6 Things You Missed at Malasimbo Festival 2016

Blogger Marge Gavan of Coffeehan will make you regret missing the Malasimbo Festival this year.

By Marge Gavan
March 27, 2016

Malasimbo L&D

The Malasimbo Festival is a ground for traditional and contemporary arts and culture highlighted by musical performances. It aims to promote environmental preservation and sustainability. It is called Malasimbo because it is held yearly at the foot of Mt. Malasimbo in Puerto Galera. I almost missed it but by some grace, I was there on its second weekend, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

If you are one of the lucky ones who were there, we both agree for sure that Malasimbo is more than a place or an event—it is an experience. But if you let this annual fair pass by—which, by the way, is already on its 6th year—then allow me to give you an idea of the kind of fun that you missed, and maybe persuade you to experience it yourself next year.

1. It was a 2-weekend event.
In the past years, Malasimbo was held only for one whole weekend. This year, it was scheduled for two: the Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival from March 4 to 6, and the Malasimbo Lights & Dance Festival from March 24 to 26. I was targeting the first weekend because I am an indie alternative music enthusiast. In fact, I had already mapped out a strategy to get close with local band Sinosikat, talk with them, or have a selfie with them at the very least. But things didn’t go exactly the way I envisioned it so I ended up in the second weekend that showcased EDM performers (not that I’m complaining).

2. The lineup of artists was dope.
The first weekend featured the following performers: Tom Thum & Gordon Hamilton with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, The Brat Pack, Brigada, CRWN, Lustbass, Kristian Hernandez, Badkiss, Mark Zero, Gong Myoung, June Marieezy, Golden Sound, Reo Brothers, Jacob Collier, and Miro.

But on my visit, I was able to see the performances of some of these artists: Pav Parrotte, Mikail, Br3aking Silence, Abdel Aziz, Alinep, Emel Rowe, BP Valenzuela, Tribo Manila, Curtismith, Erwin Edralin, Jack Bates, Reo Mendoza, Martin Lugtu, Knoxville, Aki Suda, Samantha Nicole, Rising Soul, Kidthrones, Wolf Squared, Aero x Chrizo, Aries, Timothy Vaughn, Diamond Heights, MC Shureshock, MC Hunger, MC Cardz, Daloy Dance Company x Aliens of Manila, Philippine All-Stars, Planet Zips Luminaries, Goldie, Lapalux, Kentaro, Shortkut, San Soda, Dualist Inquiry, LDP, Similar Objects, Skarm, Kristian Hernandez, 6th Generation, XLII, Masia One, Goth-Trad, Yuto, To-ru, Lady Flic, Sweet Talk, Romi B, Manolet Dario, and Ouissam.

I know the list is long, but how often do you get to see these artists perform in one venue? It was an entire night of great performances from some of the most talented local and foreign music artists.

3. The registration was well-organized.
I was mighty impressed with how systematic the registration was—Step 1: Buy or present your ticket. Step 2: Get the Malasimbo stamp on your wrist. And step 3: Load your bracelet with credits, which was the only thing that you can use to buy drinks, food, and other items sold in the event.

I was amused beyond words with the bracelet, which served as our digital money inside the premises. If you want to buy a beer, grab some grub, or take home some souvenir items, just swipe it on the store’s tablet or mobile phone. It made purchasing easy and a whole lot of fun.

4. There were souvenirs made by the Mangyan people.
According to Malasimbo’s website, one of their four pillars is promoting and sustaining the Mangyan culture. The Mangyan is one of the eight indigenous groups in Mindoro, each with their own identity, language, and traditions. Among the items that they sold during the festival were clothing, homewares, and accessories.

5. The place was adorned with impressive artworks.
Scattered about the amphitheater field were the artworks of some visual artists, and I had fun walking around, checking them out, and marveling at their ingenuity and creativity. I also love how they dressed up the place: the lights pointed toward the coconut trees and changed frequently. It was a visual feast.

6. The “chillax” vibe was very welcome.
More than anything else, the thing I love the most about Malasimbo was the laid-back atmosphere. The crowd was comprised largely of young people, somewhere in their late teens to early 20s. Despite being in my 30s, I didn’t feel like an outsider, which I can only attribute to the relaxed vibe and carefree attitude of the attendees. People came in whatever clothing they were comfortable in: some girls were even in their swimsuits, but nobody seemed to care. People stretched out on the grass, sipped their beers, and were bold in making friends.

I walked around the grassy ground; swiped my bracelet to buy water, booze, and food; talked to some young foreign men who mistook me for someone their age; watched stray dogs playing on the field; took a few minute’s nap on a towel I’ve laid on the ground; and listened to music that played in sync with my heartbeat. I had a really great time in Malasimbo Festival. It was an experience that appealed to the senses and something I won't easily forget.

With so many wonderful things you’ve missed, will I see you there next year?