I HAVE visited Mambukal Mountain Resort a number of times and it always reminds me of my childhood when we spent a few days in this nature haven. But I have never experienced the Mudpack Festival until recently, during its 21st year celebration.
Last Saturday, we started the day early and headed to Mambukal to see the sights and the activities of the festival in the resort. When we arrived, participants were already sweating it out with various dance and Zumba moves at the Hataw sa Mudpack. Later on, we saw children and artists pouring their creative juices over their work for the Poster Making Contest for Kids and the Mixed Media Competition, respectively.
Walking around Mambukal, we marveled at the trees, the flora and fauna, and the fruit bats hanging by the branches. We wanted to trek to the hanging bridge but with a child in tow, we threw that idea away. Mambukal is still an ideal destination to both locals and visitors alike. Those who prefer to relax can opt for the butterfly garden, the spa, the hot spring, the Japanese pool, or the cascading waters near the pool. For those who are the adventurous type, they can hike to the waterfalls, do some zip-line, bike around the resort, or do some boating.
When we got to the campsite area, we found the various tribes preparing for the Drum Beating Competition and the Tribal Dance Competition. Participants covered in mud were being painted on. Watching them getting ready made us even more excited for their performances. We had a quick lunch in one of the eateries inside the resort and proceeded to the Ishiwata Grounds by the Ishiwata Bath, where the activities would take place. The crowd was already there, awaiting the tribes to arrive. Resorts manager Ellen Jalandoni warmly welcomed us at the Bath House.
The Drum Beating Competition began and the heavens poured its blessings. Still, the tribes continued with their performances. First that came up was the Tribu Busay composed of young girls and boys. Next that came up was the Tribuni Maming, followed by Tunog Azucar Drumbeaters, Ruisa Percussa, Tribu Norte, and then Tribu Pocut. Tribu Norte bagged the top prize while Ruisa Percussa and Tribu Pocut got the second and third places, respectively.
The Tribal Dance Competition featured the legends of various animals: The VMA Poseidon Dance Theater portrayed the “Alamat ng Ahas;” the Murcia Dance Company interpreted the “Alamat ng Paru-Paro;” Tribu Hugpong gave life to the “Alamat ng Gagamba;” Tribu Naiga-ak danced the “Alamat ng Paniki;” and Tribu Kabuhi performed their own rendition of the “Alamat ng Agila.” In the end, it was the VMA Poseidon Dance Theater that got the nod of the judges, followed by Tribu Kabuhi at second place and Tribu Hugpong for the third spot.
Winners of the Poster-Making Contest for Kids and the Mixed Media were also announced. Similarly, kids who had mudpack and body paint on paraded in the grounds and were provided with loot bags.
The Mudpack Festival is held every third week of June in the Mambukal Mountain Resort, which is managed by the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental. The festival, which has an environmental focus, has the theme “Pray, Heal, Celebrate Life” this year.*
All photos are by this author. Claire Marie Algarme blogs at http://firsttimetravels.com. Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and Instagram and like her Facebook page First-time Travels.