The climb up and down Mount Malasimbo was a real struggle—think panting breaths and aching legs—but that didn’t seem relevant once we got a glimpse of the amphitheatre: neon colored palm trees, art installations that peppered the walkway, and the faint but apparent sound of the bands or DJ performing below.
Three days weren’t enough to even wrap our heads around it, so we listed down the five things we went through, #feelings and all.
1. Dressing up for the beach and the mountains worked out our fashion muscles.
Kookie Buhain paired her swimwear with batik-print pants.
The result of the slight struggle of dressing up for the beach to the mountains and vice versa was actually cute—bikinis layered with chunky knits, pajama pants with cropped tops, fringe kimonos with rompers, and so on. It was basically striking a balance between hot and cold, but we must admit packing for this trip was slightly harder than packing for the usual beach trip, not that it was ever easy.
2. Malasimbo was not just a festival for music and arts, but food, too.
Malasimbo's famous (and addicting) Dabo-Dobo (by Jacque de Borja)
We can’t even count how many bowls of Dabo-Dobo, Malasimbo’s special adobo, we consumed or how many Kesong Puti Paninis (we even brought some home!) we had in between. Besides, we burned all the calories when we danced and jumped like cray. Some of the favorites and food trip highlights were the bibingka, the buko bar that kept us hydrated, and the underdog dessert that was the Coconut Cake. Oh wait, we’re still craving for adobo right now. Like now.
3. Instagram-worthy art installations.
Blending into "Everywhere There You Are" by Wawi Navarroza and Ling Quisumbing Ramiloat. #Malasimbo2015 #OOTD (@previewthestylebible)
Have you seen @previewthestylebible’s post with the bright orange fringe background? That’s one of the many picture-worthy installations we spotted in Mount Malasimbo. One of our ultimate favorites would have to be Olivia d’Aboville’s Dandelions which lined the whole walkway, it was too darn pretty to ignore. Other artists that displayed their work were Leeroy New, Wawi Navarroza, Niccolo Jose, Agnes Arellano, and so many more. Our Instagram feeds got a little more interesting! Do you want to check it out? Just browse through the #Malasimbo2015 hashtag. You're welcome!
4. Getting to know Mother Nature and the island that is Mindoro.
Malasimbo Amphitheatre (official photo from Malasimbo)
Puerto Galera is known for its beaches and diving spots, but ever since the Malasimbo Arts & Music Festival started we’ve been seeing a different side like the lush greeneries and the never ending clumps of coconut trees (as far as your eyes can see, really!). It really does make us appreciate what we don’t normally see in the city. At least now we can get close to nature without signing up for mountain climbing, not that we have anything against it.
5. The blend of local and foreign music acts was the bomb diggity.
Tom Thum in action.
Tom Thum and his amazing beat boxing skills. Yes, can we just put it out there? The artist hailing from Brisbane, Australia was the first night’s highlight. We couldn’t help but be in awe as he churned out the most amazing sounds with just his mouth.
We danced the rasta night away with Ky Mani-Marley.
Brigada and Ky-Mani Marley got the whole crowd dancing on the second night. We kid you not, those percussions and of course, Bob Marley’s son were two things we couldn’t ignore. And on the final night, we totally looked forward to FKJ featuring a local artist, June Marieezy. A totally nice surprise was the collaboration between Taylor McFerrin and Tom Thum as well as Noli Aurelio's covers of tunes from different films (Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, and a bunch more that made us gush!) It was just an explosion of great music and we couldn’t ask for more. Well, maybe longer sets per artist. Teehee.
So if you’re asking us if it's worth the bangka ride all the way to Puerto Galera, then we say yes! In fact, we'll be back again this weekend to #PartyUpintheMountains at the Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival a.k.a. the EDM-flavored round 2 of the summer event. Don’t miss out and join this weekend's big dance party starting tonight! Just a word of warning, bring extra cash with you as the jeep ride (it will take forever for you to hike!) and the food may cost a little bit more than expected. Hint: P300 per ride? Ya know it!
Meanwhile, click on the photo gallery to check out what we’ve been gushing about.
Photos by Artu Nepomuceno