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Nueva Ecija wants Taong Putik fest declared pilgrimage destination

June 24, 2015

ALIAGA, Nueva Ecija, Philippines – There were fewer participants compared to last year, but organizers said it was no reason why the “Taong Putik Festival” should not be declared an international pilgrimage destination.

A muddied girl, donning a cape made of dried banana leaves, collects candles before attending a mass to celebrate the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist in the village of Bibiclat, Aliaga town, Nueva Ecija province in northern Philippines, Wednesday, June 24, 2015. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

A muddied girl, donning a cape made of dried banana leaves, collects candles before attending a mass to celebrate the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist in the village of Bibiclat, Aliaga town, Nueva Ecija province in northern Philippines, Wednesday, June 24, 2015. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

The festival in Barangay Bibiclat has been drawing local and foreign tourists and devotees and more people are joining the mass and procession every year, said Mel Malang of the St. John Parish.

Board member Joseph Ortiz said the Guinness World Records should also recognize the festival for having the most number of people who bathe in mud.

Every June 24, the so-called mud people – devotees whose faces and bodies are smeared with mud and covered with dried banana leaves – welcome hundreds of tourists here.

Festival participants said they emulate St. John the Baptist, who appeared in most biblical tales dressed like a beggar.

A three-year-old child was the youngest and a centenarian woman the oldest participant in yesterday’s event.

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Ortiz said the festival has enhanced the town’s image as a tourist spot.

The parish has also been declared a diocesan shrine by the Archdiocese of Cabanatuan because its patron saint is said to be miraculous. 

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