Now on its seventh year, the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival remains true to its primary aim: bringing the freshest local and international music acts, exhibiting a plethora of excellent visual art installations, and embracing the culture at the vicinity of Mount Malasimbo in Oriental Mindoro. People of different nationalities flocked to the three-day festival, boosting Puerto Galera tourism in a flash.
What really sets this music festival apart from others is the venue. From the beautiful white beach of Puerto Galera, you have to go up the mountain and pass through the Ponderosa Golf Course before reaching the magnificent Malasimbo grass terrace amphitheater. Thus, it has become one of the most sought-after destinations not just for music junkies who like a wide range of genres, but for leisure travelers and trek lovers too. One will surely forget the hustle and bustle of the Metro once you're there.
A taste of art, culture, and Dabo-Dobo
In addition, the festival also highlights the culture of indigenous Mangyan people with several workshops about their practices.
We got an intimate perspective of the villages of the Mangyan people.
We also had the chance to learn the Hanunuo Mangyan alphabet.
Here are some children from Mangyan School performing a harvest dance ritual in the afternoon.
Art installations like these dandelions made from plastic bottles courtesy of Olivia d'Aboville made another appearance this year. Other visual artists like Agnes Arellano, Leeroy New, and Russ Ligtas lit up the venue with their creations.
We had a sumptuous encounter with Dabo-Dobo, the famous adobo dish prepared and sold by the natives during the music festival.
At night, there was a silent disco at the Mangyan Village. Festival-goers enjoyed partying while wearing headsets and choosing music from three featured DJs.
A diverse music celebration
Once again, Malasimbo co-founder and festival director Miro Grgic succeeded in bringing dozens of artists from the hip-hop, electronic, jazz, soul, funk, and world music scene. He hailed this year's festival as the best sounding to date.
Headlining the first day of the festival at the main stage was Afro-Cuban jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and his band, the Alfredo Rodriguez trio. Led by Pinoy rock icon Ely Buendia, Apartel also electrified the night and effortlessly made people groove to their songs like “Is It Hip?”, “Better Off”, and “Sala Sa Init”.
The second night of the festival drew the biggest crowd this year. The diverse lineup of local and international musicians drove everyone wild.
Singindia let everyone experience Indian World Music, local jazz and funk group Brass Pas Pas Pas Pas spread good vibes with Kat Agarrado with songs like “Chili Garlic Buttered Shrimp” and “YONIP”, and Jeck Pilpil & Peacepipe put on a mesmerizing reggae show.
New Zealand-born, London-based artist Jordan Rakei topbilled the second night with his smooth soul jazz jams. He definitely gained new followers after his adorably crafty set which was quickly followed by Lefto.
During the last day, we got the chance to chat with Miro who was happy because the audience was so receptive to the performances and the weather was just fine during the whole weekend.
"I guess most people don’t get to experience sort of an entertainment of this scale and pristine nature like this, so I guess it’s the main thing," he added.
The moon shined so bright on our third night at the festival. We witnessed indie electronic artist Asch and Similar Objects give a dose of fun beats. It became a warm up for the blast of hip-hop goodness from Skarm. Later in his set, he called Curtismith onstage and delivered nasty flows together.
Adding a "soul feel" to that very engrossing hip-hop vibe was RH Xanders who quickly performed after Skarm.
Filipino-American Soul/R&B singer June Marieezy had a stupefying performance that night which featured a unique stage lighting scheme. She also made a controversial announcement, saying that it is her last show as June Marieezy. “I’m not dying guys, just evolving”, she uttered to the crowd. She also hinted that she has lots of new stuff to offer in the future.
Canadian electronic brother-sister act Tennyson gave an impressive show. It consists of 20-year old Luke Tennyson, who does electronic beat production and keyboards, and his 18-year old sister Tess Pretty on drums.
Almost everyone at the amphitheater yelled for more, so the two obliged by playing songs that they did not rehearse for the night. Thrilled after hearing the loud chants, they pulled off their spontaneous set well too.
The amazing musical experience that this year’s Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival offered everyone is truly one for the books. It has become a stage for fresh homegrown talents and up-and-coming international acts.
It's also one of the most relaxing and stress-free festivals. The adventure of escaping the city life, traveling by land and sea, and embracing culture provided a much-needed sabbatical.
Of course, these are all fruits of the pure passion of the d’Aboville Foundation who organized the event. We can't wait of what it has to offer next year.
More #Malasimbo2017 photos HERE!
Have you experienced the Malasimbo festival? Tell us in the comments!