exploRED Malasimbo, Puerto Galera
A mountaintop festival leaves lovers of art and music on a different high
A Mangyan with long, silver hair strums a peculiar instrument as a small crowd gathers around him. A young woman, clad in a tie-dye shirt with flowers in her hair, sways to reggae legend Jimmy Cliff performing live on stage; she probably had too many mushrooms—the magic ones. A number of tents pitched on a secluded hill provide shelter for the festival goers. Rain drizzled every so often, but the European backpackers didn’t seem to mind.
We were on top of a mountain, and the place—coconut trees everywhere with a view of the bay—was as beautiful as the people. Kids sat by the grass-terraced amphitheater, laughing about something vaguely hilarious. They had a reason to be happy, all right. They’re young, and if anything, Malasimbo seemed like an organic, conservationist infant of the mother-of-all-music-festivals, Woodstock. With less people and more relaxed energy, it was what one would call “group therapy”: an affair of eclectic music, art, peace, and lots of love. Strongly recommended for those looking for some enchantment.