The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is an annual event that happens every February of the year in Clark, Pampanga, and I have wanted to go see the hot air balloons ever since I found out about it two years ago. And now finally in 2017, I was able to push through with my plans to visit this event. I really made sure to go this year because I’ve been hearing rumors that this will be the last hot air balloon fiesta. I’m not sure whether they meant last here in the Philippines or just in Clark, because my dad told me that they plan to host the event in another place next year, but still in the Philippines.
We arrived at Clark Freeport Zone at the crack of dawn and surprisingly, there were so many people waiting already! I even saw some tents set up, probably those who spent the night at the venue. Not to mention that it was so cold that my jacket wasn’t enough to warm me up! That was probably the reason why there were so many vendors selling taho on the sidewalk.
They had portable toilets outside of the venue but it was so stinky that I literally had to put perfume on my nose. The inside wasn’t any better because the floor and the toilet seat were covered in mud.
There were different lines for each kind of ticket and since we bought our tickets online, we had to line up at the E-TICKETS area. I knew there were going to be a lot of people, but I didn’t expect it to be so crowded at 6:00 in the morning!
I booked my entrance tickets at Ticketnet for P410. The standard rate of the ticket was P350 if you buy it at their official website, but Ticketnet added an extra P60 for service. I would’ve bought my tickets early if I had known that there would be a deadline for selling of tickets on their official website. Aside from the general admission, they also sell VIP passes for P6,000. Even though buying a VIP pass would’ve made our day at the fiesta more convenient and comfy, it was just too expensive for us and I didn’t think it was worth it.
Now as much as I would’ve loved to ride in a hot air balloon or go skydiving, the bank-breaking prices just wouldn’t let me. Let me break down the prices for you to see: Hot Air Balloon Rides – US$ 350 per person per ride, Tandem Skydiving – US$ 400 per person per jump, Aerobatic Flights – US$ 400 per person per ride, Airplane Discovery Flights – US$ 150 per person per ride, Tandem Paragliding – US$ 150 per person per flight, Helicopter Rides – PhP 7,000 per person per ride.
If I remember correctly, the hot air balloon fiesta also serves as a competition among different countries. It must be the reason as to why the design of each hot air balloon has something to do with a certain country. Like the Turkish Airline on the photo below, for example.
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of my favorite fast food in a food truck! This is my first time seeing one!!
Here are some of the photos that I took during the hot air balloon fiesta:
Aside from the hot air balloons, there were dozens of food stalls all around the venue. The area of the place was also big enough for people to fly their kites.
One of my favorites was the mini car and aviation show that features a big-wheeled 4×4, an army truck, and old planes.
Well, that’s it! I had a really great time in the 21st Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta even though I didn’t ride the hot air balloon or paid for the skydiving and paragliding. I hope this event will return again next year, and maybe then I’ll be able to actually do the adventurous activities that they offer.
How about you? Were you able to go to the fiesta and ride the hot air balloon? If yes, I would love to hear your experience!