My Hot Air Balloon Ride Experience

“Keni Kayu Kuldas”, “Keni Kayu Kuldas” (Land here! in Kapampangan), the sound of merry kids vibrated through my ear from our hot air balloon as we were about to go down. It was as if they could sense that we were looking for the perfect location to land.

I can’t remember how many times I covered the hot air balloon festival but I can definitely say that this year is the most memorable one. So what made it memorable? Well, I was able to join on the first flight of Bruno hot air balloon from Slovakia.

Bloggers at the Hot Air Ballooon Fiesta by Anagon
Bloggers at the Hot Air Ballooon Fiesta by Anagon

We arrived at the venue at around 6am. Upon arriving, there were already thousands of spectators inside the festival ground, all excited to watch the colorful exhibition of giant balloons from local and foreign flyers.


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The lively festival dancers greeted us with their heart pumping performances and after that, everyone was treated with a couple of amazing stunts from paragliders.

We were told to gather in the VIP area then the ushers brought us to our respective balloons. In no time, each team started to inflate their balloons.

festival dancers
festival dancers
Hot air balloons in Clark
Hot air balloons in Clark
balloon being filled with hot air on the ground before flight
balloon being filled with hot air on the ground before flight
My Hot Air Balloon Ride Experience photo by Rob Pinzon
My Hot Air Balloon Ride Experience photo by Rob Pinzon

It took more than 30 minutes to fill the balloon envelope with air and after inflating it, I was asked to climb into the balloon gondola and wait for takeoff!

Getting Ready
Getting Ready

Our balloon was among the first to fly up in the air. The takeoff was very gentle and soothingly quiet and the feeling of slowly leaving the ground truly took my breath away. Although we had a smooth takeoff, I still felt a mix of fright and excitement but as I look down, I felt like I left all the worries behind as the excitement of flying continued.

Hot Air Balloon Ride
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Hot Air Balloon Festival Ground
Hot Air Balloon Festival Ground
Bruno hot air balloon before the flight
Bruno hot air balloon before the flight

It was more than just a dream come true. Looking at the other hot air balloons gave me a unique perspective as our balloon goes higher. I immediately got excited taking photos and videos and to be honest, the only scary thing was the idea of dropping my gadgets due to too much excitement.

Except for the noise created by the burner that blows fire from propane tanks, I can say that the flight experience was truly relaxing and not intimidating compared to everyone’s expectation.

My Hot Air Balloon Ride Experience
My Hot Air Balloon Ride Experience

“The thrill of quietly floating through the air among the birds is an experience like no other.”

SmartBro LTE at the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
SmartBro LTE at the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Just like the ride itself, I also enjoyed uploading photos and 360 videos on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks to my ever reliable Smartbro LTE, I was able to access my social media accounts during the hot air balloon ride.

Hot Air Balloon 360 One photo
Hot Air Balloon 360 One photo
Our Tiny Planet 360 photo
Our Tiny Planet 360 photo
Kids running in the rice paddies
Kids running in the rice paddies

“Keni Kayu Kuldas”, “Keni Kayu Kuldas” (Land here! in Kapampangan), the sound of merry kids vibrated through my ear from our hot air balloon as we were about to go down. It was as if they could sense that we were looking for the perfect location to land.

Landed in Porac Pampanga
Landed in Porac Pampanga

It took us around 40 minutes flying before we finally landed on a cassava plantation somewhere in Porac, Pampanga. Before landing, the Slovakian Pilot gave specific instructions on what I needed to do to make the landing as soft and comfortable as possible.

The landing is the most exciting part of the hot air balloon experience. As we get closer to the ground, I can see a lot of people waiting for us, all waving and smiling.

While waiting for the Chase Team
While waiting for the Chase Team

After we landed, getting off the basket was a bit of a struggle but I guess it’s part of the experience. I then realize that the hot air balloon ride was over but I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. It made me want to ride again, as they say, no balloon rides are the same and I can’t wait to experience it again.

Land Rover Chase Team
Land Rover Chase Team

After few minutes the Land Rover Chase Crew arrived together with the Slovakian Crew. The crew started to pack the balloon and disassembled the basket.

Water Buffalos located few meters from our landing area
Water Buffalos located few meters from our landing area

From the landing site in Porac, Pampanga, the chase crew brought me back to the festival ground with all smiles.

Being that high and looking below gave me the chance for a short period of time to enjoy nature in a very different way. It gave me a certain kind of freedom that I know I won’t get elsewhere. The propane tanks may be loud but the ride was quiet for my soul.

Hot Air Balloon Flight in Pampanga
Hot Air Balloon Flight in Pampanga

Hot Air Balloon Ride tickets are priced at US$ 350 per person. Please take note that ride tickets do not cover the PH? 500 entrance fee (Gen Ad). A separate entrance ticket must be purchased. Each participant will be asked to sign a waiver in the presence of a witness before joining the flight.

Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2018 Tickets are available through the Fiesta’s website, Ticketnet outlets, or at the event gates. For more details, visit philballoonfest.net, follow @philballoonfest on Twitter and Instagram, and like @PIHABF on Facebook.

Also see: Hot-Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

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