Eternal Gardens continues to advocate devotion, dedication to the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

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Eternal Gardens was established with the vision to become a leader in memorial park development in the country, and to give Filipinos a beautiful and dignified final resting place when the inevitable comes. But in the process of building what is now one of the trusted memorial park companies in the Philippines, founder Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua found another meaningful purpose for it, one that Eternal Gardens faithfully upholds up to this day.

Jesus Transfigured

Each of the 11 Eternal Gardens parks is characterized by a towering statue of Jesus looking up to the heavens with His hands outstretched. This statue is called the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, honoring one of the most important events in Jesus’ life and ministry on earth.

Three of the four Gospels have records of the Transfiguration of Jesus: Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-8; and Luke 9:28-36. These accounts tell the story of how Jesus took three of his apostles, Peter, James, and John, up on a mountain where He was transfigured. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became glistening white.

As Jesus was transfigured, Moses, representing the Old Testament Law; and Elijah, representing the prophets, appeared beside Him. Thus Jesus, who stood between the two and spoke with them, appeared to the apostles as the fulfillment of both the Law and the prophets.

After overcoming the shock caused by the vision before him, Peter said, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them, and from the cloud a voice was heard saying, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

These were the same words proclaimed by God the Father during the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan, which was a declaration of the divinity of Jesus even as He became man.

The faithful believe that the purpose of Jesus’ Transfiguration was to give the apostles a preview of His resurrection, and strengthen their faith at the time of his impending earthly demise. Today, the same miraculous event gives us hope of eternal life with Jesus, and inspires us to trust in Him, especially during these trying times, as we continue to endure the effects of the pandemic.

A symbol of excellence

Eternal Gardens helps propagate the devotion to the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ through the magnificent images found in each park. The religious icon has become a prominent landmark in the cities where an Eternal Gardens Park is located, and is the definitive symbol of the company’s commitment to excellence.

In setting up the maiden branch of Eternal Gardens in Baesa, Caloocan City in 1976, Ambassador Cabangon Chua had an inspired idea of building a monument of Jesus Christ to distinguish his park from the others. Then he thought of the perfect artist to realize his idea: Dean Napoleon V. Abueva.

Fresh from being named National Artist for Sculpture at the age of 46, the youngest to be conferred the honor, Dean Abueva was formally tapped by Ambassador Cabangon Chua to design and execute the very first image of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ for Eternal Gardens. He was chosen not only for his great talent, but also, and more notably, for his deep religious faith that aligned with the beliefs of the founder.

Aside from the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ statue in Baesa, which Dean Abueva completed in 1979, the National Artist also crafted the ones found in Eternal Gardens Cabanatuan and Santa Rosa branches.

Other notable Filipino artists shaped the image of Christ Transfigured for the other branches of Eternal Gardens, following the original design of Dean Abueva. Amado Castrillo did the images in the second park in Dagupan in 1983; the third in Biñan, Laguna in 1984; barangay Balagtas, Batangas City in 1986; Lipa City in 1992; and farther south in Naga City in 2000.

The Transfiguration at Eternal Gardens Cagayan de Oro, the company’s first park to open in Mindanao, is a work of leading sculptor Conrado F. Balubayan.  Balubayan also made the image in Cabuyao City, Laguna, which is the latest Eternal Gardens Park to open.

A tradition of faith

Another means by which Eternal Gardens advocates devotion to the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ is the annual commemoration of its feast at all Eternal Gardens parks on August 6. On this day, Holy Masses are held at some of the parks, while others sponsor the celebration of Holy Masses at their respective parishes.

This yearly tradition affirms the company’s commitment to promote the message of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ among Filipinos. This miracle is a fitting reminder that no matter how tough life may get, there is a promise of a great life waiting for us at the end of all the suffering, and we must remain faithful to the Lord and never doubt His plans for us.

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