February 3, 2014

Clark, Pampanga: The Hot Air Balloon Festival

It's February! The season of Superbowl, the start of the Chinese New Year, the preparation for Valentine's day, and the beginning of summer. Last February 2013, it wasn't only love that floated in the air... we also had balloons. :) 

Unfortunately, the 19th Hot Air Balloon Festival, an annual event held every February at Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, was almost cancelled until the Department of Tourism decided to take over the event. This year's festival will be moved to April 10-13, 2014 instead but on the same venue.

In case you're planning to go, here are some friendly tips based from last year's experience:

1. Go for morning.

I met up with my group at 4am. Parking is a little far from the event, so you might want to get there early to avoid walking too far. Since it's an open area, going for the afternoon sun may easily drain and soak you up with sweat.

My advice: wake up as early as 4am to get to Clark in 1 1/2 hrs. Plus, you'll be able to see the sunrise and how they inflate the hot air balloons. :)

2. Bring your own mat.

You can stand for hours looking up, or you can lie down and enjoy the event. Having your own mat with your umbrella can protect you from dirt and heat. Last year, SM kiosks were selling mats made out of thin tarpaulins. If you can manage to recycle an old tarp, do it. You'll never know if the ground is dry or soaked. Apply sunscreen too. It takes hours on watching jets and planes dance in the sky.

3. Bring your own snacks and drinks

There may be lots of tents who sell these but if you want to spend less, bring your own. 

4. Public restrooms are limited

... and a little dirty. You're gonna need a lot of patience and understanding with the long line too.

5. Enjoy, chill, and take this opportunity to gaze and space out at the sky

Take out your best tunes and just chill like you're in the beach. This event reminds me of Woodstock too... only with planes and balloons. 

How much should you bring?

Entrance ticket - P250.00
Lunch - P200.00
By Car: Gas and Toll - P1,000.00 (max) 
If you're looking for a unique event where you can just sit down, play with your pet, listen to your tunes, or just chill with your friends, the hot air balloon festival is worth the trip. For more info about this year's festival, click here.