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Mistula in a signed photo used in Cho² magazine.[1] Clockwise from left: Uno (holding his custom guitar, Cutud), Bella Lugosi, Lobo (holding British Embassy), and Manx Minuet (holding Cebu).
Background information
Origin Philippines
Genres Heavy metal, rock[2]
Years active 2004–present
Website http://mistula.com
Members Uno
Manx Minuet
Bella Lugosi
Past members Dragan

Mistula is the first Filipino virtual band,[2][3] and is composed of four customized ball-jointed dolls. They fuse music, graphic art, literature, photography, and other art forms, built around themes of Catholic imagery and cultural commentary.

The band disseminates information and releases songs as well as other creative projects through their official website,[4] and their online presence is maintained through their regularly updated blogs chronicling the band's virtual lives.[5]

Since its formation, Mistula has received recognition from various music websites, such as PhilMusic.com,[6] the Philippine music source; Rakista.com,[7] the online community of Pinoy rock; and PinoyRadio.com,[8] a New Jersey-based web station. The band has also been featured in magazines such as RockNation[9] and Sense&Style,[2] both Philippine publications; Fashion Doll Quarterly,[10][11] a U.S.-based doll magazine; and German publications, Mangaszene,[12] and Cho².[1] Their official fansite, The Black Rosary,[13] has gained membership from all parts of the globe since the site's launch.

Mistula has garnered international recognition by being the first Filipino band to win a place in the International Play & Rate Competition of the UK-based site, Overplay.[14][15]

In 2007 and 2008, Mistula was featured on Philippine TV programs, such as Lovely Day,[16] Mel and Joey,[3] The Sweet Life, and G-Cube.


Mistula was conceptualized by Joey David and her husband, Rey Tiempo, in 2004.[3] They came up with the idea for the band upon fusing David's ideas for a website devoted to Catholic iconography with Tiempo's ideas for a website for his rock band.[10] "Mistula" is a Filipino term that translates to "in the likeness of", "resembling closely", or "similar to". The name pertains to the virtual aspect of the band. It is also reflective of the veneration of idealized images of Catholic saints which is prevalent in the Philippines.[6]

Baptized and Mulat (2004)[edit]

Mistula was formed with Bella Lugosi, Manx Minuet and Uno on August 30, 2004. On September 2, 2004, their official website was launched,[17] along with their first single, "Mulat".

Their second single, "Baptized", was launched on November 30, 2004, along with a major update in the official website and the addition of a new rhythm guitarist from the UK, Dragan. It was also during this time that Pinoy Radio invited Mistula to have their songs available for listening on the Pinoy Radio website. Their songs "Mulat" and "Baptized" have consistently been in the Pinoy Radio bestseller charts.[18] Mistula also released its first line of merchandise which consisted of band shirts and souvenir items for ball-jointed dolls. The band was recognized by RockBand.com.[19]

The Last Supper, Mulat music video, and Black Rosary (2005)[edit]

On March 27, 2005, Mistula released their third single: The Last Supper; which features both Manx Minuet and Uno on vocals. The Mistula website featured images of the band's custom instruments, created by renowned Filipino guitar maker, Lumanog.[20] The instruments are named after historic Philippine landmarks, such as Cebu[21] and Cutud.[22]

From October 2005 to December 2005, Mistula featured several different updates. Mistula released their first ever music video: Mulat. It was during this time that Black Rosary: the official Mistula fanclub was launched, and it featured exclusive merchandise, such as behind-the-scenes images from the making of Mulat.

Dolorosa and Pista ng Patay (2006)[edit]

On April 16, 2006, Mistula launched their Holy Week presentation entitled Dolorosa. This featured a solo guitar and vocal piece by Manx Minuet entitled "Nuestra Señora Dolorosa" as a farewell to their rhythm guitarist, Dragan, who left the band on February 19, 2006.[23]

Mistula's foray into the graphic novel genre with their piece, "In Likeness Of", earned them a finalist place in the 1st Philippine Graphic Fiction Awards sponsored by Neil Gaiman and Fully Booked.[24]

Mistula released their single called "Pista ng Patay" (Feast Day of the Dead) on November 17, 2006. This song was not made available for download on the official Mistula website, but was released through the website Overplay[25] as "an Overplay exclusive".[26] The official website itself underwent a major update, featuring artwork by Fabo and his Second design crew.[26] "Pista ng Patay" has consistently been on top of the Overplay Overall and Rock Charts since its release.[27][28]

Baptized video and Salamat sa Iyo, Manikako (2007-2009)[edit]

On November 3, 2007, Mistula released their music video for a new version of the song "Baptized" through Channel V's AMP (Asian Music Platform) website.[29]

On April 12, 2009, Mistula released "Salamat sa Iyo, Manikako" ("Thank you, Manikako") as a "gift" to Manikako, a charity project focused on helping less fortunate children hone their creativity through doll-making. The song is a collaboration between the band and the children involved in the Manikako project, and was first performed live at an event on February 23, 2008.[30] The song was also the first track that was made available for download on Overplay.com for a donation of 1 US Dollar. All the proceeds from the song downloads go to funding Manikako's free doll-making workshops.[28]


Apart from Filipino Catholic-culture, the band has stated that their musical influence is mainly heavy metal.[1][11] Some bands they have frequently mentioned as their influences include the heavy metal bands Metallica and Pantera, and early Pinoy rock bands such as Mutiny, and Dahong Palay.[6]

Band members[edit]

Fictional band members[edit]

Mistula's members are four Asian ball-jointed dolls by Volks Inc. from Japan and Cerberus Project from Korea. The dolls' virtual lives and profiles are documented on their official websites.

  • Uno (vocals and bass) - Uno was invited into Mistula by Bella Lugosi, after the latter noted his online following through his blog.[11] Uno works for an advertising agency and is a frequent traveler. He chronicles all of his bandmates' lives through an online journal called Fully Articulated. Uno is a customized Volks Limited Edition Super Dollfie 13 Tsukasa Konoe.
  • Manx Minuet (vocals and guitars/lyricist and composer) - A former pornstar,[31] Manx Minuet joined the band with Uno after receiving an invitation from Bella Lugosi. The song, "Nuestra Señora Dolorosa", is her solo work, made during a bout with depression after Dragan decided to quit the band. Manx Minuet is a Cerberus Project Limited Edition DELF Sweety Lingerie Lishe.
  • Bella Lugosi (drums/lyricist and composer)- Bella Lugosi is the band's founder and leader,[6][32] and was named after the actor Bela Lugosi because of his habit of sleeping all day and writing songs at night.[32] He is a customized Volks Limited Edition Super Dollfie 13 Tsukasa Konoe.
  • Lobo (rhythm guitar) - Lobo arrived as a replacement for former rhythm guitarist, Dragan, on April 4, 2006,[33] but was not recruited into the band until after the Mistula auditions.[34] Lobo left school at a relatively young age, hitting the streets to seek his fortune and earn money to support himself and his younger sister, Veritas. His abuse of a drug that he and his comrades called "Full Moon" has caused severe damage to his memory, and he now sports two personalities: the wild, violent Lobo with the red hair, and the meeker Lobo with dark hair.[35] The wild Lobo is a customized Volks Limited Edition Super Dollfie 13 Shiro Tachibana, while the tame Lobo is a customized Volks Limited Edition Super Dollfie 13 Shiro Tachibana After School Version.
  • Dragan (former rhythm guitarist) - Bella Lugosi recruited Dragan for before the release of "Baptized" to bring British influence to Mistula, and to exploit the advantages of being an Internet-based band.[36] Dragan used the Internet to send his musical contributions to Mistula, until he was compelled to physically join the band during the Mysteries update to shoot a music video for the single, "Mulat". On February 19, 2006, after experiencing the band's tumultuous life, he quit in favor of a more peaceful existence in the UK.[11][23] He continues to correspond with Mistula through the Internet. Dragan is a customized Volks Super Dollfie 13 FCS-28.

Other collaborators[edit]

A group of musicians, artists, writers and web designers referred to as the "Mistula Disciples" also work behind Mistula.[37]

Song Releases[edit]

  • (2004.09.02) Mulat
  • (2004.11.30) Baptized
  • (2005.03.27) The Last Supper
  • (2006.04.16) Nuestra Señora Dolorosa
  • (2006.11.17) Pista ng Patay


  1. ^ a b c "Mistula: Resin Meets Rock". Cho² (in German): 59–63. January–February 2007.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  2. ^ a b c Limos, Nicole (July 2009). "In the likeness of...". Sense&Style. p. 23. 
  3. ^ a b c Joey David, Joey de Leon, Mel Tiangco, Rey Tiempo (2007-09-02). Mel & Joey: Performing Dolls (Television production). Philippines: GMA.  External link in |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Official Band Site of Mistula". Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  5. ^ "Fully Articulated: Uno's Blog". Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Mistula in the Valley of the Dolls". Archived from the original on 2006-09-11. Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  7. ^ "Rakista.com". Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  8. ^ "PinoyRadio.com". Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  9. ^ Acepcion, Karl (2005). "The Mystery that is Mistula". Rock Nation 2 (1): 29–30. 
  10. ^ a b Neumark, Mercy (Autumn 2006). "Mistula Speaks". Fashion Doll Quarterly: 56–61. 
  11. ^ a b c d Neumark, Mercy (Autumn 2006). "Mistula the Band: An Interview". Fashion Doll Quarterly (in German): 62–64. 
  12. ^ "Mistula". MangaSzene (in German) (35): 52–53. Winter 2006.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  13. ^ "Black Rosary - Mistula Official Fan Club". Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  14. ^ "Overplay's Play & Rate Competition". Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  15. ^ "Competition Winners, May to August 2006". Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  16. ^ Love Añover, Bea Binene, Joey David, Yapi Santiago (2007). Lovely Day (Television production). Philippines: GMA. 
  17. ^ "MISTULA at Rakista.com". Archived from the original on October 6, 2007. Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  18. ^ "Pinoy-Radio.com". Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  19. ^ "MISTULA at RockBand.com". Archived from the original on 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  20. ^ "Fully Articulated: The Mistula Disciples: Mang Dading and Lumanog Guitars". Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  21. ^ "Fully Articulated: Manx’s Mistula Custom Guitar: Cebu". Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  22. ^ "Fully Articulated: Uno's Mistula Custom Guitar: Cutud". Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  23. ^ a b "Fully Articulated: Dragan's Final Gig". Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  24. ^ "Mistula's In Likeness Of, Finalist!". Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  25. ^ "MISTULA at Overplay.com". Retrieved 2006-11-24. 
  26. ^ a b "Revelations: Mistula November Update: Pista ng Patay". Retrieved 2006-11-24. 
  27. ^ "Overplay chart". www.overplay.com. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  28. ^ a b "Mistula on Overplay". www.overplay.com. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  29. ^ "MISTULA at AMP". Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  30. ^ "Virtual band, real world collaboration, for a very real cause.". April 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  31. ^ "Fully Articulated: Hail Manx Minuet". Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  32. ^ a b "Fully Articulated: 10 Things I know About Bella Lugosi". Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  33. ^ "Fully Articulated: The Lone (and now quite lost) Wolf". Retrieved 2006-11-24. 
  34. ^ "Fully Articulated: Rock Idol". Retrieved 2006-11-24. 
  35. ^ "Fully Articulated: Truth and Myth: A Secret Diary Entry by Veritas". Retrieved 2006-11-24. 
  36. ^ "Fully Articulated: My Old Chap, Dragan". Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  37. ^ "MISTULA : Revelations » Disciples". Retrieved 2009-08-05. 

External links[edit]