by Oliver Carlos

My family had visited Liliw, Laguna quite a number of times already. In those trips we shopped for footwear and ate delicious homemade pizza at a local restaurant. When we were there, I also mused on what lies beyond that far-fletched town sitting on the foothills of Mt. Banahaw? So one day, we decided to drive beyond Liliw and see where the eastward road leads.

We heard from friends that theres at least a couple of nice nature spots in that area. We started asking around for one that’s named Dalitiwan. I imagined it to be a river with a waterfall. We drove past the población of Majayjay. The road was generally straight with a few winding parts. We reached a street corner with a sign pointing to Dalitiwan. We left the main road and followed that unpaved road into a wooded area.

The ice-cold waters of Dalitiwan splashing on my shoulders. (photo by Maffy Castillo)

Several meters into the dirt road, a guy halted us and collected P20 from us. He said that the entrance is free, but we had to pay for the parking. When we reached the end of the road, we saw some vehicles parked under some trees. We parked our little red Suzuki Alto there. From where we parked, we can see a short downhill trail which leads to a river. Beside the river were huts, and on the river were vacationers like us. Bingo! We’ve reached our destination.

The place was quite pristine. There’s not much commercialization yet. There were just a few bamboo huts and tables. There was also a public toilet with showers. I don’t think there’s electricity in the area as we were told we should set off at 5 PM or before it gets dark. This was in the mid-2010s.

We didn’t rent a hut or table, a big flat rock beside the river was good enough for us. We bathed in the cool, fast-flowing water of that river that runs down the slopes of Mt. Banahaw. There’s also a small waterfall, around10 feet high. It’s a great experience feeling its thundering waters splash on my shoulders.

Our Dalitiwan trip reminded me of my favorite psalm, which is Psalm 42. It’s famous for its opening line:

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” (Psalm 42:1, NIV)

It was a hot and humid summer, and we longed to plunge ourselves in some cold spring or river. We were like a thirsty deer looking for a brook to drink from. We travelled far and wide searching for the fabled Dalitiwan river. Similarly, sometimes in life we feel exhausted from the wilting heat of our work or school, and we wanted to have some refreshing moments. When we’re in this situation, let us thirst for more of God in our lives. Seek his presence by praying and reading through the Bible. For sure, he will let you feel his embrace, and you would feel a unique kind of peace that only he can give.

When the psalmist has found God’s touch, he described it as a strong waterfall overwhelming him. He wrote in verses7–8 (NIV):

“…in the roar of your waterfalls, all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me…”

In conclusion, the psalmist exclaimed this at the end of his search:

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (verse 11, NIV)

Do you feel downtrodden or dry? Like a thirsty deer, yearn for God. Cheer up and sing to him a worship song. Know that he will wash away your stress, anxiety and downcast mood. Rejoice and be glad, for God is near and he will come to you like a mighty waterfall.