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On March 4-6, Mt. Malasimbo in Puerto Galera was filled with music and art lovers, both locals and foreigners. Some may have been attending this annual event since 2011, or just like me, a first-timer. I often wonder why they keep on coming back to the famous music and arts festival. Later I found out that there’s much more to take away than just the hype.

With this, here are the five lessons taught by the feast to a “Malasimbo virgin”:

Brigada performing folk music.
Brigada performing folk music

1. Jazz, funk, Hip Hop, soul, and electronic music are actually enjoyable. Since time immemorial, I had a feeling that these are already ‘dead’ music (to be honest), that, until Malasimbo slapped me these genres in the face for me to realize that the world does not only have to listed to pop, RnB, or rock music. Surprisingly, I did not find listening to these kind of music boring. In those nights, nothing in the world mattered except great sound.

Jacob Collier played at least 10 instruments to complete a song.
Jacob Collier played at least 10 instruments to complete a song

2. Appreciate art more. There were large displays of masterpieces created by different visual artists, including the daughter of the Malasimbo Festival president and co-founder, Olivia d’Aboville. Partnered with good lighting for night attendees, you’ll notice that the pieces were carefully curated and displayed in different areas of the venue with each one whispering its own beautiful story. The art pieces added a more intimate and relaxed atmosphere, especially after the 20-minute drive up the mountain.

Dandelions by Olivia d’Aboville
Dandelions by Olivia d’Aboville

3. Respect indigenous tribes. Not only that the festival helped promote the culture of the Mangyans, Mindoro’s natives, it also introduced me to the kind of life they live. That they need more than just exposure from the media. That they actually need help to have better lives. That’s why some of Mangyans weare re given an opportunity to sell their handicraft during the event. By the way, part of the proceeds of the Malasimbo Festival went to help set up solar panels for the Mangyan community’s use.

(Photo courtesy of Our Awesome Planet)
Mangyans selling their wonderful handicraft in the venue. (Photo courtesy of Our Awesome Planet)

4. Protect nature. Of course, isolating you in a grassy amphitheater with nothing but the great view of the Puerto Galera Bay will surely make you realize how fascinating and mesmerizing Mother Nature is. You’ll be even be angry at yourself for doing harmful things to it like throwing garbage wherever. Since then, I took an oath to the coasts and trees I see that no matter what happens, I’ll protect them until my last breath.

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One of our stopovers: An unpopulated beach
One of our stopovers: An unpopulated beach

5. Live in the moment. There was a time when I actually preferred to take out my phone and camera to capture events like this. Until someone told me to put the devices down. He explained that I wouldn’t want moments like these to slip by without dancing, singing, clapping, and shouting to my heart’s content. That’s when I decided to live by this mantra: It’s best to be lost in moments than regret your whole life not being lost.

Brigada playing their last set that made the crowd rose to their feet and dance.
Brigada playing their last set that made the crowd rise to their feet and dance.

I guess, those three days were for the books. I hope to go back next year, but of course, I have these lessons now to pass on. After all, I am not a “Malasimbo virgin” any longer.

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