Malasimbo 2014: A fusion of music, arts, nature and heartbeats

The Malasimbo 2014 stage set right in the middle of the forest of Mount Malasimbo.

When someone says "Puerto Galera", one would automatically think, beach! 

I've been there a couple of times what with the island so close to the city.  But during the first week of March, my friends and I went there for somethings else besides the sun, sand, and the sea.

We came for the Malasimbo experience.

"The Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival is the first international music and arts festival of its calibre in the Asia-Pacific. It is set amidst the tropical gardens of Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines; truly one of the world’s most enchanting backdrops for a festival. The festival grounds is situated on the foothills of the majestic Mount Malasimbo where its most prominent feature is a grass-terraced amphitheatre that overlooks the bay, renowned as one of “The Most Beautiful Bays in the World”....
The festival is produced annually by a group of individuals who are passionate about music, arts, nature and the Filipino heritage. Adventure, environment, and eco-cultural tourism are its cornerstones. "  (Read more here.)

It was my first time to attend a music festival.  Let alone a music and arts festival.  And the experience was spellbinding, to say the least.

I wish I'm as good a writer as my friend PJ (Read his review of the festival here.) but I'm afraid my limited vocabulary isn't enough to describe everything.

So I'll just take you through the Malasimbo experience as captured by my lens.

The registration area.
Monster Mushrooms.  One of the many art installations around the festival grounds.
"Presence" by Gus Albor.  But in our language, "The perfect way to take selfies" hahaha.
(L) "Don't feed the natives" by Russ Ligtas.  After the his "wrappings" were complete, the artist was then buried up to his neck and stayed there for about six hours; (R) The Malasimbo wristband.  No cash transactions were made inside the festival grounds. There was just one area where you can buy and load credits for your wrist band which you can later on use to buy food and drinks.
Colorful masks.  I want them for my room!
(L) No more bad dreams.  I doubt nightmares can get through this huge dream catcher; (R) Yogis!
Pomelo Bar.  One of the bars within the festival grounds.  They made sure nobody gets "thirsty" ;)
After ogling at the art installations, we finally chose a spot and listened to the various acts for the day.  (View the complete list of performers for the Malasimbo 2014 here.)

Early birds.
DJ Complex of Heavy Boogie.
The Melotonins.  Brisbane-based vocal harmony trio.
As night fell, we became more excited as the art installations transformed from colorful to creepy and Jose Gonzalez's performance drew closer.  (The two boys in our group were bigger fans but their excitement was infectious!)

"We come in peace..."

From colorful to creepy.  No. I don't want them in my room when they're like that haha.
Surprise performance.  Elementary and high school students from the town of Baco gave the audience a glimpse of the local culture.

After that, we were were entertained by the music of Mishka Adams.

Mishka Adams.

After which, came the most awaited artist of the night:  Jose Gonzalez.

Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez.

I was only familiar with around two of the tracks he sang that night but I couldn't help but be caught in the rhythm of hums and sighs from the audience.  It was as though the festival grounds were pulsating with heartbeats.

Which was fitting because for his encore, Jose Gonzalez sang one of his most popular songs, his cover of "Heartbeats" by The Knife.

Jose Gonzalez thanking the crowd.
The experience was so surreal that the next day, we were all still on a high and kept raving about the night.

But I think, while the whole festival was a perfect fusion of music, arts, and nature, what made it more memorable is the company I experienced it with :)


  1. "Turns out not where but who you're with that really matters."
    - Dave Matthews

    Thanks for being part of my first Malasimbo experience. Looking forward to our next one.

  2. wow, the visuals alone are impressive!
    i'm beginning to wonder if you're ever

  3. Looks like a wonderful event and you have captured its beauty very well - thanks for sharing and for spreading the word about your beautiful country.

  4. simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! i am in love with the monster mushrooms, wow again+thanks for this culture-art tour, happy new week+tons of hugs from tulipland! sorry I was a bit absent but it was kind of crazy here with visitors+rest;-)


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