The Inbox

Mudpack Festival: a frolic in the rain

Mudpack festival 1

By Alex C. Delos Santos,VERA Files

 "Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory…"

 This 80's song by Eurythmix could very well be the anthem of the recent Mudpack Festival at Mambukal Resort in Murcia, Negros Occidental. "There must be rain," says festival director Rudy Reveche, "for mud comes with the rain. That's why the festival is scheduled in June, when the rains come."

But there was a time when too much rain came that the festival was postponed. It was in 2008 when typhoon Frank ravaged the whole country, it was impossible to be festive even at the sanctuary of Mambukal Resort that sits at the foot of majestic Mt. Kanlaon, the highest peak in the Visayas.

Conceived to promote the government-owned resort, the Mudpack Festival turns into art and joy the varicolored mud that can be found from the grounds of Mambukal. There are white, brown, reddish, and yellow muds. With some inventiveness, local artists in Negros came up with blue this year, with mud-smothered dancers looking like characters from Avatar.

In last June 18 and 19 festival, the main event was a tribal dance contest, with 10 to 15 dancers per group interpreting this year's theme, "Grow a tree….Nurture hope," to the beat of percussive tribal music. Costumed only in tights and mud, the dancers wallowed in the mud to the delight of the audience who were themselves rain-drenched.

There were side events like the Miss Mambukal pageant, body painting competition, drum-beating contest, installation and performance art contest, and poster-making contest for children that contributed to hammer in the festival's message. In Miss Mambukal competition for example, the candidates compete in flora and fauna costumes, which not only challenged the imagination of local designers, but also the daring of the contestants. In the question and answer portion, they were shown pictures of various aspects of the environment, and they were asked to give their two-cents worth of opinions on them.

 The evening was capped with a band concert in the grassy yet muddy park surrounded by trees and the rushing river below. The party went madder as the rains fell harder, and the festival-goers danced in willing abandon well into the morning.

Mudpack Festival 2Mudpack Festival is as hedonistic as it is spiritual.

While officially on its 15th year, the Mudpack Festival started much earlier. Reveche recalled that it started around 1986, when local artists would gather at the resort to unwind after being out in the streets for rallies and protests. They would have their little competitions, and somebody came up with sculptures out of Mambukal's mud.

They credit ritualist Louie Dormido as the founder of the Mudpack Festival, having initiated and seen it through its birth years. Dormido made a comeback this year as he performed the invocation during the opening ceremony.

Resort manager Ellen Vasquez happily reported that the resort was fully-booked during the weekend, with reservations made many months ago. Those who came but could not get accommodations just had to book for next year.

Mambukal Resort is one of the province's major tourist destinations outside of Bacolod City. The 30-minute drive from the Negros capital passes through Murcia town and acres of sugarcane plantations, and provides a full view of Mt. Kanlaon. It is one of the three entry points to the Mt. Kanlaon National Park, and is more preferred by the amateur trekkers for its friendlier slopes and wonderful flora.

Interestingly, Mambukal Resort is situated in Murcia town but is geographically distinct as it has her own charter, with the governor as the mayor. The charter was created through a Republic Act issued before the war, as the resort used to be a summer refuge of the provincial officials.

 One of the remaining pre-war structures is the bath house, now known as Ishiwata Hall, named after the Japanese architect who designed it. It is a small but elegant hall that could be used for parties and intimate gatherings.

 Cottages and lodges had been renovated to accommodate the increasing number of guests. Rates range from 900 to 1,500 PHP. For the more adventurous, there is a camping ground, where guests to the Mudpack Festival can pitch their tents. This has become the more popular mode of accommodation for the festival's followers. One tent even had a placard that welcomes boarders.

Given its unique timing and interesting artistic temper, the Mudpack Festival is expected to gain more followers in the next years. If there are sun-worshippers, there are those who would prefer a literal rain dance, and every drop of rain shall fall like memory.

 (VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia informs convicts of execution, Frenchman excluded
    Indonesia informs convicts of execution, Frenchman excluded

    Indonesia said Saturday it has officially notified eight foreign drug convicts that they will be executed, but a Frenchman was granted a temporary reprieve after Paris stepped up pressure on Jakarta. The eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- have been transported to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan where they will face the firing squad along with an Indonesian prisoner, despite strident international criticism. "Today, just now, we just finished …

  • Double Celebration
    Double Celebration

    Ropali Corporation, one of the top multi-brand motorcycle dealers in the Philippines, now holds two Guinness World Records. In the span of four days, Ropali Corporation broke two records, namely: The Largest Parade of Motorcycles with Sidecars and The Largest Simultaneous Motorcycle Burnout. As such, it also became the first motorcycle dealer in the Philippines to become a two-time Guinness World Record holder. The record for The Largest Parade of Motorcycles with Sidecars was previously …

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

  • Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th
    Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th

    Switzerland is the happiest country in the world, while the Philippines placed 90th, according to a global ranking of happiness unveiled in New York on Thursday. Switzerland was followed closely by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy. The United Nations published the first study in 2012. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options