19th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Jul 27, 2015

I never imagined how I will be spending my Valentines day ever since I got single. I would usually just stay at home, watch a DVD and eat popcorn or something. But this year, it was different. I had the chance to celebrate it with fireworks. Moreover, I was even able to achieve my dream of attending one of popular festivals in our country: The Hot Air Balloon Festival in Clark, Pampanga.

Brazil Fireworks Display - 6th Pyromusical Competition

I spent my 2015 Valentines at the seaside of Mall of Asia for the 6th Pyromusical Competition. I was with my friends who later invited me to join them for the hot air balloon festival. It has been our yearly tradition to watch the competition so we finished the show first before heading to Pampanga.

We left Mall of Asia at around 12 midnight. We arrived at Pampanga at around 3AM, thanks to the Waze app for the directions! Hehe. It wasn't their first time to attend however, it was their first time to drive going there.

We proceeded to the event area at around 5AM. There were already a lot of people there and the exhibitors started to arrive. A few minutes later, you can see them setting up their balloons. It was an amazing thing to watch especially if it's your first time to attend. You really get to savor the moment.

When the sun started rising and the sky was clearing, you will begin to see the huge balloons and the complete crowd inside and outside the event area. Everyone got up from the ground and started taking photographs. Lucky were those inside the balloon area.

The event officially started with a flag ceremony. When the anthem started to play, I asked my friend where the flag was and she pointed to the sky. The way they delivered the flag was very unique and still solemn.

The first balloon to be sent up was the Bibbo HotDog Balloon. Since it was my first time to see a hot air balloon and watch it fly, I was in awe for the entire time. The crowd started screaming and clapping as each balloon goes up. It was a very memorable event and experience for me.

Other than the hot air balloon, there were other activities lined up however, the weather was destroying the moment. Just before it started raining, the balloons went down and we all had to take cover. And since the food tents were far from the event area, we decided to leave early ins. We no longer waited for the other activities as the weather wasn't really looking good that day.

© Nicco Inocencio

© Jan Inocencio

It has always been my dream to attend this festival and I'm super happy to finally do so. It was a very tiring trip but very memorable. Next year, I would love to go again but this time, go with the people who haven't been there so they can also have a memory or experience to treasure just like what I have gained from this festival.

Tips For The Next Hot Air Balloon
  • If you're coming from the south or from a place far from Pampanga, make sure to leave early. You must get there before 5AM so you can also see how they setup the balloons.
  • It would be better if you find a hotel or hostel near the event area so you would have enough time to rest, and leave your belongings in.
  • If you're just traveling, make sure to bring enough supplies (food, water, extra clothes, etc).
  • It would be better too if you have a small tent. But if you don't have one, you need a blanket or something you can put on the ground while waiting for the event area to begin. Note: The parking area is far from the event area.
  • It is ideal that you bring small chairs like this.
  • Do not forget to bring an insect repellent.
  • Make sure you know the directions going to the event area. The Waze app was very helpful for our trip. Know the emergency hotlines around the area before heading there too.
  • It would also be ideal to bring your packed meals. The major food stalls will always have long queues. It would be better to just bring sandwiches and meals that will not easily get spoiled.
  • Know where the toilets are so you would easily get there when you need to.
  • Enroll in an unlimited call promo as you will need it in case you've accidentally parted ways with whoever you're with.
  • Invest in a Powerbank. You need to keep your phone charged throughout the event especially if you're using your phone to take photos and videos.
  • Bring an umbrella or a plastic bag to keep your things dry especially your gadgets in case it suddenly rains.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. I know you want to look good but wear practical clothes.
  • Charge your camera batteries and empty your SD cards. Bring extras for backup.
So far, these are the tips I can think of. I hope it will help you plan and prepare for the next hot air balloon festival. If you have additional tips you'd love to share with us, do comment below so I can edit this post and include your suggestions.

Special note: This is a late post. I was not able to post this before due to busy school schedule at SoFA.


What festival did you or do you look forward to this year?


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