In 1979, Eternal Gardens’ inaugural memorial park in Baesa, Caloocan City embraced a significant milestone with the grand unveiling of an iconic masterpiece three years after the branch’s official opening on August 11, 1976: The statue of The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. This magnificent artwork not only captured the essence of that momentous occasion but also paved the way for a remarkable legacy that spans over four decades.
Today, The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ stands tall, gracing the 11 Eternal Gardens parks spreading from Luzon to Mindanao, serving as a symbol of Eternal Gardens’ unwavering dedication to its vision of maintaining leadership in memorial park development in the Philippines.
In a visionary move, founder Antonio L. Cabangon Chua sought to set the park apart by enlisting the creative genius of National Artist for Sculpture, Dean Napoleon V. Abueva, to meticulously craft this significant work of art. Distinguished as the youngest person to receive the title at 46 years old and considered the Father of Modern Filipino Sculpture, Abueva was selected not only for his exceptional talent but, more significantly, for his profound religious faith that harmonized perfectly with the convictions of the founder.
In addition to the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ statue in Baesa, the esteemed National Artist also sculpted the statues adorning the Eternal Gardens branches in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija in 2004 and Santa Rosa, Laguna in 2008.
As a tribute to the original design by Dean Abueva, the image of the Transfigured Christ was skillfully shaped by esteemed Filipino artists across various branches of Eternal Gardens. Amado Castrillo crafted the image for the second park located in Dagupan in 1983, as well as in the subsequent locations: Biñan, Laguna in 1984; Balagtas, Batangas City in 1986; Lipa City in 1992; and Naga City in 2000. While his son, Jonnel P. Castrillo, crafted the statue in Concepcion, Batangas City in 2013.
The Transfiguration adorning Eternal Gardens Cagayan de Oro, the company’s first park in Mindanao, is the creation of the accomplished sculptor Conrado F. Balubayan. During this period, the statue underwent a notable transformation, transitioning from its original bronze composition to white cement, Balubayan’s signature medium. Balubayan’s exceptional craftsmanship also extended to the captivating statue in Cabuyao City, Laguna in 2018.
Another statue of The Transfiguration is soon to rise at Eternal Gardens’ newest branch in Opol, Misamis Oriental, entrusted to the capable hands of sculptor Napoleon Balubayan, son of Conrado F. Balubayan.
The statue stands 33 feet in height, which is symbolic of the number of years that Jesus lived on Earth, and rests atop a 12-foot pedestal, paying homage to the 12 apostles that Jesus had as a testament to their profound impact.
The Transfiguration represents one of the most significant moments in Jesus’ life. It is one of the Luminous Mysteries in the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recounts the important episodes in the life and death of Jesus, made up of 20 mysteries in total.
The accounts of the Transfiguration can be found in Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, and Luke 9:28-36. These Gospels tell the story of how Peter, James, and John witnessed the transformation of Jesus’ appearance as a revelation of His divine glory. His face shone like the sun and His clothes became a dazzling white light. This powerful manifestation not only strengthened the apostles’ faith in anticipation of Jesus’ impending sacrifice on the cross but also offered them a glimpse of Christ’s resurrection.
Eternal Gardens has committed itself to spreading the importance of the Transfiguration and what it means to the fellow Filipino. It embraces the belief that through unwavering faith and the transformative power of Jesus Christ, every individual has the potential to experience their own personal resurrection, just as He did. This message is aptly expressed through the company’s slogan, “A Glimpse of Heaven on a Patch of Earth.” It encapsulates the guarantee that within the serene confines of Eternal Gardens, one can catch a glimpse of eternal life with Jesus, offering solace, hope, and a profound connection to the divine.
The commitment of Eternal Gardens to the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ extends far beyond the installation of the statues in its branches. The company pledges itself to lifelong advocacy of devotion to this miraculous event in the life of Jesus.
A significant part of this endeavor involves the annual celebration of the Feast of the Transfiguration on the 6th of August. On this cherished day, Holy Masses are conducted at the parks, while other branches sponsor masses in their respective parishes. Not only serving as a heartfelt tribute to the profound significance of the Transfiguration, these mass celebrations also act as expressions of gratitude for the company’s anniversary, which falls on August 11.
This devoted commitment resonates through each Eternal Gardens branch, nurturing the spiritual bond with the community and perpetuating the timeless message of faith and transformation.