Hot Air Balloon Festivals: Things You Can Expect in Clark, Pampanga
“Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you long to return.” –Leonardo Da Vinci
While Pampanga is known for being the gastronomic and culinary capital of the Philippines, Clark, Pampanga is better known for the hot-air balloon festival—a once in a year much anticipated event. This year, the festival is on its 22nd year marking its longevity and permanence. In fact, the festival has been dubbed as the single biggest gathering of foreign and local aviators. Apart from the main highlight of the event which is the hot-air balloon festival, local and foreign participants would also be performing a variety of aerial activities which adds to the overall crowd-drawing appeal of the event. In line with the coming hot-air balloon festival (held from the eighth of February to the eleventh), here are the scheduled activities you can expect on this 4 day event.
Do note that all flying activities are subject to favorable weather conditions for the safety of the guests as well as the crew.
Open gates and National Anthem
Gates open as early as 4 in the morning and would be ready to accept guests as early as that time. If you wish to get an ideal spot to watch and witness the festivities, it is best if your woke up early in the day so that you can take advantage of the near-empty grounds by then. Remember, this is one of the most attended festivals in the country, so be ready to queue up and wait your turn for admission. The moment the gates open at 4AM, staffs would be ready to accept guests and verify your tickets. For your safety, security personnel will also be doing a routinary check or your bags and packages being brought in. Once you are granted entry, one of the first attractions you can already visit is the Fly Fiesta.
If you have not had any breakfast yet, you can grab a quick breakfast at the food stalls. Considering that this is daybreak, why not take advantage of the early hour by updating your social media feeds with sunrise selfies as well? Moreover, as everyone is still getting prepared, you can watch the various hot air balloons being inflated. If you availed of the Hot Air Balloon Ride ticket, you will be able to enter the launch area and chat with the pilots as they prepare for their flights. VIP ticket holders on the other would also be able to enter the balloon launch patio and the air-conditioned lounge. Do not forget to honor our national anthem as the sun rises as the Philippine Flag will be flown by then.
Morning Hot Air Balloon Flights
If weather and wind conditions are agreeable, be prepared to bring out your cameras or smartphones and take a lot of photos. The hot air balloons take off from the ground at anywhere around 5:30-6AM. You certainly do not want to miss this photo-op moment whether you are boarding a hot air balloon or not.
A Lot of Activities to Expect
As it is considered as the Weekend of Everything that Flies, you can expect everything from Paragliders, dancing kites, radio controlled aircrafts and a myriad of other aerial exhibitions to be taking over the sky. If you bought tickets to any of these activities, you can participate in them as well and would be enjoying quite the ride of your life. However, for those who did not avail of the tickets to any aerial activities or exhibitions, there is no need to fret as there is a lot to do on the ground as well. Oculus Archery will be one of the activities you can enjoy or you can check out the animal exhibit at the Zoocoobia booth. Alternatively, you can simply fly kites and go on a food trip at the various food stalls and trucks.
Take your week to the skies this February and have an experience unlike any other with Clark’s Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival!