Oriental Mindoro

Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival

Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival is an annual summer event and eco-tourism that boasts of international and local artists every February or March. Held first in Puerto Galera in the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines, it is organized around its four pillars: arts, environment, indigenous people, and music.

History of Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival

Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival was first held in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro on February 18 and 19, 2011. Organized by Volume Unit Entertainment with nonprofit, non-government D’Aboville Foundation as host, its founders are couple Hubert d’Aboville, Ara d’Aboville, and their son-in-law Miro Grgic. Its name comes from its venue, the Malasimbo Amphitheater, which is sculpted in the rolling, grassy foothills of Mt. Malasimbo amidst coconut groves within the property owned by the D’Abovilles.

Grgic, festival director, first thought of holding a music and arts festival way back in 2010. The d’Abovilles are advocates of indigenous people, particularly the Mangyans who settled in the province of Oriental Mindoro for centuries; and their daughter and Grgic’s spouse artist Olivia Grgic is the curator for the fest’s art installations.

The festival’s music is eclectic and showcases wide-ranging genres like electronic, ethnic, funk, hip hop, house, jazz, reggae, and soul. Filipino and foreign musicians grace the stage to the delight of people who come from different places and backgrounds.

One other aspect of the festival are the art installations and performance arts that can be found in the venue. They are curated in a way that blend within the atmosphere of the festivity and the venue.

The Mangyans also take center stage. They demonstrate the richness of their native culture through handicrafts, performance, customs, and tradition. Talks and seminars are spearheaded within the fest’s calendar with the objective of deepening knowledge and appreciation of their indigenous culture. The Mangyans are also beneficiaries of the proceeds of the fest.

Furthermore, environmental conservation and protection are major advocacy of the organizers. This is reflected in the artistic outputs that are curated to be featured; art pieces use recycled materials and sourced from nature. Participants are also encouraged to avoid the use of plastic. Likewise, there are talks that raise awareness and highlight the need to care for the environment.

According to writer Howi Bakunawa in 2020, “Malasimbo has seen its share of changes within the span of those 10 years but has likewise managed to keep the same sound and soul that make it one of the most recognizably unique music festival experiences in the country today.” And the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines described the annual event, “… is the first international music and arts festival of its calibre in the Asia-Pacific.”

Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival Activities

While its calendar varies through the years, it is generally scheduled either towards the end of February or the first few weeks of March. Below are the historical schedule and venues. In 2015 and 2016, the calendar was divided into two weekends; the second weekend was when the first Malasimbo Lights and Dance Festival was held.

Malasimbo AmphitheaterFebruary 18 and 192011
Malasimbo AmphitheaterMarch 2 to 42012
Malasimbo AmphitheaterMarch 1 to 32013
Malasimbo AmphitheaterFebruary 27 to March 32014
Puerto Galera BayMarch 6-8 and March 13-152015
Malasimbo AmphitheaterMarch 4 to 6 and March 24 to 262016
Malasimbo AmphitheaterMarch 10 to 12, 20172017
Malasimbo AmphitheaterMarch 23 to 252018
White Beach, Puerto GaleraMarch 1 to 22019
La Mesa Eco ParkFebruary 29 to March 12020
Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival past schedules and venues

On March 2, 2022, organizers stated on the Facebook page that they were considering venues other than Puerto Galera for the years to come.

The festival is slated to take place between March 15 and 17 in Puerto Galera in 2024. However organizers issued a statement in February that it would not push through.

How to reach Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

Ferry trips are regularly scheduled from the port of Batangas to Oriental Mindoro.


Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival Summary

NameMalasimbo Music and Arts Festival
CelebrationArts, Environment, Indigenous People, Music
DateLast week of February to/or first few weeks of March
DurationTwo to four days
EstablishedFebruary 2011
FounderHubert d'Aboville, Ara d'Aboville, Miro Grgic.
Indigenous peopleMangyan
LocationPuerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
OrganizerVolume Unit Entertainment, D’Aboville Foundation