A new take on Mudpack Festival’s photo contest

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

THE series of calamities and disasters that struck the various islands of the country and the efforts of the stakeholders and the volunteers to rehabilitate the affected areas have inspired the organizers of the Mudpack Festival, held at the Mambukal Resort in Murcia, to adopt the theme “Saving, Healing and Celebrating Mother Earth” for its 18th edition this year.

Thus, festival competitions such as tribal dance, mixed media, poster-making for kids and the installation/performance art incorporated the theme in their performances and in the rendetion of their visual art entries.

Another festival competition that attracted more professional photographers and hobbyists not just from Negros but also from the neighboring islands of Panay and Cebu, is the Mudpack photo contest.


The winning photos are intended to be used for the promotion of the Mudpack festival but this year, festival organizers added another category—the pre-festival Mambukal sceneries category, wherein the subject was the various sites and attractions of the resort.

In the previous outings, the favorite and the most common images of the festival that were captured in the lens were the group tribal and solo dancers and the body-painting models. This year, the judges decided to select from among the hundred entries the images that captured the essence of the festival.

Hence, the top three winning entries were chosen based on the advocacy that the festival espouses.

Topping the list is the close-up of Farrah Georgescu in a red Mudpack clay as captured by Ronnie Baldonado. Ronnie is a freelance professional photographer who is well-known in the circle of tourism officers of Negros Occidental and in the festivals of the local government units of the province as a photo document specialist.

A regular Mudpack Festival habitué, his winning entry registered the most fundamental essence of the festival: dabbing one’s body with the resort’s volcanic multi-colored clay that is believed to have healing properties.

In doing so, one is expected to be attuned with nature and instill in one’s consciousness the preservation of the fragile environment we are now living in.

Second placer is Ralph de Asis, also a freelance photographer. This 32-year old resident of Alijis is into photography for four years now. His entry shows a pair of clay-painted hands hugging a tree.

The “saving the environment” factor in this year’s festival theme, symbolically captured by Ralph through his lens, impressed the judges composed of Tanya Lopez, who is the Negros Museum executive director and a former USLS faculty on photography for the school’s MassCom program; Ismael Java, artistic director of WNU Kalingaw’s Ang Teatro Hiligaynon and a regular Sun.Star contributing feature writer; and Clem del Castillo, executive director of the Balay ni Tan Juan Community Museum in Bago City and a former photography faculty of the LCC Arfien Department.

In third place is the photo of Emmanuelle Sawit of Cebu. He is the team leader of Aegis Philippines who is into nature and travel photography. He takes photography assignments and events/photo booths on the side. According to him, taking photos is more of a passion and a calling rather than a hobby or a career. He has been in the industry for almost three years and a proud member of the Istorya Photography Club.

Emmanuelle’s winning photo shows a plant’s bud sprouting from a man’s head that is covered with clay. He explained that our ‘old school of thought’ always thinks of Mother Earth as supreme; that she can take care of herself. The ‘new school of thought’ advocates that we should pay our dues by saving and preserving the earth that sustained us, he explained.


Rudy Reveche is a co-founder and organizer of the Mudpack Festival

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 12, 2014.


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