The Malasimbo Arts and Music Festival

I didn't want to skip this experience even though the Malasimbo happened last February. I have been wanting to go to this festival three years ago, but I never found the time to do so. When the weekend was finally coming up, I spontaneously got on a boat to Puerto Galera along with two friends who were as restless as I am. That night, I witnessed one of the most beautiful festivals I have been to.

First, the Malasimbo Festival is not for everyone. The music here is what you call, indie. Though I hate that term, it's just easier to call it that way. There was a mix of jazz, drum and bass, electronic and world music. Even I didn't know most of the artists playing. I was only familiar with Similar Objects and the Robert Glasper Experiment. I knew Mishka Adams as well, but I didn't catch her set.

So I won't be a musical expert here, as much as I want to be. I will just be sharing an experience that I think everyone from the Philippines should put on their bucket list.

Let's begin with the location. Malasimbo is actually a hill or a mountain in Puerto Galera, around 20 minutes drive from White Beach. Malasimbo offered shuttle services from White Beach, where most of the festival goers stayed.

The location is Malasimbo's best feature. Imagine a wonderland of arts and music, sprawling over a cascading landscape. It was actually cold that evening, so that added more drama to the atmosphere.

There was art everywhere. And it inspired. The pieces were brilliant and made to illuminate the spirit of Malasimbo. It actually really felt like stepping into a museum under the stars.

We didn't stop to explore the installations when we got in, since we were already excited to immerse in the music. And of course, the food.

And surprisingly, the blockbuster dish was a hot pandesal filled with kesong putt and olive oil. It was a hippie's dream meal I may say. Soft, succulent and simple.

We added some pasta to our meal and hordes drinks as we found a spot amongst the lively crowd. I noticed there were a lot of Filipinos, mostly from Manila. Malasimbo is known to attract mostly a foreign crowd, so seeing more locals was a good sign of the festival's increasing popularity.

After 4 hours of eating, drinking and grooving, we decided to leave this dreamland. It was actually getting too cold for us and the music was already getting repetitive. It was 1AM anyway.

I can summarize Malasimbo in one word: otherworldly. It was one of the most unique festivals I have been to. It really felt very different front he electronic dance festivals that I am accustomed to. With all the art scattered yet beautifully laid out, the slopes of Malasimbo was brought to life. And for that weekend, it was full of vigor and allure. See you next year.


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