Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival is a break unlike any other we yuppies crave for. To be totally honest, we’re not really the type who automatically jumps around when we hear EDM. We’re not always the party girl, but still, Malasimbo got us spinning around the mountain barefoot, grooving to the beats and spins of the musicians on stage.
Here are the highlights of our 3-day course through the spectacle that is Malasimbo.
Music: Mix of old and new, foreign and local, newbies and veterans
Always expect the unexpected. Since we had no idea on who the other artists were (a sign that a real hipster did an excellent job with their line-up), we didn’t expect that the Lights and Dance Festival had more than just EDM. Well for starters, Abra along with LDP (Lyrically Deranged Poets) got our heads bobbing with their beats and sick lyrics plus a preview of their unreleased track. Day one also had Lapalux take us on a trippy trance with his set amidst the coconut trees and neon lights. The best one for us though, was Lady Flic, a sick-ass female DJ who knows how to get the crowd stand up from their sleep and dance relentlessly to her mix.
For day 2 we had Jorge Wieneke V, a local one-man spinner hiding under his alter ego, Similar Objects and his playful yet cosmic tracks. The rising rap star Curtissmith also showcased his talent with words—a good flow of diction and sense in a series of stanzas. However, day 2 was made the moment DJ Kentaro stepped on stage. This Japanese world DMC champion had his hands on fire all over the turntable—switching from one disc to other while adjusting controllers in between. It wasn’t just a glorious mix of spins, it was a dance.
Finally, the third day of Malasimbo goodness started with our official favorite duo—Diamond Heights. A burst of raw talent in rap and writing relatable lyrics. To step it a notch is DJ Shortkut, a Filipino based in the U.S. Who knew his classic Hip Hop tunes, Reggae, melody, and sick beats and married them together for one heck of an eargasmic experience. After all the dancing was followed by jumping aimlessly everywhere with DJ Goldie’s set—a rare gem for bass purists of the EDM crowd.
Dance: A play with stars, aliens, and fire
Just like last year, Philippine Allstars got to break a leg on stage first. Their performance was a mix of old school hip hop, reggae, and even partner lyrical dances. All inclusive of flair and attitude, of course—a signature in all their performances. They also started a cypher in one of the sets, and other people from the audience happily joined their freestyle circle. Day two had Daloy Dance Group a.k.a. as Aliens of Manila clad in their out of this world neon costume. They didn’t perform on stage as they started from top left side of the mountain and danced as they descended to the main amphitheater. It was weird, especially the part when one dancer approached me, looked me in the eye, and tried to make me lie down the grass as he slowly pushed my shoulders down. Day 3 was a play with fire as Planet Zips spun their pois everywhere, making art from the light in slow shutter speed. It was, as like any other event in Mt. Malasimbo, a spectacle.
Culture: Trading with the Mangyans
Mangyans practically owned the Mountain. They lived right on it and was spread all over the place during the festival. They were found selling the famous Dabo-Dobo (semi-dried adobo with garlic and mushrooms), kesong puti panini, drinks, and other lutong bahay dishes to refuel our bodies right before the next DJ spins. We also got a good look of their work—bags, necklaces, and home accessories made of abaca, strings, and a lot of talent. They sold it at such a reasonable price—another reason why the Mountain is such a must-see destination.
Art: A glimpse of the Philippines
Technically speaking everything in Malasimbo is art. So let us narrow it down for you. We’re talking about the lights and their art installations. The wife of Malasimbo founder Miro Grgic had a knack for music while her wife Olivia had a thing for arts. They both had a thing for arts but more so on the actual making of art pieces for the latter. Olivia’s installations were found everywhere, including the glow in the dark dandelions on the path from the main entrance up to the ampitheater. A new favorite was the hanging jellyfish-like installation by Libbet Loughan and Troy Silvestre’s painted coconut shells hanging against the trees’ trunks came a close second. The lights came from everywhere, right from the stage up to the lights from the fire dancers at the base of the ampitheater—lit, illuminated, and ready to serve as the guide amidst the crevices of the mountain.
Words by Tin Advincula
Photos by Yukie Sarto & Ana Luciano