Pampanga’s Hot Air Balloon Festival has always been included in my travel bucket list, I have not planned to go this year because I did not have the budget just yet. But luckily, as part of our event, I got the chance to go to Pampanga and finally tick the Hot Air Balloon Festival off of my list.
February 9 marked the first day of the 21st Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2017. Up for the 1:00 AM call time, a colleague and I started our preparations for the event and our travel to Pampanga. We departed Ortigas at 2:30 AM and arrived at the destination at 5:00 AM. It was nice to see the sun rise as we walk our way to our booth in Clark Freeport Zone, the warmth of the sun touching my skin with the chilly breeze.
I did not quite expect the number of people attending the event, though it was nice seeing families, friends, lovers all over the field, enjoying the sun and patiently waiting for the balloons to fly. Below are some of the photos I took, I was not able to take decent pictures because I cannot roam around for I was needed in our booth.
Seeing the hot air balloons fly was visually entertaining, though I did not find the experience as exciting as I thought it would be. It has been extremely hot, and sandy (I know, of course, it’s a field). Maybe I would enjoy it more if I was able to ride a balloon, but it’s gonna be expensive for sure.
If you are wondering what else can you expect in the Hot Air Balloon Festival, there were plenty of booths – food, products, accessories, souvenirs, clothes, and even more – it was like a mall in a field setting. Aside from watching the hot air balloon, you may also bring or buy a kite and play with it in the field. You may also bring a tent and just hang around the field with your friends and family. It is not advisable to wear slippers, sandals, or doll shoes because the field is full of sand. Wear a decent pair of rubber shoes, but not a white pair because you’ll be going home with a brown shoes afterwards. Wear a comfortable shirt and shorts or pants with breathable fabric. Bring lots of water and a cap to beat the heat as well. I know these tips are too late because the festival is already done, but if ever the festival will be held in Clark again, at least you will know. There have been news that this year might be the last hot air balloon fest held in Clark because the government intends to make full use of the place as an airport.
Still, I am thankful that I got to experience the Hot Air Balloon Festival. Definitely a memorable experience. ☺