As we all know February is month of love where people become romantic and spend some extra sweet quality time with their special someone or loved ones. Couple, family and friends hunt for some things to do, places to see or events to witness and festivals are some of the ideal hang-out. Some of these festivals include Pamulinawen in Laoag, Suman festival in Baler Aurora, Candle festival in Jaro Ilo-ilo, Panagbenga in Baguio, and a lot more. But here is an extraordinary outdoor experience that surely you will loved. It is The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta where “Everything flies”. It is an annual tournament of balloonist from various countries and it features aero sport shows, kite flying, games, exhibitions and many more. It’s a four days event happens every February at Clark Field Angeles Pampanga.
As our group wanted to celebrate Hearts Month, we decided to have a pre-Valentines date witnessing big balloons soar thousands of feet high. We were able to attend the 3rd day which is Saturday, February 11. My friends decided to stay at our home a night before and without sleep we left Manila 2 in the morning. (Just a tip, if you wanted to have a convenient parking slot near the entrance and good viewing spot you should be at the venue 4 in the morning and also to avoid long lines in entrance and ticketing booths. But for us, we booked our tickets 1 week ahead in SM TicketNet outlets: Mall of Asia, SM Makati, SM Bicutan, SM Southmall, etc. for only 200 + 20 pesos for the handling fee) We arrived at Clark 4 in the morning and the queue to the parking area, as well as the main entrance of the show area was very long but you’ll feel that everyone’s excited for the show. Around 5:30 in the morning remote controlled AeroLED aircrafts started to fly in the sky, a go signal that the show will start in a few minutes.
When the clock ticked at exactly 6 in the morning, a sky jumper was seen in the sky carrying a Philippine flag while Philippine National Anthem played in the airways. It was an extraordinary feeling of proudness; and yes this is our homeland!
Moments later participants started to set-up their balloons on the open ground, and we we’re so amazed on how hot air balloons were unloaded from the trucks, unfolded to the ground, get inflated, burst with fire and finally bloom in the sky. After a few minutes, the beautiful blue sky was filled with multicolor of varied sizes & designs flying big balloons. It was a wonderful and very child-like feeling like we’re back on our childhood days playing and capturing these gigantic balloons. Some of our favorites are the Daisy, Ice cream, Cake and Panda.
The festival also features a number of events in skydiving, flag jumps, micro light and rocketry demonstrations, helicopter flying exhibitions, freestyle aerobatics, precision maneuvers, light airplane balloon bursting, ultra-light flying formation and bomb dropping, kite-making and choreographed Kite-Flying. After enjoying the balloons, we roam around the field to capture photos of AFP’s armored & military vehicles, weapons, assault rifles, gigantic air/warcrafts, and skydiving outfits.
|Sky Diver formation|
Since we finished early at the show, we decided to have a side trip at Nayong Pilipino Clark and took our lunch at the famous Aling Lucing’s Sisig and Susie’s pasalubong; tibok-tibok as their specialty which I will blog on my next entry.
Getting the chance to witness this kind of fiesta was really fulfilling and fun-filled not only because of the Big balloons but the chance of spending early Valentines with my friends, no one can replace the memories, experience, and the bonding where everything flies!!!
Directions to Clark Pampanga:
Getting to the Clark Special Economic Zone by car, take the North Luzon Expressway from Manila and exit at Dau, Mabalacat. Take a left turn towards Angeles City and right turn into Clark. On entering the main gate, proceed along Roxas highway and the Balloon Fiesta will be to your right. Car trips usually take about an hour and a half to two hours from Manila.