The 22nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival is nearly approaching. Much like last year, the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta will be a four-day event which will start from February 8 to February 11. The schedule of activities, however, are not yet officially released but allow me to share you the things that you must consider before attending this wonderful and colorful event. (You can also check their webpage for the updates – https://www.philballoonfest.net/).
Without any further ado, here are the things you should now before going to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta!
Arrive in the Venue As Early As Possible
One thing that you might really want to avoid in this event is the long queue. Although the queue is seemingly unavoidable, you can at least save so much time by arriving in the venue as early as you possibly can. The event usually starts as early as 6 am and the main event was annually held at the Omni Aviation Complex in Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga. Last year, we arrived at the venue around 3 in the morning and we were already welcomed by a long queue of people. We had to bear with such long queue and take note that we already bought our ticket in advance (which saved us so much time). The gates will open at 5am. Buying tickets online or through SM Ticket outlets are very ideal too to avoid the long wait.
Bring Tent or anything that Could Protect You From The Scourging Heat!
It is going to be a whole day event and it is going to be an open field as well so kindly expect a scourging heat of the sun. It is very interesting to note that visitors are allowed to bring their own tent (and food) inside the venue. It is going to be freaking hot so if you are looking for a great spot to take your photos, you must arm yourself with some protection from the heat of the sun to secure your spot without the need of finding a place to shed. You must bring and apply sun block too.
Bring Your Best Camera but not Your Drone
Who doesn’t want to capture this very special moment right? Of course, you should bring your camera or your mobile phones to capture every special moment from this event. You are allowed to bring no matter how huge your gear is whether you are taking it professionally or just taking photos for your own remembrance. If you are lucky enough, you might consider as their media partner which might allow you to obtain the Photographer’s pass which gives you access to their launch area, otherwise, you just have to find a nice spot to capture those hot air balloons. Please be mindful that the venue is an active airfield so for security reasons, Drones are not allowed in the event. Same thing goes to any remote controlled aircrafts and even hoverboards.
It’s More than just Balloon flights.
Aside from the hot air balloon flights, the event also showcases a decent amount of other fun activities that you can freely participate. There will be a bunch of exhibition booths organized by Philippine Air Force and different Aviation students from different schools. The Philippine Air Force booths will even allow you to see some of the tools and weapons they use during their mission. Real tanks and aircrafts are also displayed on the venue. Car exhibition, paragliding, search and rescue flight demonstration, skydiving are just few of the activities and shows that you can witness during the event. To make it even more fun, you can also buy kites or participate in various activities such as horseback riding, archery and a whole lot more.
Don’t Miss Out the Night Glow
This is going to be a four day event but usually the last two days are more special because of the Night Glow! You actually have two opportunity to catch the balloon flight in each day. In case you missed the Morning Hot Air Balloon Flights (5:30 to 6Am), you can still catch them in the afternoon around 5pm if the wind conditions are favorable. If you are lucky enough, you can get an opportunity to witness the balloons illuminating the aviation field by night. The balloons will be tethered on Saturday and Sunday night for the so-called Night Glow. This is where tethered hot air balloons are burning together at night, often to the beat of music.
Bring Extra Money
Again, this is going to be a whole day event so make sure you got enough energy for the entire event. There will be an overwhelming amount of stalls in the event where you can buy your meals. Of course, you should not miss buying those cute souvenirs as well. Some activity booths have fees so make sure you have extra money in your pocket if you want to try them all. Better yet if you have US$350 to spend, you can actually ride the hot air balloon for one great and highly memorable experience. You can also try other activities like Airplane rides ( US$ 150 per person). There’s also paragliding ($150/person) and Skydiving ($400/ person). You can check their webpage for all the pricing details
Get Enough Sleep!
In case you want to attend the festival, just make sure to get enough sleep, otherwise, you’ll end up like me who had to find an empty booth just to get enough sleep hahaha
The general admission ticket/per day and per person by the way is worth 500Php
Revisit last years Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival through these links below
Hare and Hound Balloon Flight
Activities At 20th PIHABF
PAF Booths And Exhibits
Real Tanks and Aircrafts
Other things to consider.
Take note that the event is not allowing overnight stays as the venue closes at 10 PM but there are many hotels nearby where you can stay. You can check the list of hotels Near Clark Pampanga here.
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