I definitely believe that there is such a thing as “Malasimbo magic.” I had little expectations when I experienced the festival for the first time last year. Frankly speaking, I consider myself more as someone who enjoys going to rave parties. But I also love listening to chill, indie music like Bon Iver, Birdy, Frank Ocean, James Blake and the like so I was ecstatic to discover new artists. Malasimbo was also extra special because that was where Vina and I became really good friends. 5 months later, we officially became a couple. When we tell our love story to our friends, we always say that we fell in love with each other in Malasimbo. So it was only right to do it all over again.
Getting to Puerto Galera takes a 1.5 hour bus or car trip from Manila to the Batangas port and 1 to 2 hour ferry boat ride to reach Puerto Galera. You may also take an air-conditioned fastcraft ferry (which only takes about 45 minutes). We stayed at The Manor Hotel which was pretty decent–it’s a huge villa that has 3 rooms (with a bathroom each) and can accommodate up to 10 people. Although it’s only 20 minutes away from Malasimbo, I wish we stayed at White Beach instead. This is where all the water sports and the good restaurants are. But if you want peace and quiet, The Manor would be the perfect choice.
The festival grounds is situated at the foothills of the majestic Mt. Malasimbo, where its most prominent feature is that grass-terraced natural amphitheater that overlooks the bay. If you’re a Malasimbo virgin, get ready to discover cool music you’ve never heard before, be in awe of the amazing art installations, taste the delicious dabo-dobo and kesong puti, sleep under the stars, go up tree houses and make new friends, do some crazy dancing and leave all your worries behind. One thing that I’ve observed from my first Malasimbo experience, is that I love how there’s a real-life connection that occurs when you’re in the festival. A connection with the music, with nature, with the art or maybe with a stranger. It’s either you come home confused and weirded out, or you open your heart and mind and experience the magic that is Malasimbo. I would relive it over and over again.