Discover Philippines: What the First-Time Goer Should Know About the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

“Balloon filled with hot air, free to fly anywhere; with perfect pressure, it goes in the search of its treasure: Fighting from its fear, somehow, managing to cheer; ignoring hesitation and trying to create its own imagination: Flying in the sky and still trying to reach at the top every play…!!!” –Sakshi


One of the most anticipated events in San Fernando Pampanga is the hot air balloon festival 2019.

While this yearly event has been canceled this year due to the lack of government commitment, there might be other aerial shows and events that could potentially happen outside Clark, Pampanga. As of this writing, the plan to host another aerial event might be a tenuous one but nonetheless, as we get more updates, we can certainly be hyped out about the event. You can read about the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2019’s cancellation here.

Notwithstanding its cancellation, however, it is without a doubt that this yearly event draws spectators by the droves as they color the scenic February sky with various man-made crayons and scribbles in the form of uniquely shaped hot-air balloons. Apart from seeing the sky come to life, attendees can also participate in a myriad of aerial events that are sure to get their adrenaline pumping. Founded and established in 1994, this yearly hot air balloon fiesta continuous to grow more ambitious in their offerings of aerial events each year. What once started as an idea pitch to make and promote hot air ballooning as a feasible aviation sport in the country has now become a full-blown yearly venture. The Hot Air Balloon Fiesta will be a four-day event that happens every February. So, if you have been planning to see this event anytime soon, here are some of the things you must know:


Arrive as early as possible

The early bird catches the worm but in this case, the early attendee gets the best spot and can avoid long queues. Of course, queues are inevitable occurrences you would have to put up with—particularly for events as big as this one. However, you can mitigate the possibility of waiting too long to get in if you arrived as early as possible in the venue. Typically, the event starts as early as 6 AM so from there, you can gauge as to what time you wish to arrive. Buy your tickets in advance and arrive hours before the event is scheduled to open (you can already find a long queue by 3 AM). Gates open around 5 AM.


Bring things that protect you from the heat

While the weather in February can be unpredictable, it is best to come prepared. Considering that this is going to be a whole day event, it is best if you are adequately prepared for what the weather might bring. Monitoring the weather forecast for the date of the event will be useful in helping you determine which things to bring. Typically, on a scorching February day, you would need some protection from the sun. As the event is held in open fields, there are no shady shelters for which you can take refuge from the scourging heat of the February heat. In this regard, it is best if you brought your own tents with you. Organizers have allowed attendees to bring their own tents and food to the venue. If you intend to stay the entire day, expect it to get hot which would constrain you to find a place to stay under the heat. If you are not averse to walking around under the scorching heat just to take aesthetic aerial shots, you can opt to bring and apply sunblock as well.


Do not bring your drones

Of course, capturing the colorful sky and picturesque moments are two of the things that compelled us to buy tickets. In this regard, most of us would want to immortalize the experience by taking photos. While you are within your rights to bring your cameras regardless of how small or big they are, drones are explicitly not allowed. This is to ensure that none of them collides with any of the aerial apparatuses or hot air balloons. Similarly, avoid bringing any remote-controlled aircraft and hoverboards to the event.


It is so much more than just balloon flights

Typically, attendees buy tickets with the thought that they are to see hot air balloons in the sky solely. However, this event is so much more than seeing a myriad of hot-air balloons in various shapes and colors color the sky. The event has other fun activities where attendees are encouraged to participate. Apart from the hot-air balloon flights, attendees can also see other exhibits and booths which are organized by the Philippine Air Force as well as students from Aviation schools. In fact, paragliding, search and rescue flight demonstration, skydiving, car exhibitions are a slew of the activities you can witness on this event. If you wish to participate yourself, you can try your hand at kite flying, horseback riding, archery and so much more.


Get enough Z’s

Keep in mind that the event is likely to last the entire day and if you wish to take full advantage of what you have paid for the ticket then you need to be awake to witness the event in its entirety. With this in mind, get enough sleep so that you would be able to enjoy the event thoroughly.


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