Apung Susing the man behind the “hand-made” pyramid shaped temple was built at the foot of Mount Arayat in the province of the Philippines. He called it Bale Batu (“where the original concept was derived from Bale Pinaud or Bale Kubu with four-sided structures. Later on, the plan was changed and made into a cone-shaped foundation which supports the roof “), it was made from cement and pulverized mountain rocks derived from the formula of his grandfather. And because of this formula, it stood the test of time and nature like earthquakes. Yes earthquakes, he started building his temple in early 1970’s due to lack of resources and budget. His only way of earning is by selling vegetables in the lowland so it took four decades to complete his beautiful work. Apung Susing’s wife Teresita laughed at first when she saw the plan and weird looking sketch of the building. But “He was so determined to do it”, she said. He spent more than half of his life completing his hand-made temple!
Apung Susing as the fellow artists called him but his real name is Jesus Padilla. What’s more surprising is that he doesn’t have a formal education in this field. Yet his Bale Batu is a living proof of his ingenuity and artistry. But on the morning of March 2007 Apung Susing is already ill that time, ask his wife Teresita to help him go to the lower ground. He then requested tinola (a kind of chicken soup). He ate it and after a while he took his rest forever. Bale Batu, Apung Susing’s pride and glory and his own burial ground….
Bale Batu, four decades of hardship and determination, now his pride and glory will be forever Stand Tall!