Sampaguita Gardens is more than the Christmas Cottage. The Resort includes The Gallery which host Mr. Butcher’s private collection of his artworks. It includes collector’s items of Precious Moments porcelain figurines, his paintings in oil and watercolor. The centerpiece of The Gallery is a replica of his private residence in the US, which I was informed (by the receptionist/tour guide) underwent three major revisions to suit Mr. Butcher’s taste and spent Php 500,000.00 for the final product.
The Gallery also houses memorabilia’s, certificates and plaques of appreciation from various organizations. It also serves as a viewing room of a video on how Mr. Butcher started drawing and painting, which was later known all over the world as Precious Moments. Included in the video is a presentation on how he built the Precious Moments Chapel by the Sea at Sampaguita Gardens, the second ‘Precious Moments Chapel’ after the one in Carthage, Missouri (I will upload in my next post a video I made of the Chapel at Sampaguita Gardens).
Video and more images at the next page.
His Thai-inspired home referred to as The Mansion is open to the public. It majestically seats at one end of a wide and long yard/garden (also open to the public for various functions such as weddings and baptismals). At one end are two life-size horses made of steel, reminiscent of what appeared to me as Old-Japanese or Chinese warrior horses, and it usher you to a pathway, paved with carefully drawn tropical flora and fauna on huge cement tiles to the entrance of The Mansion.
The door of The Mansion is made of wood with carved image of the ‘Sampaguita’ flower. The same thing serves as a ‘divider’ in the living area, hand-carved (I was informed) by Mr. Butcher on soft wood of the same magnitude as the main door.
Expectedly, the atmosphere is very ‘Christmas-sy’ and the interior is a fusion of Western and Asian influence. Asian culture plays an important part on Mr. Butcher’s way of life and is very evident in the resort. The Oriental Flavors Restaurant is very Chinese, and The Spa is very Thai. Leaving your footwear at the doorsteps of The Gallery and The Mansion is undeniably very Asian and one very Filipino is the display of the Parol all over the Resorrt, all year round.
Having lived in Thailand for three years before he came to the Philippines in 1981, lived in Iloilo, (he later on donated his residence in Iloilo to his ‘church’) until he finally decided to settle in Kalibo, Mr. Butcher have embraced the culture he will forever love.
Here is a video taken at The Gallery, The Mansion, The Public Swimming Pool (nothing spectacular about the swimming pools except that its ‘cafeteria’ is overlooking the sea which is a very refreshing sight!) and The Spa to satisfy your curiosity, if it will in anyway. 🙂
I was not so lucky to meet Mr. Butcher when I was inside the Mansion, though I can hear him giving orders to a ‘houseboy’. I was told, though that he is always willing to have some pictures taken (with him, ofcourse) just in case he sees you inside.
One thing I noticed about Mr. Butcher is that he must be a ‘Cory’ fan, having made a Cory Doll. Not only that, he has also an oil painting by ‘Tita Cory’ in his dining area. One thing more, if there’s a ‘wishing well’, Mr. Butcher has a ‘’Wishing White Statue’ also in his dining – that’s no longer connected to ‘Tita’ Cory. 🙂
Postscript: I have decided not to upload any images taken inside The Mansion to respect Mr. Butcher’s ‘privacy.’ Although it’s open to the public and taking pictures is allowed, it is still my personal conviction not to publish here at BKS. Just see it for yourselves when you have the chance – it is equally interesting as the other attractions in the Resort.