17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

I was in Clark, Pampanga for the very first time to witness one of the most anticipated annual events in the country – the 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is an annual sport aviation event participated by different countries around the globe. It features hot air ballooning, aeromodelling, kite flying, aircraft competitions, paragliding, skydiving, dancing helicopters and more. The Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga has become the home to this annual international event for many years now. The wide-open spaces, favorable flying weather, scenic ambiance and the general features and tourist amenities the zone has to offer make it the ideal venue.

It was my first time witnessing such a very spectacular occasion. To be honest, I have never seen a real hot air balloon in my whole life. So, this whole flying thing really thrilled me.

As this event draws multiple crowds from all over the country especially from neighboring towns and cities in Luzon, we were told to get there as early as possible. So by 4 o’clock in the very dawn, we were already at the vast roads of Clark Zone heading to the festival grounds. The traffic was tremendously heavy. The roads were jam-packed by service vehicles all loaded with eager spectators. As early as 4 AM, there were already people lining up to get to the entrance of festival ground. As early as that, I could already feel the excitement of the festival.

It was already past six when we made it to the main event grounds. It was very timing as the first set of hot air balloons were starting to ascend to the skies. Seeing these humungous bloated balloons gearing up to fly high, I was completely dumbfounded. I can’t help but admire this new colorful scene laid before my eyes. It was such a vivid vibrant event I’ve never seen before. Colorful hot air balloons of different sizes, shapes and styles abound the fiesta grounds. People went crazy yelling in full exhilaration every time their favorite balloon flew up. I, on the other hand, was glued in admiration seeing such one matchless spectacle! Magnificent!

Aside from hot air balloon, I got to witness yet another exciting flying event like paragliding and skydiving. It was just awesome. I only see them in movies and television. Seeing them for real is different – truly electrifying.

Everything at the 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is worth seeing and experiencing. For first timers like me, it was an unforgettable experience. I have traveled miles away from Davao City in Mindanao to this part of Luzon to personally witness it and it didn’t fail me. Indeed, it was an awesome trip experiencing a weekend of everthing that flies.

I hope next year I can make it to the 18th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. I know it will be a lot funnier! IT’S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES!