I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since the last Hot Air Balloon Festival at Clark, Pampanga! And since the next one is coming up pretty soon (February 11-14, 2016 – next week!), might as well make this a post on tips on how to prepare and what to expect!
I attended my first ever Hot Air Balloon Festival yearsss ago and since then, I’ve always wanted to experience it every year. Unfortunately, I would always have a reason to miss it and thought that last year was no different. However, plans cleared up last minute and I finally witnessed flying balloons once again! <3 It’s definitely something you have to see at least once in your life and so I hope you don’t miss out on it this year! Not to mention, it’s perfectly set on Valentine’s Day weekend!
TIP #1: BE EARLY!
Balloons fly on time, so you don’t expect the schedule to follow Filipino time. Based on experience, balloons are deployed as early as 5:30am (different from what is stated on the schedule). You wouldn’t want to arrive at the place, and miss the main event so make sure you leave early (travel time depends where you will be coming from) and give allowance for traffic too (I’m sure the traffic will be even worse this year!). Last year, we arrived around 6am and was still able to catch some balloons taking off. Although during my first time, we were much earlier so there was much more to see – so better to come super early! For the complete schedule of activities, click THIS.
You might also want to purchase your tickets beforehand to avoid the lines. Tickets are quite affordable, Php 350 for general admission. For more ticket information and ticket selling venues, click THIS. However, if you’re unsure of your plans or too busy, you can also choose to just purchase tickets there (which I did).
TIP #2: THINGS TO BRING
Since our trip was very last-minute, we forgot quite a lot of things. After the main event, the place can get really hot (as you can see in my photos) so if you don’t want to end up one shade darker, bring sun protection such as sunnies, sunblock, umbrella (also in case it rains!) and even a tent! We were so jealous of people who brought and pitched their own tents (not sure if there is a fee though), while we were dying under the sun… lol. But if there’s one thing I didn’t forget, it’s my camera! Thank god.. or else this post is inexistent.
TIP #3: HAVE A PICNIC!
Aside from the tent, the major thing we missed out to bring was a mat. The event place is just an open field so you can easily latag. Although there are a lot of food stalls to eat and buy from — what’s the fun in that? Prepare packed meals beforehand and have a picnic to complete the experience!
TIP #4: WEAR COMFORTABLE AND LIGHT CLOTHES
If there’s one thing I got right it would be my outfit. Even with the picturesque background with the balloons and all, do yourself a favor by choosing comfort over fashion this time. Just wear something light and flowly so you can move around easily and not get sticky!
TIP #5: POST-BALLOON ACTIVITIES
After the balloons fly off, the dilemma: what to do now? There are many other flying activities to do at the event such as kite-flying, paragliding, watch aerobatic exhibitions, etc. If you don’t want to stay, you can also visit other nearby places and explore Clark further (restaurants, Duty Free, etc). You can even continue your road trip and head to Subic!
Hope my five tips helped! For more information about the upcoming 20th Hot Air Balloon Festival, check out their official site.
P.S. Any adventures you’d like me to write about? Comment them below! 🙂