Some parts of Rizal that got submerged in flood three weeks ago due to typhoon Ulysses are still covered in mud. If residents of these areas who find the gluey dirt filthy, best friends Banjo Magnaye and Arnold Gonzales, on the other hand, found inspiration from the mud to help typhoon victims.

Aboard a motorcycle, Banjo and Arnold went to Barangay Kasiglaha, Rodriguez, Rizal from their hometown of Lipa City, Batangas to do mud painting for a cause. Banjo, an interior design graduate in Batangas State University, painted two landscapes on a special illustration board using mud they collected from the area. 

For the first drawing, he went to the top of the breakwater at the corner of the barangay and the Marikina river to paint a coved perspective of the devastated village. The second one, done on the riverbanks, can camouflage on the panoramic view of the Marikina river, which overflowed during the storm.    

A mud painting of the village showing the aftermath of the typhoon
The river painting camouflages on Marikina River

They then framed the artworks and coated them with fixative so it would last. Multimedia personality Christine Bersola-Babao was the first one to support their project by acquiring the river painting. The village artwork is now up for bidding to fund their charity drive. 

“It felt so heavy while I was painting because I could still feel the hardships that they went through, which in a way pushed us more to pursue the project,” Banjo says. “After we sell the artworks, we’ll go back there, buy some goods for the relief packs we will give away, and we will also cook some breakfast for the residents.”

According to Banjo, one of the challenges of mud painting is adding more detail to the image, because mud easily spreads after it dries. Producing dark tones is also difficult, which is why he has to thicken the application of the wet soil. This, amazingly, also gave it a finer texture. 

The texture formed by the mud highlights the intricacy of his hand strokes. And the clay’s ochre color created dramatic silhouettes depicting the melancholic emotions of the place. This on-the-spot painting turned out to be such a beautiful piece, good not just as an accent to a wall but also as a story worth sharing.

Banjo Magnaye and Arnold Gonzales in action for a cause

Banjo and Arnold are content producers on YouTube. Their channel TAOBA (The Adventures of Banj and Arn) is about travel and arts. They’ve already gone as far as Baguio and Pangasinan from their hometown just by riding a motorcycle. And one of the highlights of their videos is plein air painting popular scenic landscapes of their destinations.   

In all of their videos, after exploring and painting the countryside’s beauty, they leave one message that paints hope and faith during these challenging times: “Mahirap man ang lakbayin, matatapos din! Why? Because God is with us!”

You can visit their Facebook page to know how you can support their mud painting for a cause.

Source: Manila Bulletin (