Tuesday, February 15, 2011

getting high with hot air balloons!

"I think I might fly away in my hot air balloon and hide from worldly worries on the dark side of the moon, there's but one thing I need before I float into the blue, I need a sky companion and I want it to be you."
                                                               - Balloon Graeme King

I was already expecting this trip as a solo experience as jayjay needs to go home to his province, but I was still hoping that he will join me. I was all set 2 days before the event when jayjay told me that he wants to join me (hindi ako natiis yebah!) We decided to go there in the morning since it will be the last day of the event and for sure there would be a lot of people and my digicam would not be able to capture the balloons at night.

We arrived at Five Star bus station in Cubao at around 2:30 am, I was very particular with time for this trip because if we will be delayed even for just an hour we might miss the balloons. There was no air-conditioned bus that leaves that early, It was fine with me all I want is to be there on time. We asked the dispatchers if there will be any air-conditioned bus that will pass by Dau they told us to wait along EDSA because the AC bus from Pasay was about to arrive. Good thing we were a little early the bus from Pasay just arrived and there were already groups of people waiting for it as well. Most of them seem to be also going to the balloon festival. Normally travel time from Cubao to Dau takes 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the traffic, since we left very early we were able to reach Dau after an hour and 15 minutes only I wasn’t even able to take a nap.

After reading pinaysolobackpacker’s entry about the balloon festival, since then I have memorized how to go to Clark by commuting. From Dau stop over, we need to cross the road going to Caltex and there would be jeepneys going to Clark main gate. We were about to go to the jeepney station when jayjay saw several vans and fx in front of Jollibee just beside the bus station, he found out that these were going straight to the festival’s site for P50/pax. It was a bit expensive because it will only cost you P16 if you will take the regular transportation. Since I was very worried about not being there on time we decided to take the van. 


It was a short ride, 20 minutes later we were already there. There were already a lot of people lining up for tickets and the parking lot was almost full. Good thing I already purchased tickets from TicketNet 2 days ago. As usual I was all smiles hehe always excited!

20 minutes later the gates opened and we did not have problem falling in line since we already have tickets. We went straight to the viewing area and there were barriers and monoblock chairs where people can stay. We were not able to score chairs so we just used the barrier to rest our backs. It was just 4:30 am but there was already a big crowd of all ages. There were families, group of friends, couples and more. I keep on praying that we will be blessed with good weather so that all of us would enjoy the show.

early birds catches the chairs

We waited for almost an hour when one by one the balloon participants started to arrive. Three paragliders were also in the air circling the whole field. When we heard the national anthem I was all giddy-excited, this is it! One of the paragliders circled the viewing area and he was carrying the Philippine flag, I am proud to be a Filipino (naks!)

proud pinoys!

When the national anthem was finished, loud cheers erupted from the crowd! Then one by one the balloon participants started setting up their balloons. When one of them showed the fire-thingy (hindi ko alam tawag dun e hehe) that makes the balloons fly the crowd again erupted with cheers! One by one they started coming to life.

fire in the hole!

mt. arayat in the background

There were 27 participants this year from all over the world. With Mt. Arayat on the background you can see balloons of different sizes, colors and several countries participating. While waiting for the balloons to inflate 3 paragliders were doing air show for the crowd. Every time they circled our area they have a different formation.

the "A" formation

the small "r" formation

the straight line formation

After a few minutes one of the balloons started to float, shutterbugs started all over the place. This was not only a festival of hot air balloons but also a festival of cameras! From the simplest digicam (like mine) to the most expensive-looking dslr! I was already starting to save for something like an entry level dslr so that my digicam will have a sister and will not be lonely anymore hehe… 

up up and away

sun starting to rise

One by one balloons started climbing up, there was only 1 balloon that was not able to fly, it was a little smaller than the others and I think it was due to the wind that it was not able to fly. 2 of the balloons were able to float but halfway through the field they went down, it was the snowman and dark vader, I think they want to have breakfast together first hehe…

my favorite of them all!

coming to life

house of air

At 7:30 am all of the balloons were out of the field I keep on asking myself where they were going to land because they need to be back before the 6pm show, jayjay told me that it was not anymore my business (oo nga naman).

one at a time

ala one piece

where the hell are they going to land

Then we started looking around, there were several food stands and kiosk offering several products and souvenirs, motorcycles and gadgets used by the military. We have our baon and looked for a shaded area to eat. Jayjay enjoyed the event (except for the scorching heat) and I was happy, I don’t want him just dragging his feet just to join me, I want him to enjoy everything about it. While we were eating parachuters were in the air and after a few minutes several planes were also in the air doing air shows.

 soaring high
 As much as I want to ride the balloon I do not have $150 to spare (ang mahal ha!). The hot air balloon festival was something worth experiencing especially for people like me who has not seen one before. It was also something worth seeing together with your loved ones like my jayjay (aawwww! pak!) Happy V-Day everyone! <3

i <3 jayjay

By commuting: Ride a Five Star bus or any bus which will take a bus stop at Dau bus terminal. From Dau bus terminal walk towards Caltex where jeepneys are available, these will take you to Clark Main Gate. From there jeepneys are available going to the festival grounds.

By private vehicle: Take the NLEX from Manila and exit at Dau, Mabalacat. Take a left turn towards Angeles City and make an easy right turn going to Clark itself. After entering the main gate proceeds along Roxas highway, the venue is located on the right side.

EXPENSES: (per person)
Bus going to and from Dau – P246
Van going to Clark – P50
Jeepneys going back to Dau bus terminal – P16
Food: P50


thepinaysolobackpacker said...

congrats you've made it girl! :) happy travels! :)

*mOmOt KuYiT* said...

tnx gael! hopingthat our paths will cross someday :)