Puerto Galera, Mindoro: Art & Music up the mountains

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Story and photos by Lovell Aniag

Travel date: 10 – 13 March 2017
Malasimbo Art and Music Festival

Malasimbo Art and Music Festival is – you guessed it – an annual art and music festival held within the natural amphitheater in Mt. Malasimbo, Puerto Galera.  An amphitheater in the mountains? Hell, yeah!

Now on its seventh year, the festival featured international artists such as Alfredo Rodriguez, Jordan Rakei, Manila – based June Marieezy, and local acts such as Apartel (Ely Buendia’s latest band) and Bras Pas Pas.

Aside from art and music, the annual event aims to promote Mangyan Culture and provides a platform for their livelihood.

There are two stages to choose from: the main stage and the Mangyan Village stage.

Headliners play at the main stage while the Mangyan Village stages talks on eco-tourism, the Mangyan people and up-and-coming musicians. This is also where the “silent disco” takes place. For a fee, you get to choose your music genre, get your own noise-cancelling headphones and dance the night away. It can be pretty funny people-watching here.

The festival also features art installations from local artists and offers handicrafts from the Mangyans that visitors can purchase.

The festival runs for three days, with ticket options for single- and multiple- day passes. The event offers a campsite for those who opt to stay for the entire show.

As for those who choose to stay outside Mt. Malasimbo, there are jeepney pick-up and drop-off points strategically located around Puerto Galera. My group stayed in Sabang, a diving spot about an hour away from the venue.

This is my first time to attend the event. While I find it a bit too “hipster” for my very basic taste (raise your hands, Mariah Carey fans!), I love the fact that they get to feature regional acts on stage. My favorite would have to be Kawangis ng Tribu, an ethno-modern band from Palawan.

With Pag-asa, lead singer of the band Kawangis ng Tribu
The event was well organized, with safety checkpoints manned by both military troops and the police. Each person is frisked thoroughly and each bag checked carefully.

Outside food and drinks are not allowed inside the venue – not even water. This makes the event even more expensive, especially with the very limited and very expensive options for food and drinks within the event grounds (drinks were triple the price). While transportation terminals are also well appointed, waiting time can take a while (the longest time we waited for the jeepney to leave was almost two hours).

Would I go back to next year’s Malasimbo Art and Music Festival? I am not sure. While the objective of the event is noble, the art installations compelling and the music stimulating, the event itself feels a bit too highbrow for me. But as always, the beautiful view and the relaxing vibes of nature always makes up for everything.

To know more about Malasimbo Music and Art Festival, like their Facebook fan page here: https://www.facebook.com/Malasimbofestival/

Ingat and see you on the road!

Know a place I should discover? Or want to travel together? Email me at emaileatpraylovel@gmail.com

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