Eternalites go to Taiwan

Eternalites took a break from the usual hustle and bustle of selling memorial properties to enjoy their well-deserved reward for all their hard work.

Last April 26, 2017, 51 qualified sales associates from the different branches of Eternal Gardens flew to Taipei, Taiwan for the Asian Tour 2018. Top company executives, including chairman and chief executive officer D. Edgard A. Cabangon, director T. Anthony C. Cabangon, and vice chairman Benjamin V. Ramos, joined the delegates in their 4-day trip to Taiwan. The tour was part of the agents’ incentives for their outstanding sales performance for 2017.

Divided into two groups, the delegates left for Taipei on the morning of April 6, Thursday, one day after the Grand Annual Awards Night. On the first day of their tour, the first batch of Eternalites to arrive in Taiwan visited the Mitsui Outlet Park for an afternoon stroll. They then proceeded to the Vigor Kobo Pineapple Cake Factory where they had baking lessons, made their own pineapple cake, and toured the museum. The second batch of delegates, meanwhile, visited CKS Memorial Hall and passed by the Presidential Palace before going to the Vigor Kobo Pineapple Cake Factory for their museum tour, baking lessons, and pineapple cake making session.

The two groups met up that evening and shared a hearty 10-course meal before turning in for the night at the Sunworld Dynasty Hotel.

On day two of the tour, the delegates headed outside Taipei to experience baking scallion cake, which is a popular delicacy in Taiwan. They also visited the Kavalan Whiskey Museum in Yilan County where they got to taste different kinds of whiskey.

In the afternoon, the delegates went to Shifen Old Street for the Flying Lantern Experience. There, they wrote their wishes on giant lanterns before releasing them in the air. Most of them, of course, wished for more sales this year. The group’s next stop was the Ximenting Shopping area before having dinner at Takao 1972 restaurant.

Day three of the Eternalites’s Taiwan tour began with their transfer to another hotel, the New Taipei Hot Spring Hotel, where they would be staying until they leave for Manila. Then they went to Taipei 101 where they had lunch at Din Tai Fung restaurant. In the afternoon, the delegates visited Tamsui Old Street, Fisherman’s Wharf for more picture taking and sightseeing. In the evening during dinner, the general agency managers took the opportunity to express their gratitude and appreciation to the management of Eternal Gardens for a very fun tour.

On the last day of the tour, it was the first batch of delegates’ turn to visit the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and pass by the Presidential Palace, while the second batch visited the Mitsui Outlet Park, before heading to the airport for their flight back to Manila.

It was the first time that the Eternal Gardens delegation visited Taiwan for the Asian Tour, and it was indeed a very enjoyable experience for those who were able to join. The agents particularly enjoyed the dining experiences that they had throughout the trip. And with their carefully planned itinerary, they were able to maximize their time in Taiwan by visiting as many tourist spots as possible.

Next year, the management is eyeing South Korea to be the destination for Asian Tour 2019.

Eternal Gardens at 41

Memorial industry leader Eternal Gardens marked its 41st anniversary on August 11 with a simple celebration at the Citystate Tower Hotel in Manila.

Attended by more than 150 Eternal Gardens employees, officers and guests, the celebration had the theme “Continuing His Saga of Success”, in honor of its founder, the late Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua. Present during the special event were the sons of Ambassador Cabangon Chua, namely, (from left) D. Adrian C. Cabangon, head of Central Engineering, ALCGC; D. Edward A. Cabangon, president of ALC Realty Corp. and ALC Industrial and Commercial Development Corp.; Doan Dominique Sergio O. Cabangon, vice president for Central Purchasing, ALCGC; D. Edgard A. Cabangon, chairman and CEO of Eternal Gardens; and T. Anthony C. Cabangon, Eternal Gardens director and BusinessMirror publisher.

Eternal Gardens is developing and managing 10 memorial parks at Baesa, Caloocan City; and the cities of Dagupan, Biñan, Batangas (in Barangay Balagtas and Barangay Concepcion), Lipa, Naga, Cabanatuan, Santa Rosa and Cagayan de Oro.

 

First published in the BusinessMirror on Aug. 13, 2017

Eternal Gardens loyal to Founder’s vision as it celebrates 41st year

Eternal Gardens celebrates its 41st anniversary today, August 11, driven by the passion for success that was the hallmark of the life of its founder, Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua.

Fittingly, National Artist Nick Joaquin entitled the biography of the Founder as “Antonio L. Cabangon Chua: A Saga of Success.”  The updated version by writers Jose F. Lacaba and Eric S. Caruncho echoed the same quality of his life by naming it “Antonio L. Cabangon Chua: The Continuing Saga of Success.”

ALC

Amb. Antonio L. Cabangon Chua, founder of Eternal Gardens

The ALC saga continues to unfold today. The ALC Group of Companies that he founded, and is named after his initials, cover more than 20 corporations involved in a wide range of businesses such as financial services and insurance, banking, memorial care, hotels and restaurants, real property development, vehicle dealership, health care and education.

He established Eternal Gardens in a working class community in Baesa, Caloocan on August 11, 1976. Joining him in the venture were like-minded individuals who lent him their support and assistance. “My dream was to bring first-class memorial parks and services to our people to ease the pain and grief of losing a loved one. That was the vision that strengthened us, the pioneering leaders of Eternal Gardens, to persist and persevere,” he had once said in a message to Eternalites.

The humble first park in Baesa, Caloocan has grown into a stable and lucrative network of 10 memorial parks in key places nationwide. The Baesa park was followed by a second in Dagupan in 1983; Biñan, 1984; Barangay Balagtas, 1986, and later Barangay Concepcion, 2011, both in Batangas City; Lipa, its third in the Southern Tagalog province, 1992; Naga City, 2000; Cabanatuan City, 2004; City of Santa Rosa in Laguna, 2008, and the 10th park to date, Cagayan de Oro’s Greenhills Park which the company took over from former owners in 2014.

Joaquin, in his book, recounts that his love for his mother was behind the strong drive for success of the company’s founder. “He had vowed to himself when very young that he would not rest until he had become a success… not so much for himself as for his mother.” The young Antonio and his mother had only each other, his father having died during the Second World War, and he was aware that “she had suffered so much…. He was in a hurry to grow up and make his way in the world so he could provide her with the luxuries she deserved.”

His journey to success began with him and his mother as partners in various undertakings, starting with a small sari-sari store, followed by a pawnshop that is the cornerstone of what is now known today as the ALC Group of Companies.

Having embarked on the memorial business, he had the foresight to recognize that with the country’s rapidly growing population, the old-style municipal and church-run cemeteries were no longer sufficient to meet the people’s needs. He was also among the earliest proponents of the pre-need concept of preparing for the inevitable before life ends.

With the Eternal Gardens network of memorial parks and the wide acceptance by the people that it is good to acquire a memorial lot before it is needed, he had achieved his goals.

In still later years, the Ambassador was moved by altruistic considerations when he saw how his thriving businesses created employment for the people.

Asked once why he kept on putting up more and more new businesses, Ambassador Cabangon Chua replied: “It is not ambition. It’s more of a challenge to help my fellowmen…. We’re not talking about money anymore. You will live longer as long as you are happy with what you are doing. You are creating job opportunities. You are doing good.”

People in the communities where Eternal Gardens memorial parks are located benefit from the employment generating capability of the company. Park operations require a wide variety of workers drawn from the locality. These include field workers like interment crews, construction and maintenance personnel. There are also office-based support staff for backroom processes like accounting, administrative, human resource development and management and sales and marketing. Finally, there are the members of the sales force who bring the company’s products and services to the people.

In all, the Eternal Gardens chain accounts for the livelihood of hundreds of families through the company’s more than 1000 employees and sales agents.

The employment opportunities it has spawned has made the memorial industry an important economic sector. The opening up and development of memorial parks was seen to offer excellent business potentials, particularly in utilizing areas that are unfit for agriculture, commercial and other uses, generating revenues for self-reliance and nationbuilding.

Eternal Gardens, under the leadership of its founder Ambassador Cabangon Chua, and subsequent management teams, is among the institutions that transformed the memorial industry into a money-making segment of the economy. The modern memorial park meets a basic need that has to be met.

D. Edgard A. Cabangon, chairman and CEO of Eternal Gardens

Having made all these accomplishments, Eternal Gardens is determined to continue its founder’s saga of success and keep growing in terms of market reach and product offerings under the leadership of his son, D. Edgard A. Cabangon, chairman of the board, Eternal Gardens.

While continuing to offer the best memorial products and services in its ten existing parks, it looks out for other places where it can open up other parks.

Eternal Gardens also pursues expansion in its existing parks by way of developing sections that can accommodate more burial lots, as in Biñan park. At Eternal Gardens Batangas and Santa Rosa, adjacent parcels of land were acquired to increase the area of existing parks.

Its expanded operation also includes the offering of cremation services in four of its parks. It has allowed Eternal Crematory Corporation, a sister company, to put up crematory facilities in the parks in Baesa, Caloocan; Biñan, Dagupan and barangay Balagtas in Batangas City. At its 10th park, Eternal Gardens Greenhills in Cagayan de Oro, it formally opened last July 29 Eternal Chapels Mortuary and Chapel Services.

Eternal Crematory and Eternal Chapels Mortuary and Chapel Services have beautiful air-conditioned chapels with complete facilities, including ample space for religious services.

The company also offers beautiful local and imported urns to hold cremated remains. These are made of wood, marble, bronze, steel and glass that come in different sizes. These can be placed in exquisite crypts in the park that can hold up to three urns each.

With all these offerings, Eternal Gardens stands unique today as a one-stop-shop for all the memorialization needs of the Filipino family for departed loved ones.

Eternal Gardens and the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus

Celebrating its 41st anniversary on August 11, Eternal Gardens carries on with its self-appointed task of promoting awareness of and devotion to the Image of the Transfiguration of Jesus.

Today, five days before the anniversary celebration, Eternal Gardens will be offering masses in honor of the feast in several of its branches, namely, the parks in Baesa, Caloocan City; Barangay Balagtas and Concepcion in Batangas City; and the parks in the cities of Dagupan, Naga, Cagayan de Oro and Cabanatuan.

While the celebration in these branches will be simple, the Cabanatuan park will be holding a special program at the Court of the Transfiguration, a newly developed area that is dedicated to the image.

Some branches will be offering masses for the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus in their parishes. These include the parks in Lipa City, Batangas; and in Biñan and Santa Rosa in Laguna.

The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event recorded in three of the four Gospels: Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-8; and Luke 9:28-36. According to these accounts, Jesus took the apostles Peter, James, and John with Him up upon a mountain, and while they were on the mountain, Christ was transfigured. His face shone like the sun, and His garments became glistening white.

As Christ was transfigured, two others appeared with Him: Moses, representing the Old Testament Law, and Elijah, representing the prophets. Thus Christ, who stood between the two and spoke with them, appeared to the disciples as the fulfillment of both the Law and the prophets.

The church considers the Transfiguration as unique among other miracles that appear in the Gospels as the miracle happens to Jesus Himself. For Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest scholars of the Catholic Church, the Transfiguration is “the greatest miracle” in that it complemented baptism and showed the perfection of life in Heaven.

The faithful believe that the Transfiguration allowed the apostles to behold the shining face of Jesus as a prelude to His resurrection.

In the same way, Eternal Gardens, by embracing the Transfiguration as its corporate symbol, affirms the people’s faith in life eternal where the truth and beauty of God’s love is finally revealed to mortals. By promoting the devotion to the venerated image, it has become an active partner of the church in propagating and strengthening faith in eternal life.

This is the meaning of the company’s corporate slogan of “a glimpse of heaven on a patch of earth.”

The Transfiguration image first rose at its very first park in Baesa, Caloocan City, which officially opened on August 11, 1976. Done by National Artist Napoleon Abueva, the giant figure of Christ in steel and bronze has become a famous landmark in the area where the North Expressway starts.

Dean Abueva would later design and execute the Transfiguration Image in Cabanatuan and Santa Rosa branches.

The iconic statue now also looms over nine other parks located in key areas, with the newest found in the company’s 10th park in Cagayan de Oro City.

Besides Baesa and Cagayan de Oro, other places where the Transfiguration image has become a familiar presence are Dagupan City, the second to open after Caloocan; and the cities of Biñan in Laguna, Lipa, Batangas City with two branches in barangay Balagtas and Concepcion; Naga, Cabanatuan and Santa Rosa Cities.

At the beginning in Baesa, residents were initially resistant to the opening of a memorial park in their midst. But eventually, they were won over when they saw that Eternal Gardens was designed as a park, with tasteful landscaping, and with a masterful work of sculptural art as centerpiece: Dean Abueva’s Transfiguration monument that would become a national landmark.

As Nick Joaquin wrote in his biography of the founder, Antonio L. Cabangon Chua: A Saga of Success: “It was an inspired idea to set up in Eternal Gardens a monument to Christ transfigured—and just as inspired was the choice of the artist to create the monument: sculptor Napoleon ‘Billy’ Abueva, National Artist.

“Abueva did a giant figure of Christ in flowing robes soaring heavenward from a base representing the earth opening up for the resurrection of the body. The metal statue, rising 45 feet high, is in steel and bronze and has now become a familiar presence in that area where the North Expressway starts. The sight of that mighty soaring Christ has caused in people riding by an elevation of the
spirit.”

by Lizzie R. Lazo

 

Peaceful observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days at Eternal Gardens

 

Eternal Gardens marked All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days with peaceful and orderly observance at its 10 branches last November 1 and 2, 2015, respectively. Thousands of people gathered at the parks of Eternal Gardens in Baesa, Caloocan City; Biñan and Santa Rosa Cities in Laguna Province, Barangays Balagtas and Concepcion in Batangas City, and the cities of Lipa, Dagupan, Naga, Cabanatuan, and Cagayan de Oro, on these dates to honor and commemorate the life of their departed loved ones.

As early as October 31st, families have started going to the parks, preferring to visit their loved ones earlier to avoid huge crowds. Thus, Eternal Gardens branches have also started their preparations earlier, seeking assistance from their respective local government agencies in deploying additional security and traffic management personnel.

During the two holidays, information booths and first aid stations have been set-up near the entrance or park office of the branches for the convenience of park visitors. Food stalls were also situated at designated areas within the park to serve the park goers. On November 1, masses were offered at the parks for the eternal repose of the souls of our dearly departed and priests and lay ministers went around the parks to bless the tombs.

Aside from their regular preparations for the November 1 and 2 holidays, some branches have also prepared special activities for their visitors. Most of these activities spearheaded by the branches aimed to provide entertainment for the kids as their parents and guardians take part in the solemn observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.

At Eternal Gardens Santa Rosa the kids were treated to a magic and stage illusion show, a Halloween costume contest, a Sing like Elsa contest, and some parlor games. In Balagtas, Batangas City branch, the children were allowed to go trick or treating in the park. Lipa branch also had a Halloween costume contest and bring me games for its young visitors.

Eternal Gardens Concepcion, Batangas City branch has prepared games for both kids and adult visitors. They also had an Amazing Race family edition. In Naga branch they had a costume and dance parties as well as a maze that were enjoyed by their visitors. A Halloween costume contest and Halloween Fun in the Mask competition were the activities prepared by Greenhills Park in Cagayan de Oro City for its park visitors.

Finally at Eternal Gardens Cabanatuan City, the children enjoyed the face painting activity, clown show, film showing, trick or treat, and Halloween costume contest prepared by the branch.

It has generally been another peaceful observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day at the Eternal Gardens branches, with no report of any untoward incidents in any of the parks. Truly, the company has once again succeeded in keeping this treasured Filipino tradition solemn and organized.

Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus: Eternal Gardens inspires devotion among the faithful

The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ at Greenhills Park, Cagayan de Oro City

Celebrating its 39th anniversary this year in the memorial business, Eternal Gardens carries on with its self-assumed task of promoting awareness of and devotion to the Transfiguration of Jesus.

First exhibited in the company’s maiden park in Baesa, Caloocan City, a famed landmark at the entrance to the North Luzon Expressway, the iconic statue now also looms over nine other parks in key areas in Luzon, with the newest found in the company’s 10th park in Cagayan de Oro City.

Today Eternal Gardens joins Christians worldwide in celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus, a biblical event that, the faithful believe, was meant to strengthen the faith of His apostles as the time of His earthly death approached by giving them a foretaste of His resurrection.

According to accounts  in three of the four Gospels (Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-8; and Luke 9:28-36),  Jesus took the apostles Peter, James and John with Him up on a mountain known as Mount Tabor, and while they were there,  He was shown with Moses and Elijah in all glory and majesty. He was transfigured, His face shone like the sun, and His garments became glistening white, a preview of His resurrection.

Of the thousands of churches all over the country, only a handful are dedicated in honor of the Transfiguration. The oldest of these is the Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration in Palo, Leyte, set up in 1596, just a year after the arrival of the Jesuits in 1595. Early this year the church made news as it was visited by Pope Francis when he went to Eastern Visayas to comfort the victims of Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan).

Others include the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, one of the most visited religious communities in the country; the Transfiguration Chapel at the Caleruega Retreat House, which is a favored venue for weddings and other spiritual exercises; the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Cavinti, Laguna; and the Transfiguration Parish in Angeles City.

Right in Metro Manila, the Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish in Quezon City is enthusiastically spearheading efforts at the parish level to propagate devotion to the Transfiguration of Jesus, the second most important event in His public life, next to His resurrection. Established more than 30 years ago, the parish is now a thriving and vibrant Christian community in Barangay San Roque, an area near Camp Aguinaldo and Cubao.

Supporting their efforts, Eternal Gardens is unique in being the only secular institution that is an active partner of the church in propagating and strengthening the devotion to the Transfiguration event by embracing the image as its corporate symbol of excellence.

Besides Baesa and Cagayan de Oro, other places where the Transfiguration image has become a familiar presence as it looms over Eternal Gardens branches are Dagupan City, the second to open after Caloocan; and the cities of Biñan in Laguna, Lipa, Batangas, with two branches in Barangay Balagtas and Concepcion; Naga, Cabanatuan and Santa Rosa.

In these branches, the observance of the Transfiguration feast today   coincides with their celebration of the 39th anniversary of Eternal Gardens. The company Head Office celebrates the anniversary five days later, or on August 11, the date of the official launch of Eternal Gardens in 1976.

By embracing the Transfiguration as its symbol, the company affirms the people’s faith in life eternal where the truth and beauty of God’s love is finally revealed to mortals. This is the meaning of its corporate slogan of “a glimpse of heaven on a patch of earth.”

 

by Lizzie Radam Lazo
Published today in the BusinessMirror