Isola di Francesco, a mere ten-minute boat ride from Panglao proper, is a great destination for those who wish to retreat, reflect, and pray in harmony with the lapping of the waves and the chirping of the island’s resident birds.
Upon arrival, you are greeted by the welcoming arms of a huge statue of St. Pio of Pietrelcina.
A chapel was opened in the island last year and there’s a holy mass said every 23rd day of the month.
In March, Isola opened another avenue for people to get in touch with the Creator – Isola di Francesco’s Nature’s Art Museum.
And for every item that is being displayed in the museum, there is only one rule.
“Everything must be made by God. You can clean, frame, and arrange to make it presentable; but you cannot alter anything, even the color must be original,” explains Isola owner and utmost St. Pio devotee, Mr. Ramon Rodriguez.
And to everyone’s amazement, the museum is filled with items that speak of the grandeur of God and His Creation.
With the Supreme Artist’s hand at work, what do you find?
It’s unsurpassed beauty in the bits and pieces of natural objects that surround us – such as the incomparable exquisiteness in the many hues of sea urchin shells, the undulating lines in leaves, seeds, and sea shells, the diversity and uniqueness of every starfish and strange stone and pebble formations, not to mention the charm of every driftwood.
Every item on display has a story to tell all pointing to the Divine Master’s glory.
But it takes the patience, love and devotion of Mr. Ramon Rodriquez to pick up every object that’s left in the sand at Isola and Gak-ang Island and to clean it with meticulous care so that it shines once more and reflects untarnished beauty.
Indeed, at the heart of Nature’s Art, there’s only love, life, and the Lord’s handiwork. (Sonieta Labasan)