Monday, February 27, 2012

Travelife with us to Malasimbo this weekend

On February 18, 2011, 1,500 people trooped to Puerto Galera, Mindoro to celebrate music and art in paradise. The first ever Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival was received with enthusiasm, merriment, and resounding support from both Filipino and foreigner alike.

Held at the foot of Mt. Malasimbo, the festival experienced excellent acoustics thanks to Puerto Galera’s adopted son, Malasimbo co-organizer Hubert d’Aboville, who generously provided his property, a natural amphitheatre overlooking the bay of Puerto Galera.

The bay was recognized in 1979 as a “Human Reserve of Man and Biosphere” (MAP program of UNESCO) and is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world.


The mountaintop also provided an excellent venue for visual artworks by d’Aboville’s daughter, Olivia, an award-winning French-Filipina artist, and a collection of other visual artists, all of whom decorated the amphitheatre and the mountaintop with works reflecting nature, man and conservation.

Foreign and Filipino musical artists combined to provide an unforgettable experience. Favorite local performances enthralled the audience with their best-beloved tracks: Cynthia Alexander, Aquarela, Caliph8, Kadangyan, Kristian Hernandez, Nykó Macá presents GAFiEiRA (NMPG) and a then-nine-months-pregnant Christina “Badkiss” Bartges.

From overseas, Japan’s DJ Krush and South Korea’s Gong Myoung spun the crowd into happy hypnosis. Stage Craft provided only the best sound and lighting systems, transforming the mountaintop into a magical place amidst coconut trees under an ethereal full moon.


Furthering the eco-cultural tourism of Malasimbo, part of the proceeds from ticket sales were used to plant trees around Puerto Galera. Furthermore, thanks to Hubert d’Aboville’s efforts, a permanent miniature Mangyan Village was built in the festival site to showcase the indigenous culture of the Mangyan tribes, the true “katutubo” who inhabit the mountains of Mindoro.

Part of the proceeds of the festival went to reforestation in Mount Malasimbo which also provided seed-money for the installation of solar energy for the Iraya Mangyan community’s barangay hall in Baclayan which was completed by Hubert d’Aboville’s company PAMATEC last September with the generous help from individuals and institutions such as the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

For the 2012 Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival this weekend, Miro Grgic, the Croatian President of Volume Unit Entertainment, the company behind Malasimbo, believes strongly in one-upping his performance from 2011’s initiative.

He said: “It is so important for us to show how beautiful this country is – the Philippines has become my home since moving here in 2010. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, I am Filipino! We are some of the most talented musicians in the world; it’s time the world knew just how talented.”


This year's Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival will have more musical and visual artists. Headlining the entire musical group is 69 year old Joe Bataan, the African-American-Filipino king of Latin soul from New York. He is also the creator of one of the most prominent disco labels, Salsoul Records, a word and genre coined by the musician himself by combining salsa and soul.

One of Bataan’s best albums on Salsoul records was “Afrofilipino.” Although he has never visited the Philippines, the home country of his father, Bataan was always clear on his heritage – he is proud to be Pinoy.

This Malasimbo 2012, Bataan will set foot in the country for the first time in his life, and will perform some of his best-beloved songs as a true musical pioneer and a true-blue Filipino. Bataan is also the father of Asia Nitollano, the winner of the Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll.

Obviously, music runs in this family’s blood, and in March 2012 the country will finally welcome home its prodigal son, and revel in the talent of Joe Bataan, in a first for the country and a first in this musical father’s long life.


Olivia d’Aboville welcomes a new set of visual artists to Malasimbo 2012 including Risa Recio, Agnes Arellano, Billy Bonnevie (who has had long experience dealing with the Mangyans), Niccolo Jose, and Nikki Luna. The artists will complement the natural beauty of Mt. Malasimbo with their gorgeous art installations, providing visual entertainment while concert goers are serenaded by Joe Bataan and other musical geniuses.

Tickets for the 2012 Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival are now available Ticketworld.


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