TIPS: How to Survive the 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2012 in Clark, Pampanga
Budget : Php200 for the entrance ticket
Duration : half day
Bummers : long walks, large crowds, extreme traffic
(Photo from epagehub)
I was able to experience the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta last year and to my surprise, you really need to prepare yourself if you plan to attend this event. We weren’t really prepared to attend the event and we just went there on impulse. I didn’t expect the large number of people and along with that, the massive traffic jam. So, for those who will be attending this year, here are some tips that I want to share to survive and enjoy the 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2012 .
1. Leave early to attend the event. It doesn’t matter if you bring your own car or you ride the bus, if you can leave the night before then do so. Last year, we came from Tarlac so I thought we didn’t need to leave very early compared if you came from Manila because we were nearer. The hot air balloons are launched early in the morning so if you want to see them fly, you need to be on the grounds possibly before 6AM. When we reached Clark, traffic was already bad. We didn’t even reach the grounds when the balloons were launched. We settled on watching them over the fence but the view wasn’t bad after all. Here are some photos from last year (2011) as proof.
2. Buy tickets through TicketNet. Though there are several ticket booths on site, the long lines of people will certainly test your patience. If you want to enter the grounds instantly when you arrive, you should buy your tickets before getting there.
3. Bring you own drinking water and if you can, your own food. We did this last year and we had fun eating our packed lunch on the grasses. It’s like a picnic. But if you don’t or can’t bring these, there are many stores that sell drinks and food in the event. However, expect them to be a bit pricey. You know, the law of supply and demand.
4. Wear comfortable clothes and bring extra shirt, just in case. The event grounds is an open area. It is extremely hot especially when sun begins to show its full glory. It can get so warm and with the high volume of people, you’ll certainly break into a sweat.
5. Wear closed footwear – comfy rubber shoes is the best option. I don’t suggest you wear open footwear like flip-flops or sandals because even if they are very comfortable to wear, you will walk on dusty, rough road. When it rains, the roads can get muddy.
6. Bring your sunglasses.
7. If you plan to stay longer even after the hot air balloon launch, I suggest you wear sunblock.
8. If you are sensitive to mosquito bites, I suggest you wear a mosquito repellant lotion. Since there lots of grasses around the event area, it is inevitable that you will encounter them.
9. Expect long lines on portalets. I hate waiting in this and sometimes, if you’re unlucky, the portalet you’ve been lining up for is dirty. That’s we only spent half day. After the launch of the hot air balloons, we immediately headed home.
10. Bring extra money for souvenirs. Expect everything to be a bit expensive. There are many souvenir stores in the event area but the prices are.. well, high.
11. There are shuttles going around the area that can bring you to and from Marquee Mall. I think, they are free. You can have your lunch there in case you plan to stay longer for the event.
I am not sure if I’ll be going this year but I know it will be as awesome as last year. So, if you haven’t gone yet, this is your chance!
Spread some awesome..ness..