The still scorching heat of the 2 o’clock afternoon sun did not stop us from seeing this beautiful structure in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. It was part of a side-trip plan on our way back to Davao City from a Camiguin trip. People generally call it Bukidnon Monastery but the official name is Monastery of the Transfiguration. Situated on a hill in Barangay San Jose, Malaybalay on a very countryside setting, it is home to Benedictine monks.
Approaching the entrance, you could tell that it is such a solemn and tranquil place. The sacred compound comes with a scenic view of Bukidnon mountains and vast fields of green. For devoted Christians, the Monastery of the Transfiguration is an ideal place for prayer and reflection and maybe soul-search. It is mostly visited because of the religious buildings such as a Retreat House which accommodates devotees for any religious activities. They also have a Souvenir Shop where you can buy religious figurines and accessories as well as Bukidnon delicacies.
The “Pyramid of Giza” Church
One of the monastery’s buildings and the main attraction is the Church which is popular to tourists because of its unique and modern architecture. It is a great work of Architect and national artist Leandro Locsin and is just one of his church masterpieces. The architect is known for his simplistic design and use of concrete as can be seen in the church’s own design and material. The framed glass walling added to its sophistication and the roof looks like it is an inspiration from Egypt’s Pyramid of Giza, only in black color. As a matter of fact, one of the draws of the Monastery of the Transfiguration is a miraculous artifact of “Madonna and child” which reportedly came from Egypt.
The church’s entrance is beautifully decorated with live ornamental plants and its surrounding is teeming with wild greens that only grow in places with similar climate as Bukidnon’s. Regular masses are held in the church of the monastery on Sundays and holy days.
As a visitor and as courtesy to the sacredness of the place, wearing shorts or above-the-knee skirts (for women) and sleeveless shirts when entering the church is strongly discouraged.
How To Get To The Monastery of the Transfiguration
If you are from Luzon or Visayas, you can opt for a touchdown in Davao City or Cagayan de Oro City. Cagayan de Oro city is nearer with only 2.5 hours travel time while Davao City would have approx. 4 hours.
From Cagayan de Oro, take a bus bound for Davao or Valencia, Bukidnon. And from Davao City, take a bus bound for Cagayan. Note that there are also vans or taxis for hire from these points. Take off at Malaybalay City in Bukidnon.
From the city center of Malaybalay, the Monastery of the Transfiguration can be reached in 10-15 minutes. There are multi-cabs and motorcycles that offers a ride to the monastery at prices you can negotiate.