How ‘Malasimbo’ 2016 Transformed My Definition of a Party

Attending the 3-day Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival last March 24 to 26, 2016 was all kinds of firsts for me. It was my first time in Mindoro, first time in Puerto Galera, and first time to attend a “festival” of that kind – and a multi-day one at that.

Despite reading and writing (and hearing accounts) about the festival, I went to Mount Malasimbo honestly not knowing what to expect. I did not expect the venue – the grassy Amphitheater – to be so impressive nor did I anticipate witnessing a Mangyan working magic on nito and ratan right there and then.

Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival 2016One of the members of the indigenous Mangyan tribe painstakingly hand-crafting nito and ratan at the Mangyan Village

I was never a party-goer to boot. There was a handful of times I’d experienced going to clubs and discos, but while it was something I somehow enjoyed, I never thoroughly immersed myself in the party scene. I’m not up-to-date with the hottest DJs. club music and hip-hop wasn’t really my thing. So, during the first night of the Lights and Dance Festival, I was skeptical of the entire arrangement.

My first impression: it was elitist.

Many, including me, would say that the tickets were not cheap; the food and drinks even more not so. We had no choice but to purchase from the bars and snack stands in the venue because outside food and drinks were not allowed. In all fairness, the food options were great. The Kesong Puti Panini and the Dabo Dobo were both a crowd favorite (yes, even mine). Yet, even with great performances by Timothy Vaughn and Skarm, and a feel of “Silent Disco,” I remained unconvinced.

Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival 2016

Timothy Vaughn performing at the Mangyan Village during the first night of the festival

Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival 2016

In the Mangyan Village while a Silent Disco, where participants wear headphones, were taking place

It was around 9:30 PM when I started to have a change of heart.

Abra of FlipTop fame took the main stage as one-third of Lyrically Deranged Poets (LDP). During their performance, I sat on the ground in awe of their rapid fire, but curiously still comprehensible tongue-twister rhymes. I couldn’t help nodding my head to the rhythm of accompanying DJ Spinz‘s beats. I felt compelled to enthusiastically cheer with the crowd while LDP spewed hip-hop poetry. I never really liked rap music, but that performance instilled in me an appreciation for the genre.

Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival 2016

Abra while spewing rapid-fire hip-hop poetry

Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival 2016

The crowd (including me) intently watching and listening to LDP’s performance

Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival 2016

The rest of LDP changing how I view rap music

I was a little less incredulous after that. I became more into it, wholly enjoying the world-class dance set of Philippine All Stars. I was already busting some moves during Lady Flic‘s and Dualist Inquiry‘s set.

Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival 2016

A sizzling number by the male members of Philippine All Stars

Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival 2016

Philippine All Stars are no doubt total performers, from the suave moves to the impeccable facial expressions

Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival 2016

Lady Flic is one of the three female artists to perform, the other two being DJ Samantha Nicole and MC Masia One

Read about the second night on the next page!