Pulilan festival highlights ‘kalye’ art

Pulilan festival highlights ‘kalye’ art

By: - Correspondent / @inquirerdotnet
/ 05:17 AM May 20, 2024

Pulilan festival highlights ‘kalye’ art

FARM BREAK This mural of a farmer with his carabao resting under a tree in a farm, painted by a participating artist at the Mandala Art Festival on a wall owned by a private company in Barangay Lumbac in Pulilan, Bulacan, is a head-turner for locals and motorists. —Carmela Reyes-Estrope

PULILAN, BULACAN, Philippines — This town’s streets were transformed into a colorful art show for the Mandala Art Festival early this month and in the days leading up to the celebration of the Pulilan Carabao Festival on May 14.

For the past 12 years, the Mandala Art Festival has featured “kalye” (street) art made by various participating artists from Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Bulacan, which turned the pale and dull Pulilan-Calumpit highway and the town’s inner roads into an inspiring, fun, educational and entertaining scenery as they displayed their creativity.


Andrew de Guzman, president of Pulilan Jefarca Arts and Historical Society and Mandala organizing committee’s director, started the festival in 2012 by using visual art presentations to help call for the preservation of rice farms from being converted into roads and residential enclaves.


READ: Pulilan celebrates art, agriculture in Mandalá 8

“Mandala,” in Filipino, is a layer of rice stalks and “dayami” (hay), formed into different shapes, commonly a thin mountain-like shape in the middle of a rice farm with a diameter of about three to six feet. It has two types—one is just rice hay and straws that are only intended to become feeds for the carabaos, while the other is still filled with rice grains and stalks that are yet to be threshed.

The art festival usually runs from May 1 to May 3. This year, the kalye art in the streets highlighted the works of Ang Gerilya of Metro Manila, Luna of Bataan, Kapok of Bulacan, and individual artists like Lorebert Maralita, Don Bunag, Mark Quizon, Oliver Marquez, Edu Perreras and many others.


On May 10, the 95 artists who had been participating in the festival for 12 years now also displayed their works in an exhibit at SM Pulilan dubbed “Ang Ating Sining sa Nagbabagong Panahon” (our art in changing times).

The mall exhibit was meant to recognize and honor the artists for their support of the festival since its beginning in 2012. The exhibit was also made possible through the support of the municipal government of Pulilan and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Although conducted earlier in the month, the Mandala Art Festival is one of the highlights of the annual Carabao Festival, which runs from May 14 to May 16 and is held in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of the farmers.


The highlight of the Carabao Festival is the procession of about a thousand carabaos from different barangays in Pulilan, other agricultural towns in Bulacan, and from adjacent Pampanga and Nueva Ecija provinces.

The carabaos, whether bare or with a “karosa” (carriage), are taught to kneel at the signal of their farmer-owner upon reaching the facade of the parish of San Isidro Labrador as a gesture of honor and respect.

Layers, oneness

The Pulilan Mandala Art Festival is inspired by the layers and oneness of the rice grains and hays of the mandala, said de Guzman in an interview on Sunday.

It also signifies the call for protection of agricultural areas in Pulilan and the province from road construction, conversion to subdivisions and other major land developments, he added.

Ildefonso Canquin, president of 13 farmers’ irrigation associations in the City of Malolos, and the towns of Bulakan and Plaridel, said by phone on Sunday that mandala in Bulacan are rarely seen these days because of the modern thresher machine that has been in use since 2015.

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“Mandala represents traditional harvesting, [wherein] farmers are the ones harvesting. But these days, combine harvester machines are preferred by the farmers, and it is very seldom now that we use and see mandala,” Canquin told the Inquirer.

TAGS: Mandala Art Festival, Pulilan Carabao Festival

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