Sunday, March 29, 2009

Find your peace in this Field of Faith

Philippine Daily Inquirer-Lifestyle/ 
Feature/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

"AS OFTEN as you can, take a trip out to the fields and pray. All the grasses will enter your prayers and give you strength to sing praises to God.”
These words from an 18th-century rabbi ring true once your feet touch the grass and the stillness embraces you like a shawl of soft rain.
Truly, this is one of the beautiful spots on Earth which the eye of the soul can behold, and can be seen by the physical eyes and felt by one’s entire being.

Field of Faith calls out gently to everyone who enters. Rest. Listen. Feel. Remember. Awaken. Heal. It might as well remind: Do not hurry, you are at home. This is a sanctuary, a repository of beauty, a haven for sojourners and seekers.

Something here is alive and nurturing. Spirit of place, it is called. A guiding hand created this place. It is meant to be shared.

Field of Faith is at the foot of a mountain in Calauan, Laguna, an hour and 40-minute drive from Manila. The four-hectare sanctuary came to be in 2004 as a family’s thanksgiving for divine healing.

Owned and maintained by the family of former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Gabriel Singson and his wife, writer Moonyeen (nee Retizos), the place was landscaped, designed and continually beautified by their daughter, Carissa Singson-Mabasa, with the help of divinely-inspired artists, gardeners and other kindred spirits.

A luminous cross surrounded by gurgling waters stands at the heart of the place. There is the chapel without walls embraced by trees. Here, one could sit alone or join others for a joyful celebration. Butterflies, birds, fish and other living things contribute their energy to the place.

Labyrinth, satsang halls
Surely something to experience is the wide open hall with the ancient labyrinth design on the floor, which one could trace, tile after tile, with one’s steps and with a meditation guide on audio.

The labyrinth walk is a Western form of prayer and meditation of the early Christians.

“Today,” Carissa explains, “walking the labyrinth has become a metaphor for the spiritual journey. It is a powerful tool for transformation. It can help inspire change and renewal, and serves as a guide to help us develop higher levels of awareness.”

“The journey of self-realization is at the heart of spiritual traditions of all religions. It is a journey to meet the self and the Divine,” she adds.

One needs time and quiet to get to the center and emerge from the labyrinth. Walk silently along this path until you feel and remember that deep inside you is something valuable and worth listening to.

The newly built satsang hall is for encounters and workshops to help people regain unity of mind, body and spirit. Lessons are taken from Eastern and Western traditions that stress the totality of one’s being and experiencing the divine. Satsang, a Sanskrit word, means “a gathering for truth.”

Wishing wall
The Shekinah Wishing Wall offers its crevices to be filled with petitions and wishes. Shekinah is a Hebrew word that means “the God who dwells within.” In Christianity and Judaism, Shekina refers to the Holy Spirit.

For those drawn to the outdoors, there’s the neo-ethnic and modern sacred art that complements the lush tropical landscape. Each spot, detail and structure has a message to impart and a charm all its own. The words of wisdom—ancient and new—embossed, engraved, painted, etched and hung on nooks and pathways, call out to be read and internalized.

Take the 800-m pathway dotted with the stations of the cross and the mysteries of the rosary rendered in either wood, resin or metal. Stop in meditation spots to rest and reflect. Various artists went to work to make this portion not just a prayer path but also an art walkway.

One need not worry about where to stay. There are comfortable rooms and modern amenities. The glass hall serves as a dining area where healthy meals are served. There is a swimming pool for those who wish to soak away.

Healing garden
When Moonyeen discovered she had stage four colon cancer in 2003, Field of Faith was not even an idea.

“From my sister, I learned about this healing garden owned by an Italian family in Toronto,” Moonyeen recalls. “People went there to pray and experienced miracles.”

She thought, why not do something similar in the Philippines?

After Moonyeen returned from therapy in Singapore, the family decided to work on a property in Laguna which had been handed down by Moonyeen’s grandfather, Isidro Retizos.

“It was a wilderness,” Carissa says. Little by little, the place became transformed into God’s field—for all faiths. The place opened in 2005.

On special times of the year like Holy Week, Field of Faith attracts people who wish to immerse in prayer, quiet and beauty. The place could be used throughout the year for retreats, seminars and other group activities.

Truly, this is God’s field. It continues to grow and is ever renewing.

For inquiries, contact 0917-8151585 or 7210081. E-mail Visit