The Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival, What to Bring, Discovering Artworks and Low Leaf Music in Puerto Galera, Mindoro!

A girl who loves music and travel can have her wish come true, right? Read about how I've dreamed of attending this for 3 years and how I got to Puerto Galera on my previous post! Hehe. I couldn't believe there's such a place in the Philippines like the Malasimbo Festival event grounds! Haha. It's located in the highlands (Mt. Malasimbo) and reachable via a jeepney ride. Well, my jaw dropped and I finally understood that this yearly Malasimbo thing in Puerto Galera is an arts and music fest close (and in a location known for going) to the beach (they might have yacht parties on the main days). There's a full-blown stage, an ampitheater (carved and somewhat like the rice terraces hehe), musicians and mind-boggling outdoor art installations. The wind was blowing strong (thicker jacket recommended) but the music was all that mattered. I found the music of L.A.-based Low Leaf in Malasimbo and I will not ever forget this experience anytime soon...

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We walked from the White Beach Hotel to the main road (around 15 minutes at my pace...) Some company, jacket with hood, money, camera, rubber shoes, waterproof picnic mat (ground was a bit wet), blankets, insect repellant and flashlights would be a nice idea. The tricycle drivers told us that they can get us up there but we chose to take the official Malasimbo Festival jeepney shuttle for P200 (round-trip, around 15-20 minutes ride). We found it expensive at first but after experiencing the zigzags and uphill drive with the organized drop-off and back, we thought it was fair. The tricycles would have a hard time going up (not sure if they're even allowed all the way up to the parking lot) and you'd probably ride the shuttle down. The only caveat though for the shuttle was not to lose your ticket coz you still need it to go back.

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There's a short walk down to the registration and ticket booth. It was a bit dark and I hope they install more lights down that inclined dirt road. We got our passes from the media section. There's a section for those who bought their tickets online and a ticketing booth for walk-ins. There are multiple day passes (this year's Malasimbo was from a Thursday to a Monday, the main and most expensive days are Saturday and Sunday) and online tickets. The earlier you buy online, the cheaper. 

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Once they tie this magnetic ticket to your arm tight, you have to cut it to take it off. You have to load it (serves as money) if you want to buy food and drinks inside (there are loading stations inside also). They had a sponsor bank so there was an ATM machine outside.

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Once inside, there's a bit of a long path down (made me think that going up would be a bit of a struggle if you're inebriated...good exercise though). I was wondering why I couldn't hear the music yet then there it was! I just wanted to run down when I saw the lights (of course, the wind was there and I could easily tumble down)! Haha. There was this bonfire place ;) The music became louder as we walked further down.

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This is the view from the top (near the bonfire).

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Tall and aligned coconut trees, the stage, the venue, the artworks... I was still in the Philippines (so much potential... reminded me a bit of Jack's Ridge in Davao)!

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There are around 3 of these drink bars (you can eat and drink up before you get here) then there are food concessionnaires selling lechon, balut, other Pinoy food, softdrinks and fresh buko (P50). I tried a panini with kesong puti (less than P100). The bathrooms were well-maintained and at the top.

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There's a part with an introduction to the  local Mangyan tribe of Mindoro.

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You get to meet some of them and you can see some of the items they weaved.

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I did a circle and toured more of the place. Good thing I was wearing my Skechers Go Walk (walking shoes). Haha.

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It's easy to go down but a little harder to go up and up close to the art installations on the side (says a person who barely gets exercise haha). What do you think of the masks below? Freaky or not?

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I loved these plastic bottles made into giant wishing feather things (dandelions...) haha. Next wish: Guimaras Festival. and unlimited mango-eating LOL.

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You know I could actually not go down anymore and stay up here but I didn't want to intrude their moment... Hehe.

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Some of the artworks there make you think, man... Interpret it all you want.

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This was probably my favorite :)

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This one also :)

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Then we went to the food stand section with the tables (standing) and I looked up. Good thing they were smart and collected all the coconuts to sell (not all though but safe for the main grounds with people). I wouldn't want any falling on my head haha. I loved the changing lights too. You can do multi-colored coconut tree - gazing if the stars aren't enough ;) Puerto Galera was really an awesome experience - it's dark enough at the beach to see a while new world up there...

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A change in music genre suddenly caught my attention. It was a soothing sound, almost meditation-like and very spiritual with a sweet encouraging voice. I found the musician Low Leaf in Malasimbo... It was both our first times there and I felt so lucky... LOL.

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I got myself a spot on the ground with the people and laid out my blanket. Some people were dancing to their hearts content in front. I just had a chillax moment. I was on a high - kinda like a trance and I wanted more. I swear it looked like a scene from the hippie era. Haha. This kind of music can only come from pure love.

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I was seduced by the melodies from the piano, electric guitar and Low Leaf's voice... Somehow, everything just clicked together. She writes songs, raps and play the harp too.

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Here's a sample (just uploading...) ;) I found her version of Bahay Kubo refreshing and cute hehe. She's part Filipina and she's continuously rediscovering her roots. She's still in the country now and will be playing over at Arts in the City (first time I heard about this place, may be worth visiting also hihi) at BGC this April 13! 



I was in the zone - Happy. Connected. In the Moment. One word - Paradise. 



Ah, I was glad I came Friday for the Malasimbo this year to prep myself for the coming years hehe. It's just the right amount of crazy, people and music (drinking is just optional) hihi. The only thing I didn't like were the people smoking anywhere at the venue while the wind was blowing it to my face... The overnight Puerto Galera thing was uber worth it! I actually didn't sleep anymore due to our 5 a.m. boat ride! On to the next stop ASAP - Quezon! Watch out for my next post :D

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