Malasimbo grows into a brand
Like clockwork over the past six years, music, art and culture lovers from here and abroad troop to Puerto Galera to take part in the three-day Malasimbo Arts and Music Festival, to be held this year from March 10-12.
From just a small circle of friends, family and music professionals and fans in 2011, Malasimbo festival director and co-founder Miro Grgic was eventually able to entice thousands of visitors to carve time out of their busy schedule and make the trip to this popular tourist destination.
With Malasimbo, Puerto Galera got another reason to attract tourists, who have brought in millions of pesos in tourism revenue to the community, with residents all feeling the benefit, from the resort owners to the food vendors and even the tricycle drivers.
It is inclusive growth in a tangible and enjoyable form.
Grgic, a Croatian sound engineer who now calls the Philippines home, says he ended up in Puerto Galera as it was where he can partner with his father-in-law.
“In Puerto Galera, I found a venue partner in my father-in-law. The vision was to be a catalyst for a festival scene that would generate more work for the artists. And I wanted to promote the sound quality culture, which to this day is still very much not understood. Sound quality is the key behind all the great sustainable events and clubs and without it, it’s hard to have a solid music scene,” explains Grgic.
It has been an uphill climb, with Grgic taking on the herculean task of getting sponsors, performers and logistics together. But every year, after the performances, he leaves fulfilled and raring to take on the task yet again for another year.
Magical, life-changing and legitimate are the adjectives he uses to describe what Malasimbo is now to the music and festival scene, thus cementing its brand.
“It’s a very Filipino affair. We did not take a page from anyone’s book. We just made our own with what we had to work with and what inspired us. Hence the four pillars: music, arts, environment and indigenous people,” says Grgic.
Malasimbo is primarily a platform for artists in the soul, funk and jazz genres as Grgic believes they work best in that unique environment.
“I also like this music the most. And it draws out the best crowd. The Philippines is the soul of Asia, so we wanted to highlight this,” Grgic says.
“Soul jazz and world music are very much rooted in lots of pop and dance music so they are good genres to be able to cross over without losing the direction,” he adds.
And that vision is to provide the market with an “authentic Filipino world class music and arts experience” that only Malasimbo can.
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