Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our Valentine weekend was really HOT!

Valentines Day 2010 brought Liz and I to the Clark Air Field in Pampanga for one really HOT weekend
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The 15th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.


We were up bright and early on that sunny Valentines Day morning as we made our way through the streets of Clark Air Base. We had stayed at Hotel Stotsenberg for the evening after Duty Free Shopping and dinner at a grill and wine restaurant.  We got lost several times while looking for a dinner place there, and so we read the directions to the Fiesta venue carefully.  Thankfully we did not get lost again!
Un-inflated hot air balloons!
As we finally entered open area after a long queue, we saw the still under-inflated balloons in a distance. Liz and I excitedly looked for a good photo spot amidst the huge throng of people...

Our National Colors

A few moments later, the Philippine National Anthem was played loudly on the speakers and a group of 3 people parachuted, one of them was carrying the Philippine flag. What a glorious sight to behold...

"...sa dagat at bundok, sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw..."

"...Ang kislap ng watawat mo’y tagumpay na nagniningning..."

Right after that, a band began to play and children in bird costumes began their dance program. Unfortunately for us, we couldn't really see the kids perform because there we so many people. Seriously, there were more than 5,000 in attendance!


They're full of hot air!

As I jealously took note of everyone else's DSLR cameras (haha), I snapped some photos of the hot air balloons being inflated.  You could hear the loud blast of fire into the mouths of the balloons as they slowly began to inflate...

The blast of fire and the hot gases filled the balloons

The most remarkable of the hot air balloons were those not of the typical spherical form - there was a sun complete with rays, a turtle, a beer bottle and even a barn with cows!

One by one, the hot air balloons began to fly with the sunrise,
leaving us poor earthbound creatures behind...
We stayed at the venue until all of the balloons were up in the air and headed back to Hotel Stotsenberg for breakfast.  After a quick breakfast, we rested a bit then checked out and headed back to the Fiesta.

Walking around we saw some souvenir items, shirts and hats, a real Yellow Cab, big motorbikes, small aircrafts, and a lot of people flying a lot of kites. We cooled off by eating Chowking HaloHalo and SnowCones.


At around 3pm, they did the disappointing Valentine's drop. We were expecting they would shower the 5000+ people there with roses or chocolates and candies, but what we got instead was one short blast of something like 10 packages - I have no idea what was inside. :p

By then the heat had become too much for Liz and so we decided to head back home to Manila.  We had our fill of fun in the sun - it was definitely a hot and awesome Valentine's Day.


Travel Tips for those attending the Hot Air Balloon Festival

Some parting tips for those planning to go to a Hot Air Balloon Fiesta:
  • Book your hotels early - like 2 or 3 weeks in advance. They will run out of rooms my the last week before the event.
  • Go early to avoid the traffic jams and the long queues. 
  • They time the flight of the balloons at sunrise so it would be good to be there before 6am.
  • Bring a mat or a small chair to sit on. Or a tent. 
  • Bring an umbrella or a huge hat. And dark eyeglasses.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Wear clothes that are cool and comfortable - it will be very very hot especially at noon.
  • Expect some downtime - bring a book, a kite or a gameboard - something to pass the time.
  • Or you can just go back to the hotel or go shopping at a Duty Free Store in Clark or go somewhere where there's air conditioning - just get a stamp on your arm on your way out.
    And finally, proof that I was there too. ;)


    Reyjr says, papanam?

    You can click on the photos to view them in full size.
    All photos were taken using my Canon Ixus 90IS point and shoot camera. :)





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    12 comments :

    1. how very cool. love hot air balloons...and all the creativity in their colors and shapes...fun trip!

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    2. Very cool! Thanks Brian. It was fun indeed. Different from our typical vacations.

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    3. Ha ha ha.. kailangan talaga Rey na i-emphasize na point and shoot ang camera? LOL! Go na, buy na ng DLSR!!!

      I long to watch that festivity.. Pero, wala akong makasama, he he he.

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    4. No picture of you riding the hot air balloon. Four words: Bok - bok-bok. Chicken! Ahehehe.

      Ganda naman ng kuha mo. Di halatang point and shoot. LOL. Di mo nakita si Roy sa tabi-tabi? :)

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    5. Naku, kanila na lang ang balloons nila. Ang pagkamahal naman ng ride na
      yun. Do you think you could have gotten a deal if ikaw na lang kumanta ng
      national anthem? Ahehehe

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    6. Ha ha ha.. Probably, those pictures were inviting you to buy an SLR na :D

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    7. Waah! You didn't tell us you were going there also. Boks and I were inside the field running around like crazy. Hahaha. Sayang.. Next year! :)

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    8. Belated Happy Valentines! That's really an awesome way to spend Valentines. I somewhat got this "The Ugly Truth" film feeling when I saw the balloons and all. Nice!

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    9. Rey,

      Sayang, di ka namin napuntahan. sumasam na ang pakiramdam ko noon, pero nagwowork pa rin ako. Anyway, ang gaganda ng kuha. punta kayo ni Liz next time para mamasyal tayo naman sa fields' avenue ...lol..sa night life. Andun din daw sina Bloggista and Ceblogger.

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    10. Sorry about that and i'm happy to know you're fine. :)

      I didn't know they were there too! It's kind of funny how many people I found out was actually also there when we were. I know the place is huge, but still. :p

      We are thinking of going to Mt. Pinatubo or to Subic next time. Will let you now maybe we can meet up then. :D

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    11. hi there, nice site you have. namiss ko tuloy ang pampanga at clark, i thought pampanga made a mess for the past months (GMA running for congress in my district, the unseating of Among Ed) but when I saw the flag on your post with the captions of our National Anthem, it felt so different. thanks and God bless

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    12. It was very helpful thank you so much for sharing. I will share it with my friends. Thanks

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