The Weekend of Everything That Flies

By joselle - February 14, 2012

February 11, I hopped on a plane to Manila to meet my boyfriend before we headed off to Clark Pampanga to catch the last day  of the 17th International Hot Air Balloon festival. It was my first time to go to Pampanga, second time in Manila, and I was determined to have a blast. I got to try new food, visit the famous Angeles City strip of bars, and even got to ride the MRT for the first time (hooray for me!)

The last day was on a Sunday and we had to wake up at 4 in the morning so that we won't get stuck in traffic. We took a jeep from our hotel, which dropped us off at another jeep station where we got on a jeep that would take us to Clark. It was still dark outside but the lanes to the Clark Freeport Zone were already clogged with  cars and people, most of them still bleary eyed and sleepy,  but determined to see the balloons fly off into the air. The traffic was really  bad that it  got to a point where  the jeepney driver told us to jump off about a kilometer from the base. We walked all the way to the base, passing scores of cars parked along the highway, their occupants out with binoculars and cameras ready. Everyone was there, entire families, small kids to old people to people with their dogs. The atmosphere, even at that early in the morning, was electric. Everyone was excited to see the balloons.

traffic so early in the morning!

It was exhilarating to see all those balloons floating up in the sky. People gasped and pointed every time one balloon would make its way up into the air. The car and cake balloons, as well as the cheery sunflower, got the most Ooohs and Aaahs. It was also fun watching people whip out their cameras, iPods, camera phones, and iPads to  take pictures. It  field was turned into a field of SLRs as well. We even saw something snapping away in a Hasselblad!!!

Oly and Canon

night shot

The fiesta atmosphere was everywhere in the Freeport zone. There were booths set up, and in the hangars were exhibits of  Air Force combat planes and gear. For P200 you can stay inside the Freeport Zone for the whole day. There was plenty of food, since  fast food joints like  KFC, Jollibee, YellowCab and others have set up shop around the base as well. Families brought blankets and chairs and were setting up spots  for themselves on the grass and they watched the gliders and colorful kites float by. You can also  try your hand at kite flying. There were stalls selling colorful kite as well as souvenirs. Truly a great way to spend a Sunday.

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  1. very nice balloon designs. too bad the sky looks so gloomy :(


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