (0927-2846263) fetched us in no time. He was very conversant with his task as tour guide, and even guided us in buying some food stuff for our lunch in the island. This is not part of the tour package, and so we have to organize the food too. We were so impressed with this young man who guided us in our tour – very courteous, always ready to assist, and has big dreams for his life.

Siete Pecados

This is our first stop. This small group of islets has a very rich marine life. With its very clear waters, I can easily see the deep. It is teeming with colorful corals of all sorts of species. We had a very good first-time experience for snorkeling in this place.

My daughter going for the free-dive at Siete Pecados

Our children enjoyed their free-diving to the depths of about 15-18 feet. I can see them reach the bottom of the sea, while I and my wife just enjoy skimming the surface of the water for our snorkelling.

Atuayan Beach

We had our lunch in this pristine white beach. Our tour guide cooked for us our lunch of seafood and salad! It was really good. The beach is just perfect for our lunch and after-lunch swimming. The water is so clear and clean, you can see your feet even in the deep! There was a brief rain shower while we were resting in this beautiful beach.

My family enjoying the creamy sands of Atuayan Beach.

Baracuda Lake

I never thought that in the middle of those rocky islands is a good, deep freshwater lake! The water was so clear too, you can see the rock formations lining the lake perimeter. I understand it was about 20 feet deep! While we were enjoying the swim, there was a couple of tourists who dived with complete gadgets – tank, suits, and all.

My son having fun underwater with a sitting pose for the picture.

The view was awesome: a background of greyish limestone, and emerald-colored lake!

From this, we decided to go back to town for our 4pm tour.

Town Tour

At 4pm, our designated tour guide arrived promptly at the hotel. Our first stop was the Town Hall, which was just a few meters away from our hotel. After a few photos taken, we went to the bay area – a reclamation area – where a nice boulevard welcomes tourists and residents alike. The view was good, you can see the Coron Island group.

The Coron Town bayview

We also visited a souvenir shop where an assortment of local crafts and goods are available. You may want to buy from there a watertight bag for your electronic gadgets’ protection while touring the seas.

Mt Tapyas

Mt Taypas is that little mountain overlooking the Coron town. At its peak is a Cross which is lighted as darkness sets in. This mountain is about 210 meters above sea level, not really that challenging for those to love to trek mountains. It has concrete stairs starting from the foot of the mountain, with a number of “resting areas” every 10-15 minutes of walk. It has around 740+ steps.

The greenery side of Mt Tapyas

We started our trek to Mt Tapyas at about 5 in the afternoon, to catch a good view of the sunset. A lot of tourists go up at this hour of the day, just to catch the sunset. We were not disappointed as the sun started to set. It was indeed spectacular view!

At the top, we toured around the peak. The view at the back overlooking rolling hills was a refreshing sight.

San Agustin Church

This Catholic Church is the church in Coron town proper. For those who tour Coron on a weekend, it is best to check the schedule of Masses with the hotel’s reception or concierge.

The interior of San Agustin Church

We dropped by this church, first, to offer our thanksgiving for the safe trip and for the good weather, and second, to lift up to God our personal prayers.

Maquinit Hot Spring

Our last stop for the day was the Maquinit Hot Spring. We left the church at about 6:30 in the evening, and reached this hot spring resort about an hour later, passing through unpaved roads with lots of pot holes along the way. It was a tough ride! Haha!

An early evening dip at the warm pools of  Maguinit Hot Spring

The visit was a good culminating activity for the busy day. Immersing our entire body in the hot pool somehow relaxed our tired bodies. But it was really hot! I would suggest that you immerse little by little so as to acclimatize your body to the really hot pool. I had the mistake of immediately jumping into the pool; it was a “shocking” experience. Haha! It was so hot I had to jump out of the water as quickly as I jumped!

But it was a very relaxing experience, and a good final activity for the day!

The beautiful marine gardens of Siete Pecados
My family photo at Baracuda Lake
A family pic at Mt Tapyas while waiting for the colorful sunset.
Maquinit Hot Springs by night

A Family Trek to Buruwisan Falls

A Family Trek to Buruwisan Falls
by Danny Tariman

It was another long weekend. Our family had planned few weeks before, to go and “discover” Buruwisan Falls.

We have heard of this falls, we passed by the drop-off point many times in the past, but we really have not planned to go out and see this falls which is very near the Metro. But this particular weekend, we intend to trek.

The towering and enchanting Buruwisan Falls with my family in the foreground

It had been raining in the city for the past couple of days due a tropical typhoon in the northern tip of the country. But this has not dampened our spirits to go and trek that Saturday.

And so, we left the city at about 5:30 in the morning, did a 100-km drive to Macatad, in Famy, Laguna. We had a brief stop-over in Pagsanjan where we had a quick breakfast, and arrived at the drop-off point at about 8:00.

The road to the drop-off point lined by trees.

After the usual registration process and payment of fees, we got our trek guide “Kuya Dondon”. We were quite fortunate to have him for our tour guide: he was very helpful, and cheerful, and knows the place and the various trails quite well.

We started our trek at about 8:30am, passing a hanging bridge. Oh! We forgot to have our usual stretching exercise before the start.

The weather was good that morning. But the night before, we were told that there were rains. Because of this, the trail was wet, muddy, and slippery. It was a long trek. After almost an hour, we reached the summit of the first mountain. Yes, first mountain. Because we have to pass another mountain before the descending trail to the falls.

The summit of the first mountain along the trek. A good view of Rizal province, you can see the windmills of Pililia.

We passed a number of pit-stops which sells fresh young coconuts. I like these young coconuts – as it refreshes my thirst plus it is a good source of electrolytes. My family had a good drink of its juice and take its white meat!

It was quite a difficult trek mainly because the trail was wet. And because it was wet, it was muddy and slippery. It took us 3-1/2 hours to reach Buruwisan Falls! It would have been an easy 2-hour trek if the trail was dry.

This part of the trek is near the summit of the second mountain we passed.

The final descent to the falls was even trickier. The trail was very steep and rocky! But all the weariness due to the long trek were gone when we were greeted by the towering and enchanting Buruwisan falls. According to Wikipedia, the drop height of this falls is about 50 meters!

The final stretch: a steep descent to the falls.

Beneath the falls is a relatively shallow basin of water. According to our trek guide, the inner part of the basin could be 10 to 15 feet deep. We did not try. Hehe! My son & I had a good swim in the icy cold water in the periphery.

We had some good photo shoots here. While relaxing at the beautiful scenery and refreshing river, we had our lunch right at the riverbank beside the falls.

Our soiled, muddy shoes after the wet, muddy and slippery trek.

We were so tired by this time, and we wanted to just go back to the drop-off point. But our trek guide tells us that a nearby falls is just about a 5 minute walk. And so we went.

It was a 10-minute walk actually, really short distance from Buruwisan. This is called Lanzones Falls. It was a remarkably smaller falls, but the view is just as wonderful: gushing waters cascading from the rocks and splashing to small basin below.

The Lanzones Falls: so refreshingly cool with wild anthoriums lining the “walls” of the falls.

Our return trek was much faster! It took us only 2 hours with a couple of stops! Thanks to our guide Kuya Dondon (phone 0912-961-3105) who led us to another trail which was much shorter but quite steep. The deep descent was okay, since we were going down. It would have been a difficult one if we passed this trail going up.

We thank the LORD for this another wonderful family adventure experience!

My family in front of Lanzones Falls
My family at the summit of the first mountain
We finally reached the marker of Buruwisan Falls after 3-1/2 hours of trek.

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.

Family Bonding Time

Family Bonding Time
by Danny Tariman

“Look how good and how pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

I am blessed to have a family that prays together, plays together, go out together.

We are so close to each other.

We go out together to explore places.

We go out together to enjoy the sun, the sand, and the seas – at a beach.

We go out together to satiate our cravings for food!

We watch together concerts, stage performances, and ballet shows.

We watch together movies too, even at home.

The best times of the week are the times when we are together. And we do this at least once a week.

We call this “family bonding” time.

We may be busy everyday with our respective work and activities. But we strive to maintain a common time for us all to be together – and without the gadgets (mobile phones, etc) in our hands.

Yes, at least once a month we go out – to the beach, to places we haven’t been in the past, to have dinner or lunch in a good restaurant, and other activities.

And I believe, this is a gift from God. We spend a bit of our savings on what we can afford, and enjoy these!

“You may spend the money however you wish… or whatever you desire. You and your household may eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and enjoy it.” (Deuteronomy 14:26)

At times, we widen our “family bonding time” with our extended family – with relatives and their family. We all meet together and have time chatting, sharing, and have fun together.

We do this in the spirit of love and unity. We do this because we value relationships.

As the Bible says “how good and how pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”

May the LORD continue to bless our family and yours!

Mt Daraitan: Making It To The Top

Mt Daraitan: Making It To The Top
by Danny Tariman

Mt Daraitan in the ranges of the Sierra Madre Mountains is one of trekkers’ favorites. Maybe because its location is very near the city. Or perhaps because it offers a different kind of challenge.

This mountain is located in Tanay, Rizal, Philippines. Coming from south of Metro Manila, it took me and my family just about 2 hours to drive to the drop-off point. Our vehicle’s odometer trip reading registered 77km.

At the foot of Mt Daraitan -- a still & quiet river
At the foot of Mt Daraitan — a still & quiet river

The drive was smooth, passing through C5, Antipolo City, Teresa, and finally reaching the town of Tanay. From the town-proper, it took us about an hour to Daraitan Village (baranggay). It was a good paved road until we reached the turning point from Marcos Highway, where we drove on dirt-and-rock road for about 10kms.

At the drop-off area, we were greeted by a scenic view of a quiet river, with green mountain ranges in the background. It was a good morning to commune with nature once again.

We crossed the river by a raft. It was just a 3 minute ride to the other bank of the river. We headed to the Village (baranggay) Hall for the registration and payment of environmental fees. We also engaged a trek guide from this office, as required. No group is allowed to climb without a local trek guide.

The trail to the top: soil & rocks on a very steep ascend
The trail to the top: soil & rocks on a very steep ascend

We left the village hall at about 8:30 in the morning with “Mang Mulong” as our guide. He is a 60-year-old man with strong knees. The road quickly ascended. We felt the pressure on our legs immediately that we asked to pause to do some stretching exercises for a few minutes.

The trail started with about 30º ascent slowly graduating to 45º. After about one hour of trekking through a 1-lane trail of rocks and mud with shrubs and rocks to hold to, we reached the mid-point. Wow, with wind blowing towards us, it was a refreshing 5-minute rest. The marker says “Station 1”.

This mid-point station has a few make-shift benches made of tree branches. The view of the river below was fantastic. There is also a cave at this point. We had some photo-shoots at the cave’s opening, but never thought of going inside. Other groups ahead of us didn’t go inside too.

Station 1: a refreshing rest at the mid-point to the top.
Station 1: a refreshing rest at the mid-point to the top.

Few steps to the climb, we saw this marker “This way to summit 2300 ft, and ready to Assault Trail”. I have no idea what the “assault trail” mean, until we realized that the slope is now about 60-70º! And this was all the way up to the summit.

It was really challenging ascent. While our climb of Mt Pulag (2900+masl) challenged our “perseverance”, this climb challenged our “strength”. This is really not for weak bodies! No offense meant, but it was really so challenging. The trail was very, very steep. We passed through the narrow trail of rocks and mud holding on to rocks, vines, small trees, and some cut branches to keep our balance.

"Assault trail" marker before the 60-to-70-degree uphill climb
“Assault trail” marker before the 60-to-70-degree uphill climb

Finally, we reached the summit at about 11:15am, after about 2 hours of difficult climb. It is an “achievement” I thought. Indeed it is, for me and my wife in our mid-fifties! We explored the summit, took photographs, and had our packed lunch.

The view from the top was just awesome! Simply breathtaking! Looking down, you can see the river making an “M” path at the foot of the mountain. The stunning sight re-energized my body, ready once again for the descending trek.

We left the summit at 12:30pm, passing a different trail going to Tinipak river. This river is noted for its enchanting lime rock formations and its emerald-color river.

Passing thru the difficult uphill climb.
Passing thru the difficult uphill climb.

The downhill trek was just as challenging as the climb. We still passed through steep slopes, passing through single-trail. At times, we had to squeeze our bodies to pass between 2 big boulders, and at times, we had to duck to pass under a rock formation.

I finally made it to the peak!
I finally made it to the peak!

After a longer trekking time than our ascent, we finally reached the river at 3:30pm. This is about 3 hours hike from the summit. At this time, our legs are tired, almost to the point of surrender. But no! Quitting is not an option! We can make it. And indeed, we made it.

I and my children had a swim at the cool waters of the river. It was a refreshing experience. It was like we were doused with cold water after many hours of hiking.

The view was truly enchanting. White limestone as walls on both side of the river, big boulders of cream colored stones on the river, and in the middle is a strong stream of emerald-colored water, gushing through the lime stones. Really captivating!

The enchanting Tinipak river and rock formation.
The enchanting Tinipak river and rock formation.

We left the Tinipak River at about 4:30pm and started our trek back to the village. We passed through the riverside. It took us about 30 minutes trek to the point where tricycles (motor bikes with a side car) were waiting. Yeah, we took the ride. We were so tired.

Tiring as it maybe, we had a very wonderful experience in this trek. Another day of family bonding time!

We praise God for graces and protection throughout this adventure.

My family at the start of the trek at Daraitan river.
My family at the start of the trek at Daraitan river.
My wife & me at the peak of Mt. Daraitan: enjoying the climb at past 50.
My wife & me at the peak of Mt. Daraitan: enjoying the climb at past 50.
My family upon reaching the summit.
My family upon reaching the summit.
My family at Tinipak river and rock formation.
My family at Tinipak river and rock formation.
The river we passed from Tinipak going back to the village.
The river we passed from Tinipak going back to the village: gorgeous natural beauty.

The Rustic Beauty of Anawangin Cove

The Rustic Beauty of Anawangin Cove
by Danny Tariman

My family will always remember the beautiful camp-out experience in this secluded cove in Zambales — the Anawangin Cove. Tall pine trees in the beachfront, fine sand beach, and charming moonlight at night: truly perfect for camping.

My family at the beach.
My family at the beach.

Anawangin Cove is accessible via Pundaquit, Zambales. Pundaquit village is about 1 hour drive from Subic, Olongapo. We left Manila early in the morning to maximize our time for touring. We had a good breakfast in Subic Bay Freeport.

We arrived Subic at about 6 in the morning. At that time, most of establishments were still closed. The good thing is we have packed food with us. We stopped at Total Gas station along Subic’s main road, took-out our sandwiches and just bought some drinks. Beside the patio is a man-made lagoon which offered a very refreshing welcome for my traveling family.

The lagoon at the back of Total gas station in Subic.
The lagoon at the back of Total gas station in Subic.

We took a 25-minute boat ride from Pundaquit. According to locals, another option is to walk a 4-hour trek to the mountain and down to the cove. We had the easier option — by boat. We had Ate Fe’s boat (mobile phone 0917-667-5374). She was very kind and accommodating, even updating us of the weather situation in Pundaquit, as it was rainy in Metro Manila.

The boat ride to Anawangin was a bit wavy, but not much compared to other boat rides we had in the past. While still a distance from the shores, I have noted that in other coves, the trees were usual ones which make Anawangin truly unique with its pine trees.

The pine-tree lined beach of Anawangin.
The pine-tree lined beach of Anawangin.

Anawangin has no concrete structure, except for the basic toilet and baths. This cove is really meant for camping.

After we had surveyed the surroundings and settled down, we setup our camping gear: we raised our tents, setup of table, prepare the firewood. It was really a good time for family bonding. My son helping me set the wood on fire, the mother-and-daughter preparing the table, and the sausages for cooking. Indeed, a wonderful experience.

My son taking care of the fire for cooking
My son taking care of the fire for cooking

After our dinner, we walked to the beach and had star gazing on a clear sky while sharing stories, dreams, and experiences. We hadn’t this kind of experience in the city. My son was able to get a good shot of

Family dinner time at the camp
Family dinner time at the camp

the moon with a silhouette of a boat parked on the beach as a background.

We had a good sleep — had even an extended sleep — despite the 1-hour rain in the evening. Hahaha! Perhaps we were tired.

The beach at night.
The beach at night.

We hit once again the beach. It was low tide and the waves were quite big. We enjoyed the shallow swim while being tossed by big waves.

Oh! Truly a good time with my family.

Our accommodation for the night.
Our accommodation for the night.


Related post:

The Natural Beauty of Capones Island

Enjoying the morning waves
Enjoying the morning waves