An important turning point in my life happened last 2012 when I decided to have a retreat at the Monastery of Transfiguration in Bukidnon, Philippines. The retreat facility was recommended by a friend of a friend, and they can truly attest to the miracles that happened there. I did gain some spiritual nourishment while I was at the monastery. However, the most intriguing part of my visit was the coffee.
The first thing that I noticed when I stepped inside the retreat house was the aroma of uplifting coffee. Can coffee be this uplifting? I gave my greetings to the priests and other retreat participants, but I was drawn to the coffee at the cafeteria. Since it was free-flowing coffee for anyone to take any time, I refilled my tumbler as many times as I can with the amazing black gold.
I took my tumbler with me outside and sat on a bench. I looked at the exquisite landscape and started sipping my hot coffee. It was the first time that coffee had such a profound effect on me. The smell and taste of coffee were not just up to the throat, but it went all the way down inside me. It nourished my soul with every sip. It was better than any coffee that I had at any coffee shop. The coffee itself aided in the healing of my broken spirit.
The Benedictine Monks cultivate and process the coffee in the pristine environment of Bukidnon. The high altitude and cool climate of this province in the Southern Philippines are ideal for growing coffee. They have their special way of growing and processing coffee which can be considered a “trade secret.” They have perfected their way of roasting which produces coffee that somewhat tastes “heavenly.”
The Benedictine Monks brand their coffee and sell it to the market as “Monk’s Blend Coffee.” Monk’s Blend is used by several local coffee shops and has a wide reach in the market. Their coffee is also used as an ingredient for coffee crumble ice cream of a well-known brand here in the Philippines. Besides coffee beans, the monks also sell other livelihood products to support farmers in Bukidnon.
The church within the monastery is the magnum opus of the Filipino National Artist for Architecture, Leandro Locsin. You will feel an immense peace you’ve never felt before once you step inside the church. You will also get to hear the angelic voices of the monks singing hymns in the 5 AM mass every morning.
This coffee experience is truly unforgettable. The coffee of the Benedictine Monks healed and nourished me. I also started using it on my coffee paintings. There was one coffee artwork I made with Monk’s Blend coffee that was part of an exhibit at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Gallery last October 1 – 15, 2015. I wish to come back to the monastery and give Father Elias a coffee painting made with the coffee they grow in Bukidnon.
Coffee can indeed create miracles…
Brokenhearted or in need of healing? Why not take a trip down south in the Philippines and get to see the beautiful monastery of the Benedictine Monks? They accept guests who want to experience the monastic life and taste their heavenly coffee. The place is also highly recommended for spiritual enrichment and retreat purposes.
How to Get to the Monastery of Transfiguration in San Jose, Malaybalay, Bukidnon:
From Manila to Cagayan De Oro: If you are traveling from Manila, take a flight from Manila to Cagayan De Oro City. Take a bus bound for Bukidnon or Davao from the city’s bus terminal. Inform the bus conductor to drop you off at the Monastery of Transfiguration in San Jose, Malaybalay Bukidnon. From the drop off point, you can walk or take a motorbike ride to the monastery premises.
From Manila to Davao: If you choose to take a flight to Davao from Manila, from Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) take a bus bound for Cagayan De Oro City via BUDA (Bukidnon-Davao Highway). Inform the bus conductor that you want to be dropped off at San Jose, Malaybalay just in front of the Monastery of Transfiguration. From the highway, you can walk to the monastery or take a motorbike ride to the destination.