Luna Musikalawaig Summer Peace Festival 2014

May 12, 2014

I learned the hard way that some things are just not meant for you or me. Good news is, some other things are.

Last year, I heard of the Luna Musikalawaig Summer Peace Festival from an acquaintance and felt that it was something I should experience at least once in this lifetime. I asked my friends to come with me but none were as interested as I, so that year's festival just passed me by.

This year, as early as February, I conditioned myself to accept that I might not make it to SPF.. again. Back then, my defeatist attitude overruled any attempts to be optimistic; and so I came up with reasons to justify my dismissal of the possibility: one, I didn't have the money (although SPF is relatively cheap, especially if you avail of their Early Bird promo); two, I thought I didn't know anyone who'd want to come with me; and three, I didn't think my parents would allow me to travel to and stay for a night at the Ki Bathala Gardens in Talakag, Bukidnon.

I obviously turned out to be wrong, and I've never been happier being mistaken.

It was early April when I saw on my Newsfeed a photo my friend Orejet shared. It was about a new local tabloid called The Dump. I was hooked the moment I read the word 'underground'. I sent her a message, expressing my interest in buying a copy (which is just P10, by the way). We met a few days later and she told me that they were still looking for writers. Without hesitation, I told her that I wanted to join. Eventually, she told me that The Dump was set to cover SPF14.. for free! It wasn't the reason I joined but it solidified my decision.

Fast forward to April 10, 2014. It was the day of the SPF14 Press Con and Kickoff. Jet introduced me to the other members: Ali, Ben, and Kim. I would meet Niqi and Alyssa later on.

At the press con, everything felt so surreal and unbelievable. Sorry not sorry if it may sound exaggerated, but I've always wanted to experience such things.

The kickoff started with a few tunes from Coco Jam followed by Mush Project and then Foc Fashion. Indie Green Culture was already there too to sell their awe-inspiring handcrafted items. I bought myself a pair of slippers with dream catcher ornaments. Totally loved everything they had and I wished I had more money with me.

The guys and I met up in McDo the following day (April 11). We dropped by Sonrisa Vista Resort in Bayabas and went ahead to the Ki Bathala Gardens. Brought my brother with me for extra support and fun.

I went to the Festival with very low expectations. It's a self-hack I learned that makes me happier.

When we got to the venue, Marvin Kiefer welcomed us with his curly hair, bare feet, hot bod, cute accent, and mysterious hooded eyes. Hahaha! He was in charge with the entrance, among other things. It was then that I felt that it was going to be a great weekend. :))

We set up our tents-slash-mosquito nets while joking about our misfortune. We weren't able to borrow proper camping tents so we had to manage with those.

After settling down for a bit, Ben, Alyssa, Kim, and I decided to check the river out. The path we took was very steep and a bit slippery. Thank God I didn't roll down or fall over. Maybe half an hour later, we finally got to see the river. I fell in love with the Kalawaig then and there. I came to a realization that many are beach bums but I prefer rivers more.

The midday heat was scorching but it didn't stop us from jumping from rock to rock and marveling at the beauty of nature. I was starting to get dehydrated but still believed that I could make it without fainting or giving my companions something to worry about. Told you I had low expectations. Next time, I'd definitely bring water for drinking, if we ever take that path again.

We went back up to civilization maybe another half hour later, trudging a different way back and getting out at a nearby elementary school. Drank water from a roadside tap and proceeded uphill back to Ki Bathala. Hello again, Marvin Kiefer! (Since we had to pass the entrance and he was still there)

Alyssa and I set out to search for buko juice. We found them at a refreshments station manned by Timothy (whom I think is Marvin's younger brother). He piqued my interest as he showed business acumen at such a young age (he was maybe around 11). He carried coconut husks from one place to the stall. Sense of entitlement? Nada. The little things a person does tend to really amaze me.

The place was too beautiful for words (for me, at least). It would be a shame if we didn't explore the festival grounds while the sun was still up, and so Alyssa and I checked the venue out. There was the Tree of Thoughts, and there was this board where one can write down any song that you'd want to share with the rest. I wanted to write but suddenly, I regretfully felt shy. *sigh*

Pieces of art were scattered all over. I marveled at everything my eyes could see, hot guests included. Haha!

We learned that there was a longer but leveled pathway to the river. We just laughed at ourselves. We may have gone through too much trouble earlier but it added to the fun!

Ki Bathala was bustling with various activities. It was such a great place to be! Even the sound checks were entertaining.

I went up to the entrance booth and waited for my brother to arrive. Ali and Kim were volunteers so they were there too. When I got there, Marvin was orienting his friend Elsa about the process so she can take over for a while. When he left, I talked to Elsa a bit and found out that she was a WWOOFer from France. She mentioned that she was born in the Philippines that's why I think she's half Filipina. She's really very pretty! Her speaking voice is similar to that of Georgina Wilson's. I asked if people made fun of her name (Elsa? Do you wanna build a snowmaaan?) and "Yes," she cried. 

Since I hung out at the entrance booth for a while, I was able to see the people that came and went. It was, again, another surreal experience for me. People fascinate me, most especially that at that time, I was surrounded by guests not just from Cagayan de Oro but from around the country and the world.

Ze brothah finally turned up, but he was gone too soon, bound to his volunteer duties. I decided to go with Sam, Marina, Marie, and Jmar. Ate dinner with them too. Sam mentioned in a status message that he was going to SPF14 with three MARs. Turned out that he went about the festival with four! (My real name is Marcela)

Arthur (from CDO) opened for the first night. They were followed by Foc Fashion (an indie rock band from Cebu) and then Coco Jam. I love Coco Jam! I was dying to dance to their set but I was shy so I drank some to loosen up.

Another festival-goer urged the people around him to stand up and dance. Finally! That was the start of a fun-filled night. Nanay Mo was next. I was too caught up making new friends (the very same people who encouraged us to strut our stuff: Tommy from Finland, Frankie from Sweden, Ray from Finland, Larry from Sweden, and Nile from California) and drinking beer that my memory of Nanay Mo's set came as a bit of a blur.

KaapiN was up next. I know these guys! I virtually interviewed them last summer for Pindie Music's artist profile. They're "veterans" from Cagayan de Oro; but Kel Zee is currently based in Cebu. The world is becoming more aware of them. They have upcoming gigs in Singapore. Awesooome! During their set, the experience was out of this world! Stellar! I felt like I was floating. It was actually the night's climax for me.

My night ended with KaapiN because we went back to the camping grounds to sleep. Esther and DJ RB Banaag were still on the roster though.

Woke up a bit hungover the next day (April 12). Went back home to eat, sleep, bathe. Returned to Ki Bathala at around 5. It rained earlier that day so the tents were no longer in the same formation when we got there.

This night's lineup started with the mind-blowing Lost Tribe from Davao. They play a fusion of reggae and hiphop. All original material. It was awesome! There are probably around 10 or so members in the band. DJ Ada Dub with a freestyling Kat Alano followed. Right after that, Kamaggong, Lost Tribe's sister band, entertained us with another lively set.

After Kamaggong, Lady I got the crowd together and dancing. This was possible because the Davao delegates spearheaded the movement. I didn't drink that night but I felt like I was too free to care about what other people might think, and so I danced to my heart's content.

Bullet Dumas performed right after Lady I. His music is unique. We enjoyed it a lot. Ninuno ni ninuno ni hehehe By this time, my Dump mates and I were whispering to each other because we noticed that Ping Medina was chilling out at the back! I became a bit distracted. He's one of my favorite actors, after all.

Tits, Tats & Whiskers (from Japan!) were up next. I stayed around with Sam and Marina since my other friends and my bro went back to the tent. I kept on looking over my shoulder to see if Ping Medina was still there. Haha! Psytrance pioneer here in the Philippines, Mush Project (originally from Spain) followed TT&W. While he was still setting up, I approached Ping and asked for a picture with him. He was already a bit tipsy, I guess; but he was still accommodating. I also asked for a picture with Raphael Kiefer. Such an admirable man (along with the rest of the Kiefers, of course). Marvin was nearby but I didn't have the guts to ask him TT_____TT HUHUHU /wrist

Niqi and Ben came back to tell me that we had to go. It was already 2 AM of the 13th of April. I didn't get to finish Mush Project's set again. :( Said my good byes to Sam and Marina (whom I am going back to SPF15 with next year!)

It was an amazing journey to the river. It felt lovely rocking out to music that's new to my ears while I bond with some people I just met and having the moon watch over all of us. My experience may differ from all the other guests, but I swear by it. I love that the festival constituted of three of my favorite things: Luna (moon), Musika (music), and the Kalawaig (name of the river). I realized that I am an indie soul. I became aware again of how life is without much of technology. Digital detox, so they say. I loved everything about it! It wasn't perfect, and neither am I. Hopefully, I would have the opportunity to go back there again.

This year, the Universe conspired to make things happen. Everything was unbelievably effortless on my part. I am grateful! SPF14 was life-changing. I emerged wanting to drop almost everything city-life has to offer to live peacefully in the mountains and take care of Mother Nature. This event has helped me get a clearer definition of the things I want for myself and my future.

Until next year! *crosses fingers* :)

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