Tag Archives: Family Bonding

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 our together to explore places.

We go our 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 beach front, fine sand beach, and its charming moonlight at night.

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 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 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