Malasimbo Festival: Art, Music and Nature at the Mt Malasimbo Outdoor Amphitheater
When in Manila, you get tired of the same old scene. The traffic, the long lines, soaring transportation costs make entertaining oneself in the city almost a chore.
Are you here for Malasimbo?
Imagine you are in a grass-terraced amphitheater flanked by coconut trees and verdant hills 250m above sea level. Above you, the moon is bright in the night sky. In the distance far below the waves gently lap the shore as the tide ebbs and flows.
Yes, you are here for Malasimbo!
Set in the Malasimbo mountain overlooking Puerto Galera Bay in Oriental Mindoro–ranked one of the most beautiful bays in the world, the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival gathers top musicians, artists, and some of the indie-est, hippie-est, music craziest people from Manila and around the world.
The performances were top notch, combined with an excellent sound system which perhaps sounded much better because of the natural amphitheatre. The headliner was Joe Bataan, the king of Latin Soul who is the son of a Filipino father and a African-American mother. He opened his set with a moving account of his father’s dream of returning to his motherland, and how his journey to the Philippines had taken more than half a decade. He was not the only act to fly in. The Kyoto Jazz Massives, DJ Kentaro, Desta, Eureka the Butcher from Mars Volta, were just some of the foreign acts to show up. Radioactive Sago Project, Up Dharma Down, Chillitees, Paul Zialcita, Sinosikat, Jr. Kilat, DJ Badkiss, Brigada were just some of the local talent that made the trip.
To see a complete list of Malasimbo Festival performers, go here.
Aside from musical performances at the Malasimbo Festival, there were workshops held during the day. Yoga, drum and jewelry making, sculpture, crafts, and henna classes were conducted. There was also a Malasimboat, a floating party just off the bay where you’d pay P400 to rock the boat. I agree with the criticism of Anton Diaz that prices were quite steep. The tickets alone cost 1K a night. And for p150 all you’d get is a small bowl of adobo that would hardly sustain you through the early hours of the morning.
There was also an area at the Malasimbo Festival where the various Mangyan tribes indigenous to Mindoro had set up huts. You could learn about their history, culture, and buy their handicrafts as well.
What really made the festival for me was the art. All around the surrounding hills, one would come across something amazing.
(Unless credited otherwise, all photos were taken from the Malasimbo facebook page.)
A Dark Horse. Photo by Anton Diaz (ourawesomeplanet.com)
Installation by Olivia d’Aboville (https://www.oliviadaboville.com/)
Haliya Bathing by Agnes Arellano. Photo by Mariel Ferrer
Outpost. Photo by Anton Diaz (ourawesomeplanet.com)
As I walked up and down the hills enjoying the art (some you could even eat!), I met one of the Filipino artists working on his piece. A 25-year old graduate of the Lewis & Clarke University in Portland, Oregon named Nico Jose. Using just a machete and no adhesives or binding materials, he was weaving together branches he’d picked and chopped up from the surrounding area and intertwining them into these massive 8-10 foot figures. He studied anatomy on his own and the interlocking branches resemble human musculature. He apparently had an opening that weekend in Makati, but opted instead to camp out on the mountain and make art. A studio furniture maker, artist, and environmentalist, his work is absolutely mind blowing.
Woven organic sculpture by Niccolo Jose (niccolojose.com). Photo by Mariel Ferrer.
I just had to climb this thing. Can you spot the dwarf?
Go here for a complete list of visual artists from the Malasimbo Festival.
On its second year, the Malasimbo music and art festival’s website says that the Malasimbo festival “is seen as one of the most important in the Philippines, helping to spearhead the country’s continued advance in music, arts & culture. It blends traditional & contemporary Filipino art & culture with a holistic approach through reforestation & marine preservation.”
The two visionaries behind the festival, Hubert d’ Aboville, president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), and Miro Grgic, the CEO of Volume Unit Entertainment (VUE), have a mission: “To stimulate & inject value into the Philippines entertainment industry and promote the countries finest natural eco tourism resources to both domestic & international tourists as the leaders in the design, production and delivery of original, innovative and unique festivals & creative content.
This will be achieved by providing the necessary platforms & services to successfully integrate the International and Philippine music scenes through increased co-operation & cultural exchange, whilst helping local artists compete on, and have increased access to, international and domestic markets.”
They’re on the right path.
The author felt especially artistic the next morning.
When In Manila, you need to come check out this annual celebration of life, love, art, music and nature! The Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival at the Mt. Malasimbo natural Amphitheater is one that will truly inspire you. Meet new people, hear great music and be one with nature. Only at the Malasimbo Festival!
Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival
Villa Malasimbo, Balatero, Puerto Galera, Mindoro
Malasimbo Festival Official Website: www.MalasimboFestival.com
Malasimbo Festival Facebook: Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival
Malasimbo Festival Twitter: @malasimbofest
Malasimbo Festival Ticket Prices: 3 Day Pass – P2,500, 1 Day Pass – P1,00