In celebration of the centennial year of airplanes in the Philippine skies, comes the 16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival (PIHABF) in Clark Airfield, Pampanga. This is held every year on the week of Valentine’s Day but it was actually only last year that I first ever heard about it from my office friend. So when my other office friends, Neil and Ge, invited me to come this year, I was up for the chance to join just another festival.
Travel Date: Feb 12, 2011
Travel Buddies: Yeyep, Carina, Gerald, Neil and Tere
The program says that the balloons will start flying by 5:30 AM. So we met up early, around 3AM, at the Five Star Bus Terminal in Cubao to get to Clark by 5AM.
Unfortunately, air-con buses will only start their trips at 5AM. We didn’t want to miss the daybreak inflation of the balloons so we took the ordinary bus to Dau instead. And we arrived there after almost an hour, 4AM. That’s really early. :)
Bus Line: Five Star Bus (Cubao Terminal)
Ordinary Bus Fare Cost to DAU: Php 56.00
Jeep Fare Cost to Clark Airfield: Php 18.00
Festival Entrance Fee: Php 150.00 (contribution to the PIHABF Foundation, Inc.)
There’s a pretty long line when we got to the event field. We bought tickets and then, proceeded inside to find a nice space to take pictures later on, which was a bit difficult because there were already a lot of people inside. Aargh!
The take off starts here –
By around 6 in the morning, they get things started with a few paratroopers in the sky while the balloons are being inflated in the field.
..and away they went — the much-awaited Hot Air Balloons!!
It was a cloudy morning. The sky was pale and dull so it was hard to take vibrant shots of the balloons.
Some other standard-shaped balloons..
Side Trip: Clark Veterans Cemetery
It was still early when the main event came to an end, around 8AM. So we decided to drop by Clark Veterans Cemetery, just a short jeepney ride away from the Clark Airfield and near SM Pampanga. We walked around and took some photos there. And then, we had a breakfast and travelled back to Manila.