Visiting Clark in Pampanga for the annual Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta was not really included in my schedule for today but since my friends from Lakbay Norte 2010 made some plans two days ago, I ended up joining them earlier for a short but stress relieving out-of-town trip.
It was almost 4am when we left Munos in Quezon City. We thought we will no longer be able to catch the first flight of Hot Air Balloons but with the help of the super efficient NLEX – we safely reached the festival grounds just in time for the event opening.
After parking (thanks to Bong and Sol for the ride) and paying for the entrance fee (P150), we were able to secure a good spot in the general viewing area within the Air Force City. The 22 colorful balloons finally started to fly-out at around 6am right after playing the Philippine National Anthem.
While roaming around the festival grounds, I saw familiar faces from print media and new media (mostly travel bloggers). I was a bit surprised to see more and more DSLR users in the Festival. Aside from my Nikon D90, I also brought my new camera – Panasonic Lumix LX3 and this was the first event where I used my Lumix camera.
If you are planning to experience the festival, the highlight of the 15th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta will be on February 14, 2010 in which there will be a grand fireworks display to cap the yearly event.
Apart from the colorful 22 Hot Air Balloons from all over the world, they will also showcase air- sporting events like sky diving, ultra-light fly-in, airplane rally and balloon bursting competitions, aerobatic stunts and precision flying, aero-modelers flight exhibition from the Aeromodelers Association, helicopter fly-by and choreographed kite flying demonstrations by the Kite Association of the Philippines.
After all the balloons were lifted and everyone already got their version of the eye-candy hot air balloon photos, we left the Air Force City and headed to Rumpa Restaurant in Balibago Angeles City for our breakfast. Checkout Pinoy Food Cravings for the food post:)
Getting to the Clark Freeport Zone which is also known as the Clark Special Economic Zone by car is easy.
- Take the North Luzon Expressway from Manila and exit at Dau, Mabalacat.
- After your exit, a left turn towards Angeles City, and a little Angeles City/Dau traffic, will bring you to within an easy right turn of the Clark Zone itself.
It only takes an hour to one hour and a half to reach Clark without heavy traffic.