Experience A Weekend Of Everything That Flies at The Hot Air Balloon Festival

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Today is the commencement of the 22nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival, a four-day festival that's held annually at Clark, Pampanga. I can't believe that this event started out as a passion project and now it is now celebrating their twenty-second year and is one of the biggest aviation events in the Philippines.

I was lucky to receive an invite to visit today, the first day of the festival, and see the hot air balloons up close. There were over 10 hot air balloons with different designs, including a strawberry, a porcupine, and a pink elephant. 

We were given a chance to take a ride the balloons but I opted to stay behind so I can watch the other spectacular activities and exhibitions lined up for the day. One of the must-see highlights on the event-site is the Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers. These wingwalkers perform a breathtaking performance of acrobatic maneuvers while standing on top of the wings of their biplanes.

While I was at the event, I've been getting a lot of messages from people asking me about things to remember (what to bring, etc.) and the schedule, so here's a little guide for all of you. 

Things To Remember

1. Bring Your Admission Ticket

The most important thing to bring to this festival is your entrance tickets. The General Admission tickets are P500 per person while the VIP passes are for P6,000 per person. There are photography passes but these are normally given out before the event itself (and oftentimes, you can only secure such passes from partnered companies and sponsors). 

2. Wear Comfortable Clothing

If you're planning to ride a hot air balloon, I highly recommend you wear comfortable pants and tops. Maxi dresses and girly skirts will surely make you look cute but you'll have a hard time getting in the basket. Oh, and don't forget to wear sunblock!

3. Bring Your Favorite Food and Drinks

You're allowed to bring food and drinks inside, which will save you a lot of money. Food and refreshments are also sold around the venue, including my favorites - Jollibee and Potato Corner! 

Have a picnic but please keep the Fiesta grounds clean. :)

4. Drones are not allowed, sorry!

The festival grounds and the area around it is a no-fly zone. I know it'll be amazing footage to capture the balloons up in the sky, we need to make sure our pilots and guests are safe from harm. So please do not attempt to bring AND fly your drones. 

Schedule of Events

Experience a weekend of everything that flies at the Philippine International Hot Air Festival. This event is from February 8 until 11, 2018, and gates will be open from 4AM until 10PM. Visit their official website for more information.

A percentage of the admission fee will go to the PIHABF Foundation Scholarship Fund, granting scholarships to underprivileged but deserving students who want to pursue a career in aviation.

Photos by Ted Claudio