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
by Lizzie R. Lazo