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CULTURAL POTPOURRI | Discovery Samal’s Imposing Divine Grace Chapel

Discovery Samal’s Divine Grace Chapel by Archt. Ed Ledesma

It was last October 20, 2023, when the inaugural blessing of Discovery Samal’s imposing Divine Grace Chapel was held. Rev. Fr. Romel Banilad and Rev. Fr. Ricky Penalosa celebrated the first Eucharistic Liturgy held in the chapel. The lucky invited guests were warmly welcomed by Discovery Samal’s General Manager Stanley Lau, the COO of Discovery Hospitality Corporation, Inc. Jose Parreno, the devout Maridol Lopez-Gonzalez, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales and Operations’ Cathy Nepomuceno, and Celina Lim who represented the Discovery owners.

The minimalist-designed sanctuary

“ This is a heartwarming celebration of Faith and Community. The Divine Grace Chapel stands as a symbol of dedication and unity…This sacred place promises to be a haven for worship, reflection and spiritual connection for the people of the Island Garden City of Samal…The Divine Grace Chapel stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication of its congregation and the power of shared faith. This place of worship with its impressive architectural design matched with carefully planned landscaping is blessed with a breathtaking view of the Davao Gulf. The chapel invites people to seek solace, find inspiration, and experience the presence of providence in the chapel,” said the hardworking Graziela Cadiente, Discovery Samal’s Marketing-Communications Manager.

Ribbon cutting time with Stanley Lau, Jose Parreno, Maridol L. Gonzalez, Cathy Nepomuceno, Celina Lim

The Modern Architecture that is the Divine Grace Chapel of Discovery Samal is located on a high promontory at the rear of the resort that affords a sweeping view of the Davao Gulf. Architect Ed Ledesma, a former partner of the late National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin, does not seem to give the impression of the concept of blending architecture with nature in a biophilic design manner. The past ideal of being at one with nature is far removed from this particular project he did in Discovery Samal. Instead, the veteran architect’s designed structures for the 5-star resort in Mindanao, which are mostly painted in black, seem to confront nature and to have a sort of tension maintained. It’s a complicated concept that the architect accomplished especially for the Garden City of Samal. Architect Ed Ledesma has an impressive facility for sculpting of forms.

Well-balanced altar table
The nave

What can never be expressed in this article though is the “experience” one gets when encountering his buildings. The Divine Grace Chapel’s solemn place as planned by Architect Ed Ledesma will quietly move you. Through a faithful’s presence in the chapel, one can understand the primacy of spatial experience. Take note though that this is not your typical Roman Catholic Chapel Filipinos are so used to. The centrally-located transparent cross which affords a view of the Davao Gulf and a well-balanced inverted pyramid for an altar table are the only ones you will see at the sanctuary of this chapel. There is not a single statue of Jesus, Mary, Joseph or any other saint in this chapel. So austerely minimalist in interior design.

Reception at Morning Catch

After the mass, guests were treated to an array of culinary delights at the Morning Catch’s buffet offerings. Thank you, Discovery Samal for the treat.



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