Almost all those who visits Malaybalay City in Bukidnon and wanders farther to Barangay San Jose, sees the grand and highly-spirited, inspiring structure created by Filipino National Artist Leandro Locsin, considerably his magnum opus. The famous Benedictine Monastery has for itself, carved a niche for backpackers, travellers and tourists who wish peaceful journeys and temporary respite from the hurting world can find peace in the Transfiguration Chapel.
Our experience started when we arrived late for a Mass in the Chapel and my friend Marlo was only on his shorts. We were told by the guards that it is not allowed to take photos of the Chapel when it has Mass and politely suggested to us if we wanted to wait until the mass ends. Wanting to stay longer but our hired mini-van’s driver was playing devil that time and does not want to stay longer than an hour. Hearing our disappointments, the guard secretly told me if I wanted to see the original chapel of the Benedictine Monks. That suggestion brought life to me and my eyes just wanted to see it and experience how this famous structure started and I wanted to see its own humble beginnings.
I told our driver to bring us to the where the main entrance was and take a left turn from it and drive towards a parking lot near the shop. I and Marlo explored the complex and I saw simple lifestyle as depicted in their structures. The buildings were just mere buildings, no colourful paints; no ornate designs save for some concrete stairs. I was trying to imagine how this complex before they started building the current chapel where mostly people go and attend mass.
Finally, we saw the hidden jewel of the Benedictine monks. Silently and reverently, we check the details of the chapel where they first had their prayers and mass. The original chapel is very much similar to the one presently being used, only that the coned ceiling is painted white while the new one is colored black, thus the guard told me that I should check the White Chapel instead.
As I write this, it is Ash Wednesday and many have made their way to the rural inroads towards the Transfiguration Chapel and obtain their holy cross on their foreheads. This rare opportunity to commune with my own spirituality while in Bukidnon and on the road is excellent way to learn more about how Bukidnon has forever itched in my heart. What endeared me to Bukidnon is its own humble beginnings, its lush greens and the way people are honestly giving you life instead of something else on the road. What I discovered praying in the White Chapel is far more than the opportunity to see the Black Chapel as designed by Leandro Locsin. The Chapel of Transfiguration is thus an inspiring structure where I found my own humanity, one which I will forever anchor as I journey farther on to Lake Apo, another jewel of Bukidnon.
- Ask permission from the guards if you can be allowed to see the White Chapel of Transfiguration;
- Then ask your vehicle driver to park near the Marian shop on the monastery grounds;
- Walk your way uphild, round the huge buildings and just maintain your silence. Remember, this is a monastery, not a place where you can behave rowdily;
- When you are at the White Chapel entrance, remain silent and prayerful;
- Usually, the chapel has no one so respect the reverence of the place. Empty chairs facing the altars remind you of this. Take your seat and pray.
- Leave the White Chapel with a refreshed spirit. God bless