Weekend Event: 11th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Clarkfield, Pampanga

Hot Air Balloon Night Glow

Hot Air Balloon During the Day

While most people would rather go to Clark at dawn and leave the place in the evening to witness Hot Air Balloon’s take-off and night glow, respectively, we decided to go to Clark in the evening to see the night glow first and the take-off the following day. So we left Manila at 3 P.M., just in time to experience the hot air balloon event in the evening. Traffic wasn’t bad. We arrived at the site at around 5 in the afternoon. The entrance fee in the afternoon (PhP 200) was more expensive than that in the morning (PhP 100). But, thanks to some friends (hehe), we were able to get in for free! The set up for the night glow started at exactly 5:30 P.M. and while many 5,000 people were curiously waiting for the night exhibition, we managed to grab some bite from the food stalls lined up on the right side of the huge field.

We finished eating just in time the balloons were starting to inflate one by one. I watched in awe and wondered on how the creation of such was ever possible. They were so colorful and astonishingly beautiful! When the sun finally set, and darkness loomed over us, the night glow exhibition started. The balloons lit to the tune of disco songs. Ailyn, my best friend, and I took pictures and watched the night glow together. It was actually better to watch the balloons light up from afar to be able to have a better view of each of the balloons. The night glow lasted until around 7 P.M. It was a really, really amazing show to start the night with.

…while waiting for the Night Glow

We spent the night in one of the new, beautifully built Korean hotels, which was around 15 minutes away from the venue, since all the hotels nearby, including the Holiday Inn (Mimosa) Hotel and the Oxford Hotel, were fully booked. Since we decided to have Korean breakfast the next day, we chose to have our dinner in a Mexican restaurant. I wasn’t really able to appreciate the food since I was already beginning to feel tired after a long day.

The next day (the last day of the hot air balloon fiesta), we arrived at the site at exactly 5:20 A.M., just in time the jeeps were arriving at the field to start the hot air balloon set-up. I got a good spot to witness the take-off and to take some photos. The Europeans operated most of the balloons. Festo, for example, is from the Netherlands, Whiskas, from Germany, and the Heart balloon is from Switzerland. There are also some, which came from Asia. Popularly seen was the balloon with the Japanese characters. The take off was just as beautiful as the night glow.

The Sunrise and the Paraglider

Paraglider with the Philippine Flag During the National Anthem

After the official take off, we had our own hot-air balloon take off as well. For a good deal of a Smart-Nokia phone, we were able to experience riding in the hot air balloon of PLDT DSL operated by Indonesians. But the fun didn’t stop there. Aside from experiencing the hot air balloon ride, we were able to witness a sweet event! A guy proposed to a girl using the hot air balloon! :-))) We were actually waiting for our turn to ride when the first person who rode the Smart balloon let a banner down with, of course, the words ‘Will You Marry Me?’. From the official take-off, it caught the attention of many photographers. The rest are the couple’s sweet moments but it was a great add-on to the hot air balloon event! Hehe. Congratulations to the couple! More sweet moments to come! 🙂

The View From the Top

More Balloons and Surprises!

We left the site at around 9 A.M. after visiting the stalls and the military exhibit area. We went back to the hotel for our complimentary Korean breakfast. What else would we have but, Kimchi!!! A variety of Kimchi!

After a few hours rest, we did some shopping at duty-free. It didn’t really take us long to go around the area since many of the shops were closed down, and there were only a few good items from the ones opened. We left Clark’s Duty-Free for a sumptuous lunch at the Pampanga’s famous, A.C. Rumpa! I had one of my favorites at Rumpa – the Chicken Cordon Bleu! A.C. Rumpa is an acronym for Angeles City Retired US Military Personnel Association, which originally opened in 1968. It was jointly owned by US servicemen stationed at the American base, when the base was still operational in Angeles City.

We made our way back home after lunch. It was another tiring, 2-hour drive but we were indeed happy with the weekend event, after experiencing the night glow, the hot air balloon take-off, the hot-air balloon ride, the marriage proposal (not mine, of course, hehe), the all-Korean breakfast, the duty-free shopping, and the lunch at Rumpa!

Sigh… Now it’s back to reality… Tsk, tsk, tsk…

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