Malasimbo Moves to a New Home, Announces Big Musical Acts

On its 9th year, the festival bids a bittersweet farewell to the mountain that gave it its name.

Watching over Puerto Princesa’s crystal waters is Mt. Malasimbo, where a natural amphitheater lined with palm trees has played host to unusual guests for many years. Electric dandelions stood several feet tall, creating a canopy of white luminescence. A bamboo cage bathed in neon red lights served as shelter to visiting travelers. A plastic jellyfish the size of a shark floated above a dancing crowd.


For the past eight years, the Malasimbo International Music & Arts Festival has been an institution unto itself. Held on the cusp of summer, Malasimbo has provided people from across the world a sense of community deeply immersed in music, visual arts, and the proud Mangyan people who tend the land.

Festival regulars know every inch of the amphitheater. Their bones can still feel the rocky jeepney ride up the mountainside; the long hike down into the verdant, terraced crater where the music and the buzz of people create gentle vibrations in the air; and the soft grass in that one perfect spot where they set up their blankets.

Their tongues can recall all the Malasimbo favorites, from the pandesal topped with kesongputi, herbs, and olive oil, grilled to perfection; to the dabo-dobo, a local take on chicken adobo, stewed with fresh mushrooms and toasted garlic chips. They remember the work of both contemporary local artists and Mangyan artisans alike, transforming the landscape into a surrealist dream.

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And they can still hear the music, for which many of them originally came. Over the years, Malasimbo has brought together an eclectic mix of local and international artists to perform at the festival, with legends like Jimmy Cliff, Big Mountain, Joey Ayala, and Grace Nono playing on the very same stage as Jose Gonzales, Joss Stone, Up Dharma Down, and June Marieezy.

For all these reasons and more, Mt. Malasimbo was a place that music and art lovers called home for a couple of days a year for eight years.

This year, however, the festival bids a bittersweet farewell to the mountain that gave it its name.

The upcoming Malasimbo 2019 festival, happening on March 1 to 2, moves all the excitement to a lush private nature reserve hidden just behind the shores of White Beach, Puerto Galera. One of the reasons for the move was the organizers’ dedication to preserving the area’s natural splendor: the new location is larger and more open, allowing for a much bigger event without compromising the environment.


The 9th edition of Malasimbo will be held at the White Beach, Puerto Galera

Welcoming the festival to its new home will be some of the most exciting musical acts to hit the Malasimbo stage yet; local phenomenon IV of Spades, three-time Grammy Award winner Robert Glasper, and legendary NY-based DJ Danny Krivit are just three of the names included in the first wave of artist announcements. Installations from Leeroy New, Agnes Arellano, Hohana, and Olivia d’Aboville will be breathing life into the surroundings, along with all the usual suspects who've made Malasimbo the experience it’s been known to be for the better part of this decade.


Robert Glasper



It’s a massive change, to be sure, but one that festival organizers hope visitors old and new can embrace. Malasimbo, after all, exists as much in the hearts of its community as it does on the soil of its former home. And even if one waxes sentimental about the memories within its storied amphitheater, all it takes is a look upwards to see Mt. Malasimbo, standing tall in the moonlight, for one to get lost in the music once again.

The 9th annual Malasimbo International Music & Arts Festival takes place on March 1 and 2, 2019, at White Beach, Puerto Galera. Tickets are currently available at https://www.tickettailor.com/events/vuetix. The event is open to all ages; kids aged 0-6 can enter free of charge, while ages 7 to 13 can enjoy 50% off regular ticket price.

For more information, visit the official Malasimbo website.

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Marco Sumayao
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