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March 18, 2017

A MALASIMBO Adventure! @MalasimboFest (2017 Photo Essay)

March 18, 2017

A MALASIMBO Adventure! @MalasimboFest (2017 Photo Essay)





by Paola Nazario

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

The Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival, one of the pioneering music fests in the Philippines, has been running successfully for 7 years. Malasimbo’s success lies in its unique venue that boasts a scenic view of the Puerto Galera beach and a natural amphitheater that is perfect for chilling and enjoying good music.

 

MALASIMBO MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL
Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Email: info@malasimbofestival.com / ltparpan@gmail.com
Website: www.malasimbofestival.com
Facebook: Malasimbofestival
Instagram: @malasimbofestival





Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

The trip to Malasimbo involves traveling which makes it more exciting than regular concerts in Manila. If you don’t own a car, you can take a bus from any of the stations in Metro Manila going to the Batangas Port—just a three-hour trip you can easily sleep through.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

The real adventure starts with a boat-ride to Puerto Galera. While some take the ferry from the Batangas Port, others choose the boats available at the nearby Berberabe Beach.

The boat-ride, which can be a little wavy at times, passes through waters connected to the Verde Island passage, home to 60 percent of the world's shoreline fishes.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Upon arriving in Puerto Galera, you can easily take a tricycle or jeepney to your lodging. It is easier to get a tricycle though because of it's the primary mode of transportation in the area.

Tip: The best seat in the tricycle is the "back-ride"; where you can have a good view of the place and the unique Filipino smile waiting for you around town.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Resorts and hotels are not a problem in Puerto Galera as lodging options go as far as the beach stretches. You can also choose accommodation located a little farther from the beach if your version of chilling is peace and quiet away from the crowd.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

The Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival takes its name from the mountain where it stands. It means going to the venue involves a little uphill ride on a jeepney available around the area.

The jeepney is strong enough to carry around 15 people along the mountain’s steep slope. It is a little bit tricky but the drivers of Puerto Galera make it look cool and easy.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Stop right there! Before you get into full party mode, here are a few reminders to festival attendees at the entrance of Villa Malasimbo.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Luke Tennyson, one-half of the Canadian electronic jazz duo Tennyson, plays the keyboards in full passion at the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival. Tennyson is this year’s main act, delivering one of the most unforgettable performances of the three-night music fest.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

The other half of the duo is Luke’s younger sister, Tess Pretty, who makes skillful drum-playing look like child’s play.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

One of Malasimbo 2017’s best acts is Jordan Rakei who played smooth soul music that suited the cool breezy weather surrounding Mt. Malasimbo. In a perfect display of symmetry with nature, people swayed with coconut trees as the Brisbane singer sang the blues away from everybody that night.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

After the bands, it’s time to party! And boy did DJ LeFtO threw one down for Malasimbo’s late-night stayers.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Filipino soul band Apartel got the crowd grooving on Malasimbo’s first night playing singles from their new album like “Is It Hip?” The band frontman Ely Buendia put on a show as expected. But the real revelation of the night was keyboardist RJ Pineda who now shares vocal duties with Buendia.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Just as the second night of the festival was getting deeper, the vibe in the area was just getting funkier as local act Brass Pas Pas Pas Pas took the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival to a groovy high.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

It’s not just music, art installations are all over Villa Malasimbo. Among the most stunning and photogenic of the artworks there is Olivia D’aboville’s “Giant Dandelions” which is made up of recycled plastic bottles.

These glowing Dandelions have been exhibited in different parts of the world, as well in the past Malasimbo festivals, but their beauty never gets old.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

A group of mandalas of unique designs forms a letter “M” in native Mangyan writing system called “Surat Mangyan.”

These mandalas made by artist Hohana were also featured in Thailand's Wonderfruit festival, but in a different form. Honaha said they vary the formation of the mandalas, depending on the place where it will be exhibited.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

The Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival has been a mecca to music pilgrims from around the world. 

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

It does not matter if you are in a dancing mood or you just want to bum around and enjoy the cool air and good music because in Malasimbo the most important thing is spreading the good vibes.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

It is also a place where ordinary music lovers, celebrities and socialites like Tessa Prieto-Valdes meet in the pursuit of good vibes, good music and love for the environment.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Malasimbo is also a place for kids where they can run freely on its wide grassy area.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

A father-and-child moment captured in photo as the crowd enjoys a funky performance by Filipino band Brass Pas Pas Pas Pas at the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

One of Malasimbo’s main highlights this year is the Silent Disco, which could look odd from the outside but cool when you are in it. Upon entry to the Silent Disco, you will be given wireless headphones connected to three DJ’s playing simultaneously.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

One of Malasimbo’s main highlights this year is the Silent Disco, which could look odd from the outside but cool when you are in it. Upon entry to the Silent Disco, you will be given wireless headphones connected to three DJ’s playing simultaneously.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Partying can get you real hungry. But worry not because food stalls like this one are just waiting for you at a corner of Villa Malasimbo. “Parà!” both means “stop” and “for” in Filipino, which means this food stall is the stop for your sandwich cravings.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Not into sandwiches? Try crepes!

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Fresh buko (coconut) juice are also available to suit the tropical refreshment needs. Coconut has never been a problem in this paradise as trees are all over town.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

It’s not just local and foreign acts that get the spotlight in Malasimbo, Mindoro’s indigenous group also get to showcase what they got. On the third day of the festival, the Hanunoo tribe of the Mangyans performed one of their cultural dances to a crowd of different nationalities.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

On the sidelines of the music fest, we also got the chance to learn from Mangyans as the Hanunoo tribe taught us how to write in “Surat Mangyan,” their native writing system. “Surat Mangyan” is a unique variation of the ancient Filipino writing system called “Baybayin.”

Hubert d'Aboville of the D'Aboville Foundation also took the chance to introduce us the wonder of nature that is Mindoro, where a lot of endemic and rare animals, such as the Tamaraw, are located. The Malasimbo talks took place at a hut called “Mangyan School” which was built just a week before the festival began.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

The Iraya Mangyan tribe also had hut where they can stay and teach their culture at the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival.

 

Malasimbo
(Photo Credit: Paola Nazario of PNaz Photography Studio)

Recommendation: Going to Malasimbo can feel a little similar to backpacking. I recommend this to art, music and nature lovers who doesn't mind giving a little effort on traveling.

 

MALASIMBO MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL
Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Email: info@malasimbofestival.com / ltparpan@gmail.com
Website: www.malasimbofestival.com
Facebook: Malasimbofestival
Instagram: @malasimbofestival

 

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Disclosure: We were media guests of Malasimbo Festival. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. 

P.S Malasimbo audience differs on its take on this year's event. Some felt safe with PDEA agents around. Others, felt a little odd. The creators of the event expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the government for helping with the festival- during the media interview.




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