Mar 3, 2013

The Hot Air Balloon Festival, Clark, Pampanga

Waking up as early as 3am in order to leave by 4am to catch the 5:30am launch flight of the hot air balloons is really difficult for a night owl like me who usually sleeps at 2am. That's the reason why it took me the 18th year to finally check out  the Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Clark Field, Angeles, Pampanga.

We were already within the parking area when we saw the first balloon took off and walked quite far to reach the main venue.
Hot Air Balloon Festival
a long walk to reach the venue
It was already jampacked by 6am and all eyes were turned upward when hot air balloons started taking off  one by one.

18th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
the camping grounds
Most of them who came to watch were prepared. I was planning to bring things as well but failed to do so because the whole week is quite busy for me and the night following the event just managed to sleep for an hour, showered and grabbed my work bag (meaning I wasn't able to sort my things) and my camera then took off and just relied on my companions to at least bring some essentials.

18th Hot Air Balloon Festival
up up and away

18th Hot Air Balloon Festival
the elephant balloon
18th Hot Air Balloon Festival
the sun balloon
This sun balloon failed to take off and probably the culprit why at 8 in the morning, it was so damned hot already. ;)

Anyway, I realized its always best to come prepared for outdoor events like this especially if you intend to watch the whole program from sunset to sundown. My tent would have been most useful had I brought it. Can't help but envy those people who came ready with their picnic baskets, coolers, mats, covers and such. Although there were many vendors selling food and drinks and some essentials, it's always cost effective if you know how to make the most of what you already have. Well, next time! ;-)

18th Hot Air Balloon Festival
the group
We had to buy a mat from one of the stalls here, so we can lie down, relax and enjoy the show. I wouldn't want to miss the Breitling Jet Team strut off their flying prowess.

18th Hot Air Balloon Festival
Awesome Breitling Jet Team
light aircraft / gliders
I would love to one day ride this glider with Christian Grey on the pilot seat (ok in my dreams, lol)!

It's getting hotter by the minute and we decided to cool down and explore Clark. It's only 9am by the way, and we have enough time left before going back here again to catch the night glow and the concert.

Going out of the Omni Aviation Field is a tortured long walk back to our vehicle. I hope next time they can find a way to make the parking more accessible to the venue. Just see how awful we look after that sweaty 15 mins walk.

Our first stop, Fontana Resort Villas. A friend of my cousin is at that time billeted at one of the expensive Villas of Fontana and they invited us over. It's a perfect time to freshen up and chill for a moment.

Well, I think I finally look refreshed here, though I'm such a bummer and didn't  bring an extra shirt, while all the rest had time to change clothes and some dipped on the pool.

After 2 hours, we had to figure out where to eat and my googling lead me to this eatery offering authentic Kapampangan cuisine. It's located outside Clark freeport and right in the heart of traffic
 and crowded Angeles City. It was our first time driving around Angeles and so we had to stop 
and ask for directions most of the time. We were already getting uneasy with all the traffic 
and commotion on the road and wanted to retreat back but I insisted and thinking silently, 
these better be good or else I'll get the ire of those following us behind on another car.

Here's the place, Everybody's Cafe located at Nepomart.  My food review is here
I'm just glad I insisted we eat here.
18th Hot Air Balloon Festival
Everybody's Cafe
Afterwards, a short walk away lead us to Susie's Cuisine, where we enjoyed a glass of yummy halo halo and some yummy kakanin and also brought some pasalubongs from here. My detailed review to follow soon.

18th Hot Air Balloon Festival
Susie's Cuisine
By 2 pm, we've accomplished a lot and our tummys had a gastronomic adventure of their life ^_^. It was  still hot to get back to the Hot Air Balloon Festival venue, so we roamed around and check the Duty Free Shops that abound.

We got back at around 4pm and the weather is a lot better, windy and no more sun rays. We had the time to check the light aircrafts on display.

18th Hot Air Balloon Festival

18th Hot Air Balloon Festival

And then waited for the sunset while watching the paragliding exhibition.

18th Hot Air Balloon Festival

We stayed till 8pm and was able to catch the first part of the concert and only saw 2 hot air balloons being set up for night glow. I heard more balloons glowed later that night.

18th Hot Air Balloon
night glow
I was dead tired when I got home by 11pm and surprised to wake up realizing I wasn't able to wash up and change clothes before going to sleep, hahaha, bummer!

Anyway, the experience was all worth it, accomplished a lot in one day.

And to top it all,  my niece, my little arf arf, despite the long walk and the exhaustion and the numerous activities we had, never once complained, acted grumpy and requested to be carried. She was a real trouper the whole time like most of us and as such deserves a ride on my own version of hot air balloon :-))

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