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MURCIA, Negros Occidental – The Mambukal Resort in Brgy. Minoyan here is oozing with nature’s healing benefits of hot spring and clay highlighting a booming spa business.

Mambukal Resort is a promising spa haven that boasts of the Ishiwata Bathhouse which is equipped with five dipping rooms with highly-pressurized hot and cold sulfur spring water, three dipping rooms for women and four for men, shower and dressing rooms.

The Ishiwata Bathhouse was first built in 1927 and named after its developer, Japanese engineer Kokichi Paul Ishiwata. It was restored sometime in 2002 when Governor Joseph Marañon took over the Capitol’s administration.

Mambukal is run by the provincial government’s Economic Enterprise Development Department (EEDD) which includes income-generating projects for the province like Pana-ad Festival, food terminals, hospitals and tourism.

Mambukal offers kiddie and adult swimming pools, picnic huts, wall climbing, slide for life, canopy walk, boating lagoon, butterfly garden, cottages, tourist lodges, dormitory, conference hall, catering and transport services.

Situated in a jungle setting, tourists can trek to the seven falls hidden inside a thick forest which is a haven for bats.

“According to the visitors, the clay is good for their skins,” says resort manager  Ellen Vasquez.

Mambukal’s distinct multi-colored clays (gray, red, orange, grayish yellow and black) which are abundant in the area are highlighted during the Annual Mudpack Festival in June.

Mudpack is a unique event as it centers on the harmony of man and nature to stir people’s awareness of the importance of the environment.

The celebration is a festival of arts which serves as avenue where artists from all over Negros gather to exhibit their respective artistic talents in ethnic dances, crafts and music.

The festivities sprang from the 1986 EDSA Revolution when Mambukal Resort was in disarray – while people were scared to go up – and their spirits were really low.

Artists Rudy Reveche and Louie Dormido and their friends trooped to Mambukal to enjoy the place and started playing with the multi-colored clays creating souvenir items.

A foreign tourist then took interest in their artworks and encouraged them to make more.

Mambukal’s local artist Cris Garzon and members of the Art Association of Bacolod (AAB) have pledged their support and more artists were enticed to join – they would meet once a year in Mambukal and showcase their individual talents.

When NIDCORP (Negros International Development Corp.) managed Mambukal in 1996, they started celebrating what has been known as the Mudpack Festival.

Since then, the Negros Occidental provincial government has taken the initiative to support the celebration, developed more activities and integrated the relevance of the protection of the environment.

How to Get Here

The gateway to Negros Occidental, Bacolod City is 55 minutes from Manila by air with daily flights by Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines, and Cebu Pacific Air.

Bacolod is 30 minutes from Cebu City by air with daily flights provided by PAL and Cebu Pacific and 1-hour from Iloilo City by sea with daily ferry boat trips.

From Bacolod to Mambukal Mountain Resort is a 35-minute drive by private car passing through Murcia town.

Public utility vehicles plying this route are stationed at the northwestern side of the Libertad Public Market. Jeepney trips to Mambukal start at 7:20AM to 7PM with fare of about Php30 per person.

For more details please check out: http://mambukal.negros-occ.gov.ph/