Have you ever seen a balloon? Of course, We all have seen a balloon, whether in birthday parties, carnivals and parks. But trust me, when you happen to see a huge balloon, it’s a different thing.
Last February 12, 2017, I had the opportunity to witness a remarkable event, the 21st Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta which was held at Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga. This 4-day event showcases different colorful hot air balloons, aviation shows, skydiving, paragliding and many thrilling aerial exhibition. This event only happens once in every year so it should not be missed. We went there on the last day of the festival. We left our places at exactly 12:00 am since the event starts early in the morning between 5:30 am t0 6:00 am. Gates opened at 4:00 am but we managed to bought our tickets around 3:00 am even though the queues were long. Our tickets costed for only P350.00 individually. Tickets may be bought at the event’s site or through online.
*Gen Ad – P350.00 / day
*VIP Passes – P6,000.00 / day
*Airplane Discovery Flights – $150.00 / person / ride
*Tandem Paragliding – $150.00 / person / flight
*Hot Air Balloon Rides – $350.00 / person / ride
*Tandem Skydiving – $400.00 / person / jump
*Aerobatic Flights – $400.00 / person / ride
The entrance fee is valid for the whole day. Children below 3 feet are free while Senior Citizens can avail 20% discount by presenting their valid ids. There were a lot of booths and food stalls which you can go to and have fun if you wish to pause for a moment in watching aerial shows. Early in the morning, during the event, I was able to capture different hot air balloons during inflation and fly-off moment.
Note: The lift-off of hot air balloons are dependent on wind’s condition, should it be favorable, then the hot air balloons can be surrendered into the sky.
Schedule: (Fourth Fiesta Day)
5:30 am – 6:15 am RC UFO Flying
6:20 am – 6:35 am Skydiving Phillipine Flag Jump
6:40 am – 7:40 am Hare and Hound Hot Air Balloon Flights
7:40 am – 8:15 am Twinz Synchronized Paramotor Exhibition
8:15 am – 8:45 am PPHGA Tandem Paragliding
8:45 am – 9:30 am ACFC Ultralight/ Microlight Aircraft Formation Flights and Flour Bombing
9:30 am – 9:45 am Sean Clarke Super Decathlon Aerobatic Show
9:45 am – 10:00 am Retired British Red Devils Skydiving Exhibition
10:00 am – 10:45 am Fire Fighting Demonstration
10:45 am – 11:15 am Gen Av Light Aircraft Balloon Bursting Competition
11:15 am – 12:00 pm Supercar/ Drifting Performance
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm Rolf Dunder Aerobatic Glider Flight
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Omni & Air Link Flyby
1:30 pm – 2:00 pm KAP Kite Flying Demonstration
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm Model Airplane Show
2:30 pm – 2:45 pm Retired British Red Devils Skydiving Exhibition
2:45 pm – 3:00 pm Helicopter Flight Display
3:00 pm – 3:15 pm Sean Clarke Super Decathlon Aerobatic Show
3:15 pm – 3:45 pm Model Airplane Show
3:45 pm – 4:15 pm ACFC Ultralight/ Microlight Aircraft Formation Flights and Flour Bombing
4:15 pm – 5:15 pm PPHGA Tandem Paragliding
5:15 pm – 5:45 pm Twinz Synchronized Paramotor Exhibition
5:45 pm – 7:00 pm Hot Air Balloon Night GlowExhibition
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Cultural Exchange Concert
7:00 pm – 7:30 pm Fireworks
Gates closed at 10:00 pm
Luckily, we were wearing clothes which can protect and shade us from the heat of the sun since it’s a whole day event and there were no tents available that you can use under the sun. We just bought our foods at Jollibee food stall and brought our own water and snacks. They said that it might be the last Hot Air Balloon Festival here *fingers crossed* hopefully not.
Group of 4
Tickets – P350.00 / per head x 4 = P1,400.00
Gas – P250.00 / per head x 4 = P1,000.00
Breakfast – P150.00 / per head x 4 = P600.00
Lunch – p200.00 / per head x 4 = P800.00
Total = P3,800
Total per person = P950.00
So I would say that the safe budget if there would be another festival next year is P1,000.
It was a spectacular show and hopefully we would witness another event like this. Indeed, it was a weekend of everything that flies.