That particular moment in the hot air balloon was memorable to me because being a kid, everything that is related to flight never fails to amaze me. The old means of flying for me is a bad-ass one. And now that I am already twenty something, seeing those for real, though I wasn’t able to ride, still fascinated me. That was my experience two years ago, when I had the chance to attend the 11th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clarkfield, Pampanga. It is an annual festival of everything that flies but the main highlight of course is the inflating of the giant balloons with hot air. A dewy morning with sun rising behind Mt. Arayat is the perfect back draft to see those hot air balloons slowly rising from the ground.
Prior to that, I had to walk around some of the historical spots in Pampanga before I met my friend at night. Since it was our first time, we did not know that almost all of the hotels and inns were already fully-booked. Since we had no choice, we took our last option, which is to stay in a motel. Well there’s nothing wrong with that, but with the kind of reputation it has to most Filipinos, its a big no-no especially that we’re both male. But who cares, we need to have a place to freshen up and sleep before we head up to the event.
It was so hard to catch a transport going there even if it’s still too early. There was already a long line up of visitors when we arrived so we just stayed behind the fence and watched them inflating the giant balloons until it gets enough hot air before it can be carried up in the sky. At that spot, it was already a sight to behold.
It was a right decision that we watched behind the side fence rather than entering the area because when we got in, there are stalls blocking the site. Aside from hot air balloons, there were also exhibitions of different aircrafts and aerial shows like paragliding.
We were tired but I know that the experience I had was something great! But still I am envious of Tom and Huck who both were able to ride one.
*Photo was taken last February 2011.