Malasimbo Magic – Manila Bulletin

Arts, music, and booze… it’s a party in the jungle






On its ninth year, the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival took its festivities from the mountains down to the forest near the shores. Situated in the middle of the Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, the White Beach of Puerto Galera and its nearby greeneries provided the perfect venue for this year’s event that was no short of good music, quirky installations, and booze to share with friends and new acquaintances.


Hiraya Mantra by Agnes Arellano



All-time favorite summer destinations, Puerto Galera is a place with chill, party, and adventure written all over. From its picturesque scenes, lovely locals, and its cream sand, Puerto Galera is a kind of therapy the city cannot provide.

Walk along the shores and you’ll find a line of grilled seafood delights, colorful stores of tie-dye fashion, and a plethora of water games and sports equipment to try and enjoy. It was fun and idyllic, but as soon as the night fell, the cemented runway of the seaside turned into a platform for acoustic performances, drag shows, and fire dance performances setting the mood for the festivities as the darker hours arrived.


Coffee Break Island onstage


Everything had the right tone for the first day of the festival. You can hear the symphony of the percussion as you walked into the woods, following it by the ears until you get into the place that was filled with local arts, indie tunes, and crafted concoctions, ensuring a good time that will last until the late of night.

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The sun was in its sweetest light and, with the mild breeze brushing through the woods, it made for a perfect set-up for the early live acts of the afternoon. Serenading the festival guests were artists and bands Ena Mori, Coeli, and The Ringmaster with soulful music making you long for that hammock with every pluck of the strings and sound of their heartfelt.

And as the sun went down, spirits started to rise. Mats were laid on the ground, as groups of people swayed and jammed to the music from bands Munimuni, LensesThe Blue Rats, and Coffee Break Island who all hyped the night with music performances the festival goers raised and clapped their hands for.

Happening alongside the live acts was the DJ stage complete with a disco ball where everyone could get loose with the flickering lights. One of the unique musical magic brought by Malasimbo was the silent disco. The handy neon-lit headsets provided portable party tunes wherever you went. Ringing the ears with EDM beats, funky music, serene compositions, and OPM mashups— name it and you’ll hear it. With every bobbing head, the fluorescent headsets created fun laser light effect in the dark surroundings making you want to dive into the soundless crowd.


Bell-like tree adornment




It was nirvana for Instagram savvy people. Everywhere you look and your eyes were filled with neon and psychedelic art installations. Malasimbo featured the works of artists Olivia D’Aboville, Leeroy New, Agnes Arellano, Hohana, and Denis Lagdameo. Made from earth-friendly materials like water bottles and reclaimed woods were a whimsical human-size glowing dandelion, blown up lanterns of odd silhouettes, and a tavern of extraterrestrial goodness. On the ground were creative placements of painted mannequins ranging of different sizes. It also featured a statue of a pregnant woman buried halfway to the soil, depicting the birth of the universe.

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The festivities continued the next day. But aside from the music, people attending the festival were also treated with good food and drinks. Malasimbo Delights and Bar showcased a delectable array of food to nibble on. From foreign tastes of kebabs, shawarmas, and dumplings to the local favorites such as D’abodobo and kesong puti served in a coconut shell by Ara D’Aboville, the gastronomical experience at Malasimbo mirrored their music offering that is a fusion of the best of the local and foreign indie music scene.


 Locally juice truck

Locally, a beverage partner of the festival featured the best of Filipino flavors—calamansi, pomelo, and tamarind—in canned juice. Another of the festival favorite was the crafted liquor of Selvarey Rum that are based on the Pinoy favorites, ube, and coco, which stood out in the sea of vodka shots and beer given by Joe’s Brew.



Hohana’s handcrafts




One of the most awaited performances of the second night of Malasimbo was the indie band IV of Spades, with a sudden sea of the phone lights up in the air trying to capture every moment with the band. Toward the end of their set, they welcomed a man named Topher onstage. Because Malasimbo Magic never runs out, the guy went down on his knees and proposed. The applause signaled the sweetest yes the guy will ever get in his life. The band, together with the audience, sang their hit song, “Mundo.” To end their performance with a bang, “Hey Barbara” provided an energetic performance leaving everyone wanting for more. Festival-goers partied through the night until the sunrise through the rocking beats of Anomalies, Ruby Ibarra, and Danny Kravits. It was an unforgettable weekend for everyone. Malasimbo kicked-off the summer season on a high, and we can’t wait for next year’s party.

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