Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bukidnon : The Monastery of Transfiguration : Behind the Pyramid, Unveiled

Last month of October, the Pinoy Travel Bloggers, discussed about the November’s theme for the Blog Carnival. Been read the thread, I then reflected on the possible theme on why not feature this time the Island of Mindanao, for some of the reasons, is to counter the negative publicity. I suggested it to the group and eventually, many signified that the island be featured-the Bliss of Land of Promise-Mindanao. 

Together with my family, we visited the Monastery of Transfiguration last November 08, 2011, my wife's birthday, for a special prayer intention then followed last Sunday to hear mass. 

Having a long talk with Father Savio, the prior priest of the Monastery, my wife suggested that before posting anything on this blog, that I should seek first the consent from the Prior Father Savio Ma. Siccuan OSB, which then was granted
The cloud formation as if sending us a message

It was also timely that the homily that he delivered has connection with the theme of this Blog Carnival, "The Mindanao Bliss" ---the places here in Mindanao which we considered as BLISS.

Quoting the passage from his homily which I also reflected on it about visiting a place;
"Isn't it strange?" 
Isn't it strange that a hundred peso bill seems so large when given to our Lord and yet seems so small when we go shopping? Isn't it strange that an hour seems so long when we go to worship in church an d yet seems so short when we are having fun elsewhere? Isn't it strange that everyone wants the front row tickets while they choose the seats at the back in church? The point of it all is how sluggish we are when doing things of the spirit as compared to our eagerness and enthusiasm in seeking the pleasures of this world!-Father Savio
My Reflection
Let me allow also to name this post, aside from the above title, as the "Bliss of Central Mindanao". I have a different perception on how I see things. Like of a single tree. My perception of this single tree is life, while others would perceive it as money or even a threat to his/her life. To avoid that unlikely perception and convert it into money, one should cut it.

For me, I have also other perception about a "bliss" when it pertains to a place. And this is how I perceived the Monastery of Transfiguration which I considered now as "The Bliss of Central Mindanao". Why now? Because it is only now that I discovered more behind the pyramid.

Every places has unique traits and characteristics. But it all depends on how you perceived such place. In my own perception and how I see things in here, I considered them all as BLISS. Spell BLISS. As we continue exploring the place, the following interesting things that I've discovered, are some significant traits behind the pyramid, were arranged not in order. 
The 10 Significant Traits Behind the Pyramid :  

 1.  Inside the "Worship and Weave" is the FILIPINO LITURGICAL VESTMENTS [Fashion Designing]

The Monastery Museum
Found inside the Museum
Dom Martin de Jesus H. Gomez,OSB, a former and famous fashion designer, left the limelight and entered a monastic life, wrote an excellent and well-written book on Philippine textiles and culture (Prof. Norma Respicio, ART Studies, University of the Philippines), entitled WORSHIP & WEAVE.
After shedding his life as a fashion designer, a Filipino monks draws on his past profession to create a remarkable vestments from indigenous fabric suited to the island climate. - Margaret Ramirez, Times Staff Writer
"WORSHIP & WEAVE" is a pioneering work in the use of native materials for the sacred celebrates Philippine indigenous heritage and artistry through the 50-piece collection of liturgical vestments made from the Philippine Materials and woven by indigenous cultural communities of the country.....Vestments are an important aspect of any liturgical celebration...--Marcel Rooney, OSB, Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation
We came to see that the story of how this book came to be is itself the "FABRIC OF THE FILIPINO FAITH.--Dom Martin
Below are some of the photos of Liturgical Vestments for you to glean on, that designed by  Dom Martin de Jesus H. Gomez, OSB ;

Email :
 At some point it dawned on me. What I had given up years before, the Lord has now given it back to me - Dom Martin
Dom Martin with Bonz [Con Tour]-photo credit : Jeanette

  2. Vic Barreto - In the Field of Arts with Prayers and Faith
Painter : Vic Barreto - The Resurrected Jesus Christ with the Apostles 
Vicente R. Barreto, Jr., Class 6 graduate of Bachelor of Fine Arts program of the University of Santo Tomas, hailed from Camarines Sur and Rizal was first an advertising artist with the then Manila Times Publication Co., Inc. of Chino Roces. With the closure of the company because of the Martial Law, Kuya Vic as we called him here in Malaybalay City, returned to the field of Arts, such as painting and sculpture.

Having relocated to Malaybalay, he produced works that are now classics of Bukidnon's ethnic culture-portraits and scenes of the tribal people and life--in addition to his earlier works that had been shown in group exhibits in Metro Manila notably the National Press Club.
One realizes the painting was the work of a man who PRAYS, one who knows the FAITH so well and one who lives it for that matter.-XXV-Monastery of Transfiguration

Kuya Vic Barreto is the first senior coordinator of "Ang Buhing Pulong Community"-translated as the Living Word Community, a Christian Catholic covenant community. As of this post, Kuya Vic still serve the community.

 3. All Time Favorite - The Monk's Blend

Famed Monk's Blend Coffee
Your visit cannot be completed once you havn't tasted and savored  the famed Monk's Blend Coffee during the Brunch with the monks. The Monk's Blend Coffee serves as one of the main ingredients of this church event, to taste it is a must.

In an article written by Ms. Anne Marie Ozaeta of F&B World, Dom Martin conveyed to her that once an individual enters the monastery, all their talents and interests could be utilized here to enrich the community. And this is where the Monk's Blend was it all started. 

Merely Planting Coffee and sell it to the Market :

The monks started planting coffee with the help of Abbot Eduardo P. Africa, happened to have been involved in the coffee business in Lipa, Batangas, when the prices dropped. (Abbot means, a senior monks). They just plant and sell it to Malaybalay City Public Market.

Belgian Coffee Master :

A retired Belgian Coffee Master, Mr. Emil Baenz, settled in the area, taught the monks how to roast their own coffee. He even shared all his expertise to make their coffee blend, hence the birth of the famed Monk's Blend. Mr. Baenz even provided them a second hand coffee roaster and started roasting in the early 1990's. 

They began buying coffee beans from nearby Bukidnon farmers, and proudly claimed that Monk's Blend is 100% Mindanao-grown and roasted. In order to boosts the coffee production, the monks replaced the old coffee roaster with newer high capacity Probat roasters from Germany

Monk's Blend coffee is a combination of finest quality of Arabica and Robusta beans to produce a 100% pure highly roasted coffee with no additives and preservatives.

It is also the main ingredient of the Coffee Crumble of Selecta Ice Cream.

The Store in the Old Monastery Site---display of Monk's Blend and other Bukidnon Made Products
Every second Sunday of the Month, though sometimes it cannot be perfected in terms of attendance, we make sure that once we join the Brunch with the monks, we should savor the taste of Bukidnon's pride, the MONK's BLEND.

4. BRUNCH with the Monks---the reason behind:
The Venue for the BRUNCH with the Monks
Breakfast with a combination of lunch or BRUNCH with the monks has been a regular event for church goers every second Sunday of the month. In year 2006, devotees from far places like Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City or even from Iligan City flocked to hear mass in this magnificent pyramid designed church. These church goers started complaining to the monks that they encounter difficulties to look for a place to take their breakfast. They then suggested to the monks that the next time they return to hear mass, they suggested to prepare breakfast for them. The monks started a capital of around P4,000 to P5,000 from those restless pilgrims, the monks prepared a sumptuous meals for 50 persons, served initially at the refectory. Later, with the word spread throughout, that the Monastery of the Transfiguration is serving breakfast every second Sunday of the Month, from initial of 50 persons who started it all couple of years, the monks now feed up to roughly 200 to 300 guests / church goers. These churchgoers were even came from far places, Manila or Luzon or even came from Abroad, just to visit this monastic place. 

In the past, these monks were not allowed to talk to the guests or "outsiders", but now, as the event's name BRUNCH with the Monks, they were now allowed to mingle with outsiders or guests.

For update, they are now gracing the birthday celebrants for the  month.
Fr. Savio as he prayed over the cakes for the Month's Birthday Celebrant
BRUNCH with the monks is a perfect treat for the family on the second Sunday of the Month. But as a sort of reminder to you, wearing of shorts is prohibited. So please wear a Sunday's proper attire.
5. The BELLS and the BELFRY :

We were personally assisted by Fr. Columbano Adag, OSB, the Sub-Prior of the Monastery of the Transfiguration. As he continued narrating to us how the monastery were built and where were all the materials came from. One of these things are the Bells and the Belfry. The Belfry were pre-cast concrete poles and fabricated by Davao Poles Marketing & Construction Services Corporation. These long concrete poles were transported directly from Davao while the BELLS were  directly came from GERMANY.   

6. Piece of ROCK on top of the ROCK ALTAR:

This piece of rock embedded on top of the main altar which is also a rock is a gift from their Grandmother House, the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain, thus connecting them (The Monastery of Transfiguration) in a very intimate way through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist". - As further revealed by Fr. Savio, OSB.
This piece of ROCK was cut from a stone from the Mountain of Montserrat - Montserrat means, a Serrated Mountain of Barcelona Spain. A sawtooth-like mountain.

7. The Replica of the Statue of Our Lady of Montserrat  

During the Centennial Celebration of the coming of the Benedictines to the Philippines (1895-1995) from the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat in Barcelona, Spain, their Grandmother House in Barcelona also donated a REPLICA of the statue of Our Lady of Montserrat to the Transfiguration Monastery here in Malaybalay City - XXV-Monastery of Transfiguration. The statue were enthroned at the back and  overhead of the main altar. The Solemn enthronement of the statue of Our Lady of Montserrat took place on August 6, 1997, two years after the Centennial Celebration. The Abbot of the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat in Barcelona, Spain, the Rt. Rev. Abbot Sebastia Bardolet, OSB, came over to enthrone the statue, popularly know in Spain as the LA MORENA, due to her dark color.
In her honor, the Monastery of Transfiguration here in Bukidnon celebrates two masses each month, every first and third Wednesday of the month at six in the evening.

Top View
The Volcanic Rock-like Altar is the only LOCAL Element of the Church, which they've got it from the falls downhill of this Barangay San Jose of Malaybalay City.


The Chairs and Ceiling Panels are hardwood: These materials were came from the Amazon River of South America.
The Driftwood Podium was donated by Ricardo "Richie" Z. CUNA, a banker and an entrepreneur.


With Mt. Kitanglad and Dulang-dulang (4th & 2nd highest Mountain in the Phils) as the Backdrop of the Church
a. Not everyone knew that the one who designed this grandeur structure in San Jose, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines, was the last architectural work of the National Artist for Architecture, Leandro Locsin
b. During our discussion with Fr. Savio while taking our breakfast, he shared that the basis of Architect Locsin of his design of this new monastery church was the 3 triangles that can be seen in the old monastery church. With this facts that I've learned from him, I then gave him the impression of the pyramid that the 3 sides of each triangle have the same distance or its technical term is Equilateral Triangle which also has the same angles. It means that if the roof angle of this 4 triangles that formed a pyramid is 45 degrees, therefore the base will then form as a SQUARE. 
A 45 degrees triangle can produce 2 sides that are of equal distance. The pyramid has 4 triangles with angle of inclination of 45 degrees, the base will then form a SQUARE or a BOX. 
c. Therefore, if the triangle has 3 equal sides, that means, his design was based on the Holy Trinity-ONE GOD. If the base formed as SQUARE, that means, God look upon us in equal manner, may either be that we are of different races, Muslims, Christians and other religions, God loves us EQUALLY. Constructed strategically in Central Mindanao (Bukidnon), where in some areas of Mindanao, arm conflict still exists. Monastery of Transfiguration is truly the Bliss of Central Mindanao to give positive energy in this Island.

That two (2) days of my exploration together with my family and my mother, from the Museum and the Monastery Pyramid Church, almost 2 hours of discussion with Prior Father Savio Ma. Siccuan, OSB and the Sub-prior Father Columbano Adag, OSB,  was really a blissful and unforgettable one, and that two (2) days was my family's  monastic journey with GOD that I will nurture for the rest of our life.

"Monastery of Transfiguration :   Behind the Pyramid, Unveiled"  is my 3nd entry to the 13th Blog Carnival of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers for the month of November, with the theme entitled "MINDANAO BLISS":  and hosted by  Olan Emboscado (Davao City) of The Travel Teller.

My Personal thanks to the Monastery of Transfiguration with the trust they gave me in giving some significant informations behind the pyramid and the materials they gave me, the Sunday homily,   the XXV Book by Hizon de Pampanga (This book was provided by Dom Martin as my reference) and their time to come up with this article. 

To my wife, Jeanette, who gave me inspiration to join this Prestigious Pinoy Travel Blog Carnival and giving me some direction on what to do. My son James Dei for some photography shots. And the company of my daughter Bea Jeanzent and my Mom Elena who were there also with us.  

P.S. - The Monastery of Transfiguration got 2 awards, 2010 and 2011 Best Maintained Tourist Spot from the Department of Tourism Region 10.

Bonzenti Panganiban / Con Tour Blog | A Philippine-Photo-Travel-Blog. All Rights Reserved. All articles and photos are original works of the Author, otherwise as stated.

26 Con Tour Passers by:

  1. Very nice photo and presentation. I was amazed. Need to visit Bukidnon.

  2. I like Father Dom, too! Great article, Kuya Bon!

  3. Thanks Roy. You should visit the Monastery as your Pilgrimage. :-). See you around.

  4. Dom Martin is a very nice guy from Pampanga. The monastery is also a venue for inner self reflection and intimate encounter with HIS PRESENCE.

  5. parang ang sarap ng belgian coffee. sarap mag stay sa Store in the Old Monastery Site haha

  6. Love the post and photos...

    Ganda ng pyramid church :D

  7. That's Monk's Blend. The one who taught them is a belgian coffee master. Thanks chino.

  8. Thanks Tina for that kind appreciation. BTW, dagdagan mo na blog post mo. :-). Cant wait to read your next post....hehehe.

  9. Bon. pwede diay daw mag-overnight diha sa Monastery? Naa man gud ko nabasa post sa usa ka blogger, diha daw sila natulog.

  10. dami kong natutunan sa blog entry na ito. I passed through here once from CDO to Davao, kasama ng ex-boss ko. bumili lang kami ng kape. picture-picture konti. pero hindi kami nagtagal. I would have wanted to linger a little longer pero, taga-sunod lang ako. Haha...anyway, I enjoyed the short sojourn...will blog about it later, too.

  11. Ding, The BEst time to visit the monastery is during the 2nd Sunday for the BRUNCH with the monks. P200 ang eat all you can. Masarap talaga ang kape dito ding. Super sarap talaga.

  12. I'll try to check that out earl. thanks for the feed.:-).

  13. my favorite church in the mindanao... so love the place, seemed so serene for me :)

  14. Hi Gladys, you've been here already? How nice to note that you've visited the church for your pilgrimage.:-). Visit here often.

  15. Hmmmm. na-iinterest ako dito sa chapel na to. Sir bonz feel ko parang coral ung volcanic rock dun. pero kung volcanic sang bulkan kaya galing if ever sir? hehe. na-iintriga kasi ako bat nilagay diyan heeh, may twist ang church na to! kainteresting to visit.

  16. @Edmar.

    It seems long time ago, there was a volcanic eruption in this place as seen evidently with other rocks here. Nilagay nila dito at least para may local element. kasi, halos lahat galing abroad.:-).

  17. Sir Bon, thank you for posting this article. I've always wanted to go there to personally see the place and I'm much more eager now to push through with the plan. Second Sunday....noted. I'll bring my family.

  18. Hello Shai.

    We always attend mass every 2nd Sunday. Looking forward in meeting you again with your family. See you around. :-).

  19. Wow, it's really an awesome experience when you can travel anywhere you want like a free bird. Bukidnon is one of the place I wanted to visit someday! I heard so much about Bukidnon and wanted to see and experience it myself.

  20. @Immigration.

    Try to visit Bukidnon. :-).

  21. I will Bonzenti, perhaps you can guide me? I'm a filipina by the way. I bookmark your site and shared on my facebook. :)

    Nicole aka Immigration

  22. Hi nicole. Its my pleasure to guide you in the Monastery. Just contact me if ever through my email as to when would be your plan to visit the monastery. By the way, they always welcome to those who wants to enrich their spirituality through recollection and spiritual related activities.

  23. I was able to stay in the monastery guesthouse for a couple of nights last month. I got to experience the most peaceful and quiet early mornings. It was beautiful. I'd love to go back and stay there longer.

  24. @Nagbabasang pinoy.

    Hi Kristine. I am glad to know that you have a unique encounter with the place, the inner peace, a short experience on monastic life and a quiet moment with God. You should go back here. :-).

  25. I'm definitely going back! I already booked a ticket for March next year. Hehe I'm thinking of doing a Dulang-Kitanglad traverse. I also want to explore the numerous caves and waterfalls in Sumilao and Quezon. I'm sooo in love with Bukidnon I'm actually thinking of settling down there in the future. :D

  26. Hi Kristine.

    March is the schedule of Kaamulan Festival:-). Just contact us here, we're the Bukidnon Bloggers Group. I am glad that you like the place like what I did when we settled here, leaving the Urban Jungle.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Delivered by FeedBurner