Tiaong, Quezon: 5th Bob Day Roots Festival in Tiaong Gubat Sanctuary
As a birthday tribute to the world-renowned reggae artist and Rastafari Movement icon, Bob Marley, a diverse community of musicians, music enthusiasts and nature lovers hailing from different corners of the Philippines unite in a town situated on the deep coconut region of Quezon Province called Tiaong. I have heard of Bob Day Roots Festival for years but haven’t really gone down the road to Zion. There’s no other way to find out what punky reggae party was all about but to be there – even if I had to go there alone. This solitary journey took me from the concrete jungles of Manila, brought south to a sanctuary kept beneath a thick foliage of luscious greens – a hidden enclave where everyone celebrates peace, one love, roots, and reggae. Welcome to Tiaong Gubat Sanctuary.
Entrance to Camp Tiaong Gubat.
A bulky pack on my back and the camera bag hanging from my shoulder were the only companions I had on the 3-hour bus ride to Tiaong, Quezon. My mere love for some good island rhythms was the motivating force that took me at the end of the Tiaong Bypass Road in Baranggay Lusacan. Finally, only my tenacious attachment to Mother Nature got me standing in front the gates of Zion, the entrance to Tiaong Gubat Sanctuary (‘gubat’ is Tagalog term for forest).
The main stage clad in Rastafari green, gold, and red.
Tiaong Gubat campgrounds at night.
Following the beat of high-pitched snares in sync with the scratchy chop skank rhythms and melodic bass lines led me to the epicenter of the annual Bob Day Roots Festival. Tiaong Gubat Sanctuary‘s open ground enclosed by a lush vegetations, and cloaked under tall tree canopies served as the campsite which seemed like a tight-knit neighborhood wherein everybody shares a common cause – one love. The heart of the camp grounds is the two-storey open hut, clad in Rastafari green, gold, and red, which will serve as the main stage for the night’s upcoming acts by various artist.
Coffee Break Island.
Dong performing in Tiaong Gubat.
Lion And The Scouts.
The moon shines over Tiaong Gubat Sanctuary.
Along came the silver moon and flickering stars from the sky were the evening’s highlight. Tiaong Gubat’s airwaves were filled with ska, dub, roots, and reggae tunes from wicked live band performances by Coffee Break Island, Lion & The Scouts, Dong, Reggae Mistress, Cocojam, Papa U-Gee and Good Leaf. Bonfires heated up the night while the crowd dancing to them beats intensified even more the positive vibrations of that very irie evening.
Audience warming themselves up in front of the bonfire while watching band performances.
Papa U-Gee [Jah-pan]
More than three little birds greeted Tiaong Gubat a good morning with their sweet chirps as the sun peeps through clusters of leaves to warm up the cool and damp morning mist. Amplifying the day break experience was the smooth, slick, and soulful guitar blues of Jun Lopito, harmoniously playing with the sound of nature. I guess everyone’s hot cup of coffee was more delicious than ever during that certain morning in Tiaong Gubat.
Morning coffee and acoustic sessions with Jun Lopito in Tiaong Gubat.
Raising the tempo several notches higher was the percussion ensemble, Katribu Kolektib, with their adrenalin-pumping, heart pounding drum beats which will definitely make you want to move your dancing feet. I felt my breathing gets harder and heavier as my heart pulsates rapidly as the tempo peaks – it was electrifying. I guess I could say that the Katribu Kolektib’s 30-minute act was “breath-taking”.
Jun Lopito, former guitarist of The Airwaves (Pepe Smith’s 1976 band).
Percussion ensemble of Katribu Kolektib.
Katribu Kolektib in 5th Bob Day Roots Festival.
Lady I performing in Tiaong Gubat.
I and I watching Lady I.
On its 5th year, Bob Day Roots Festival has definitely gained popularity among the genre’s fans. Audience multiply as each celebration pass. Cheers to all the organizers, crew, musicians, and especially, all the participants whose undying support to the cause which makes Bob Day Roots Festival happen and in fact, successful.
Fellow campers hailing from Batangas, Laguna, and Quezon.
Tent neighbors from Quezon Province. (Thank you sa masarap na homemade macapuno, mga idol!)
As for me, a solitary traveler, simply driven south by my love for the music and nature, had quite a remarkable camping experience. I’ve dreamt of events like these where everyone shares good vibrations in one camp, just sitting on the grass under the moon and stars while watching and listening to good music performed by great musicians, bonfires, beers – just plainly chilling out in the middle of nowhere. Now, it was a dream no more because of Bob Day Roots Festival, the best gig/nature trip I’ve ever been to my entire life (no exaggeration). Pushing through with this unforgettable journey truly satisfied my soul. Thank you Tiaong Gubat for the irie experience, the good people I’ve met that day, and shared the experience with. Spreading the love and good vibrations from Rizal Province. See you everyone on the 6th Bob Day. Peace. ========================================================================= Here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip: 1. Tiaong Gubat Sanctuary is located at Baranggay Lusacan, Tiaong, Quezon Province. It’s kept hidden inside Villa Nosa Subdivision which is right at the end of the Tiaong Bypass Road. 2. If commuting to Tiaong Gubat Sanctuary, you could take a bus bound for Lucena, from Cubao or Buendia, and ask the driver to get you off at the end of the Tiaong Bypass Road. On the other side of the road is Villa Nosa Subdivision, from there it’s about a 15 minute walk. 3. Bus fare is P163.00 from Cubao. 4. 5th Bob Day Roots Festival’s entrance fee cost P250.00 5. Bring your own tent. (Thank you very much, Carrie, for lending me your very cool tent. Ganda!) 6. There’s a comfort room on the camp site. 7. Food and drinks are also for sale. But you could also bring your own, cook your own. 8. Click the link of the artist to follow their gig schedules. 9. More Quezon Province destinations in Biyaheng Quezon 11. Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook. 12. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
Tiaong Gubat campsite.