Clark Freeport Zone – 16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Duration: Overnight if you live far from Clark, 3-5 hours if you’re from nearby
Budget: ~Php150 for the ticket, Php50 for the parking fee (if you get lucky, you won’t even spend a single cent to see the balloons )
Bummers: Waking up very early to see the balloons fly
So let’s spend, the afternoon in a cold, hot air balloon.. -Owl City
Once every year, the Clark Air Field grounds turn into launch pad of giant hot air balloons. This year, the 16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta was celebrated from February 10-13. Different activities were spread out the 4-day event with the flight of the hot air balloons as the highlight of the program.
Year after year, more and more hot air balloons join this fiesta. More and more spectators also attend the event to have a peek of these colorful balloons as most successfully fly up in the air while some just manage to go a little high up the ground before they decide to just stay in the ground, permanently. Like last Sunday, February 13, Darth Vader and the Snowman took off a little then immediately landed on the ground.
Aside from the two balloons above, there are some novelty hot air balloons that caught my attention. There was the man in a barrel which I was expecting a surprise under his barrel. There was the flying house full of farm animals. There was a also a giant mushroom who might be from Mario Bros. There was also a balloon with heart prints and I was lucky enough to take a photo while it was burning (with love..).
I think the Hot Air Balloon Fiest has become over-commercialized. Some people said that before, there was no fee when you want to enter the grounds where the hot air balloons are. Now, you have to pay Php150 for the ticket and Php50 for the parking fee. You really are unlucky if you weren’t aware of the schedule because the balloons are launched around 5:30-7 in the morning. Some days have a schedule for Hot Air Balloon Night Glow between 5-7 pm. That still depends on wind condition and other hot air balloon stuff so sometimes the schedule may change. So, if you weren’t able to arrive on the site on time, you won’t be able to see the colorful balloons fly because once they’ve flown, it’s not fun to stay under the sun anymore. You’ll just get toasted while you get bored.
The traffic was also so bad. Just getting out of the parking lot and to the main road took us about one and half hour driving on dirt and getting stuck in the jam. There was no system with regards to transportation. But I think there isn’t much choice because if you didn’t bring your own car, you will be waiting for a long time until a public utility vehicle comes by.
Well, maybe those darn colorful balloons are worth the sacrifice. I just hope that their system will improve because I think more people would come in the next fiestas.
Spread some awesome..ness..