The 16th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta was awesome as it was tiring. We went on a Saturday and saw the balloons Sunday morning but all that shuffling and planning was well worth it because of this:
In a weekend where everyone from Manila decided to trek to Clark, it all boiled down to DW just screaming “WOW!!”, “GANDA” ,“DAMI” and “WOW GANDA DAMI BALLOONS!!!” at all the colorful hot air balloons in the field.
It was a sight to see those big nylon giants bubbling up in the morning sun 😀 People gasped when the gas burners are being fired up and the anticipation of seeing which balloons would fly up first was just wonderful! There were also gliders that would fly across the sky every now and then. When the Philippine anthem was played, a glider with the pilot carrying a Philippine Flag flew by which definitely jazzed up the crowd!
TIP: Be at the freeport area early to get good parking and to avoid the rush of people getting in. There are a lot of foodstalls inside so breakfast and coffee are not a problem. Some brought their own food and did a mini-picnic at the grounds.
We stayed at Hotel Stotsenberg, a sprawling property with over 200 rooms but they were all booked. We had to wait half a day for our rooms but you can’t blame the hotel staff who stayed nice and pleasant throughout the ordeal. It was just that kinda weekend and the rush of people checking in and checking out overwhelmed the front desk. We want to go back to this hotel though. Even with the check in fiasco, the staff were really helpful and nice and the pool looked really inviting.
Tip: When you want to go to the hot air balloon fiesta, know when the dates are and book rooms RIGHT AWAY (if you’re staying overnight) as hotel rooms get booked pretty fast. We got rooms at the far-end of the hotel complex, which was still ok but it was a bit of a walk to the front of the hotel.
And then of course, there were the balloons:
Darth Vader was there too but he was a snob and refused to face us haha:
Even with the really big crowd at the field, it was kept clean because these Caltex Cleaners roamed the area, collecting trash. Really good idea I think.
We bought DW his own hot air balloon. BDW had to wait an hour in line just to get the balloon though. It was made to order and you get to pick your own balloon color.
We also bought DW a small pinwheel. There were a lot of kites flown in the area too. I want to buy one for DW soon at the mall soon. Summer is coming soon and we could all go kite flying in UP in the weekend!
There were other activities during the day but we decided to head out because it was getting hot and we needed a proper breakfast. Besides we were all so sleepy because we all woke up at 4:00 am!
I did notice some things that I feel the organizers should pay attention to:
There was just one big entrance and exit for all people. It’s not safe to say the least. When we got out there was an ambulance waiting to get in. What if there was a person inside the field who needed medical attention and that ambulance can’t get to him in time?? Tsk!
It also took us almost 2 hours to get back to the hotel. The field was just a 15 minute drive max. It was terrible. Better pack snacks for the ride back folks.
Did any of you go to the fiesta? What things did you notice there? Haay, as for us, we want to go back next year haha 😀