Hot air Balloon Festival

Clarkfield Pampanga is unusually packed this early 4AM. I remember not getting any sleep during the entire ride, mostly because the music on my boyfriend’s mp3 is so freakin filled with vibrant, jumpy songs it wont send me to sleep. So i settle with looking out the window, admiring the city lights and getting lost in musing.  By 4 AM we entered the Clark Freeport Zone and all the parking lots are crowded. There seemed to be a death march going on as I see multitude of people carrying food, water and  shelter (nah just camping gears I guess), walking straight to the entrance. This is cool, I only brought with me one pack of M&Ms, how are we gonna survive?


Surprisingly, after about 30 minutes of walking (yes! 30 MINS.), we reached the open field where the Hot Air Balloons will be launched. We looked for a good place, settled in by laying a small blanket and our mom’s scarf over the grass and Tadah!  -We have a makeshift campsite/picnic area. Kirby (my boyfriend) and I decided to go grab some food and were ecstatic to see tents set-up with food stalls. Everything that you want is here,  I wont even bother eating my M&Ms. It was still dark, we got ourselves some arroz caldo, barbecue, water and coffee and went back to our makeshift area , embraced by the crowd of people with makeshift tents too.  Eating like a hipster felt good.

By around 5 AM, they are already assembling the balloons, saw some trucks here are there, some spitfire but nothing really happened until 6AM. When one by one, giant balloons are brought to life.



During the show, I was reminded that this is actually an International Festival, so I shouldn’t be surprised to see balloons bearing other countries flags and names.




These are some of my favorites. Another favorite is the one from USA. It was a replica of the Apollo Space Shuttle. It was my favorite because upon flight, the Americans inside the balloon’s basket went screaming and waiving at the crowd. They’re the only one who did that and I wonder why not?  Being there sure is fun.




After all the balloons went up (aside from a couple who failed to be inflated fully),  the sky was filled with paragliding exhibition, awesome skydivers and a parade of ultra light planes.

By 8AM, the sun is up and the scorching heat is unbearable. The next act will be the  Breitling Jet Team Aerobatic Exhibition at around 9AM. So we have a bit amount of time to roam around and grab something to munch.  We took some pictures, check out some stalls and saw alot of people sun bathing for some weird reason.








 Im feelin’ this whole hipster/indie vibe in the middle of this crowd of sweat, plastic bags and cameras


Something to kill this heat! Only these are leaving some tint in your mouth. The blue one looks horrible against my sister’s teeth.


We went back to our spot when it was announced that the jet planes are ready for their stunts. Announcer said that the sky should be clear and no other planes are allowed to fly within the range as it will interfere with the jets’ radar and might jam their communication.  I didn’t know what to expect but it became THE BEST PART of the day for me. Our photos cant give justice to how awesome these pilots are.  But the show was AMAZING. This is the part I will surely come back too. I mean, jet planes doing stunts in the air! I must have watched too many action films.





See some videos from their official website :

By 9:30 , we decided to go back to the van and go home because the heat is UNBEARABLE. I should have brought some tents smh.  It was a  fun day for all of us. You only get to see these things maybe once in your life, and Im glad I was able to see it.  Thankful to be with friends and loved ones, thankful that it didnt rain and thankful that once in this ordinary life, I was able to see things I thought I would only see in the movies. These moments are what I live for. 



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Jona Alday

A corporate slave who finds joy in motivating and leading people but ultimately yearns for weekends and plotted vacation leaves. An Engineering graduate who HATES Math. An acrophobic who conquers mountains. A lover of sleepy towns, dawn, poetry, pancit canton and cats.

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