From the Island to the Rainforest: The Malasimbo Magic Lies Within

The Malasimbo Magic was taken to a whole new level this year with its growing community and more diverse lineup! Ending February and welcoming March with music, art, munchies, and booze under the shade of trees is one of the craziest rides. Upon entering La Mesa Ecopark, people claimed their wristbands and walked in excitement towards the stage where the lights were swaying. Thousands gathered not only to celebrate but to express their love for nature—that’s what Malasimbo is all about anyway! Some decided to chill and lounge on picnic blankets, while others danced and sang the night away at the pit. Families, groups of friends, and even cute pets were in attendance at the grassy amphitheater to witness what the Malasimbo Festival had in store for everyone. Local and international artists serenaded nature with funky and jazz tunes uniting the crowd. Different unearthing activities were happening all at once that would persuade you to check out and try everything. 

Malasimbo Festival was usually held in Puerto Galera, who would have thought that it could be brought to one of the country’s biggest ecoparks? Let’s have a glimpse of what happened during this two-day festival of discovery, music exploration, art inspirations, and inner-self connections!

The Malasimbo experience in a city 

For the very first time, the Malasimbo Festival was relocated to the La Mesa Ecopark. The majority were first-time goers as well. Of course, you wouldn’t miss the chance to become a part of this festival now that it’s closer to nature and more accessible to the people. For the regular Malasimbo attendees, it was fresh for them since their experience was usually surrounded by mountains, white sand, and clear waters. The community was amazed to see the festival encompassed by tall trees and grasses in the open-air and large area, something they didn’t anticipate. Bright-colored lights, projection mappings, and installed visual art forms beautified the place. 

Sustainable and locally-made products such as earrings, pins, dream catcher, and bracelets
One of the coolest Malasimbo OOTDs and attendees
An intimate moment between the artists and fans

Getting into the business while having a good time

International IP Lawyer, Brian Perley and Marketing Program Head of MINT College, Mony Romana on “Royalties, Publishers and Collection Societies”

From discussing critical and interesting topics about the knowledge of how the music industry works to initiating conversations and building networks, Malasimbo connected music artists and professionals to international music business executives to lead the local music scene to a higher platform in the music industry. The Rolling Stones’ Sam Cutler discussed “How the ’60s Fun Turned Into a Business”, Greg Lim of Heineken and Genaro Castro of Panasonic talked about “Event Marketing in the Experiential Storytelling Era”, FKJ’s manager Kate Cudberston spoke on “Monetizing Music”, Nicolas Dupuis of Anomalie, Mike Love, Lachlan Mitchell of Laneous led discussions on “Songwriting vs. Performance vs. Music Production”, while The Reflex tackled “The Art of the Remix and DJ culture”. Singer-songwriter Reese Lansangan also discussed “Creating an Original Sound and a Brand”. Other topics included “Gigging and Touring in the Philippines”, “The Role of Record Labels Today: Indie vs. Major”, “Marketing and Distribution, Royalties, Publishers and Collection Societies”. The learning and experience of these talented artists inspired the music lovers and musicians who are planning to enter the music industry—giving them an overview of what it takes to start and flourish the business.

A brand new feeling 

Partner Dance in Nature led by The Pukawin Collective

Health and wellness activities are not only for mothers and titas—anyone can join programs such as yoga, tai chi, and Hatha. The Pukawin Collective from the US conducted Nature Bathing into Energizing Yoga and Partner Dance in Nature classes to boost the immunity and mood of the attendees. It helps to have one’s mind commune with nature along with relaxing music.

The best part of the therapeutic sound journey

The therapeutic sound journey is a profound and healing experience because of healing sounds and vibrations from gongs and other resonant tools, making you feel “brand new.” Sound healing involves singing along with music, moving to the beat of the music, and meditating to improve your well-being.⁠ After the session, everyone was able to breathe in creative and transformative energy through meditation, dance, and arts craft-making. 

A beach party vibe at the middle of a lush rainforest

It will never be a festival without music. In Malasimbo, you can choose between dancing like nobody’s watching and dancing in full energy together with the crowd. Some of the attendees shamelessly showed their dance moves in the silent disco. It may look weird at first because there’s no actual music from the DJ being played aloud, but everyone is grooving insanely with their own steps. Instead, the music is playing in the ears of the attendees through headphones. You can switch between one DJ and the other and get to choose the beats that you prefer.

Nature is at peace during the silent disco
Art installations made by Olivia D’Aboville, Hohana, Kawayan De Guia, Govinda Jean, and Cherry Ann Fulo

For the attendees who want live music performances to bang their heads to and sing their hearts out, aspiring artists like Mike Love, Laneous, Anomalie, Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, Jesus Molina Quartet, and more played some instrumental funky and jazz music. The crowd went wild during the set of Mike Love and Cory Henry as they delivered inspirational messages about love, peace, and change for the world. It was a night jam-packed with great moments and good times! 

Nothing but positive vibes and lounge music during Mike Love’s set
Cory Henry setting the stage on fire with his soulful tracks
The Funk Apostles joining the party

Different venue, same magic—it may not be exactly the same since Malasimbo always does its best to provide the people with a unique experience every year. Thank you, Malasimbo Festival for successfully uplifting Filipino music and arts, expressing the love for nature, and promoting environmental and cultural conservation, and supporting the livelihoods of performers. 

Your attendance means a lot for the beneficiary of this event, Bantay Kalikasan. Cheers to everyone who was a part of the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival, and for those who weren’t able to make it, see you next year! 

Visit their official website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more information and updates!

What is your favorite Malasimbo 2020 experience? Feel free to share it in the comments! 

Photos by: Rob Roy Agpay

Featured image credit: Miguel Yap


Kayla Ramos

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Our journey began with an idea to discover what it means to travel the Philippines, beyond the alluring images of sparkling blue waters and powder white sand. We seek to share travel stories to inspire the wide-eyed traveler, moving them deeper into the destination with stunning images and narratives about its sights, tastes, textures, smells, and local life.

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