The 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Thursday last week when my cousins, nieces and I arrived in the nearby Province of Pampanga and stayed overnight in a hotel outside the Clark Freeport Zone to witness the 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta the following day. 

We chose the Second Fiesta Day (Friday) avoiding the large influx of visitors during weekends. The kids were very excited! wondering what this out-of-town trip could offer (they thought, we'll be going swimming). They keep asking what the hot air balloon was look like and how big was it. I couldn't answer those question for that will be my first time to witness big balloons carrying people and reaching the sun too. 

Our accommodation was comfortable. We all woke up at 4:00 A.M. because we need to prepare and commute via passenger jeepney (30 minutes) going to the event's grounds. We arrived just in time, it was still dark. We spotted plenty of front row spaces and secured our area so the kids could see everything that flies on that day.

A beautiful Friday morning greeted us with a gale force of cold wind brought by the Northeast Monsoon in Pampanga's Field. 

I guess it was the perfect weather a hot air balloon pilot was waiting for to generate a lift and maneuver his balloon aircraft.

When the daylight came, we saw colorful and big hot air balloons partially inflated with cold air from a gas-powered fan. 

Fact: Raising the air temperature inside the envelope makes it lighter than the surrounding (ambient) air. The heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant since it has a lower density than the relatively cold air outside the envelope. 
Everyone stood still when the national anthem was played.

The kids and I were surprised when we saw a team of people sky dove from an aircraft while the Philippine National Anthem was being played. I was scared for them but entertained with what I've just witnessed. 

The Philippine Flag was attached in a parachute of one of the members of the skydiving team, waving through the air, slowly going down to the grounds. 

The Philippine Flag jump marked the start of the event. 

Propane burners are used for final inflation before the Hot Air Balloon flight.

Balloons were prepared for liftoff. 

The fields became a balloon safari, scattered balloons ready to fly... 

Spectacular! British Airways Balloon in flight. 

This big cake was my nieces' favorite!

The balloons took off one at a time and the sky was painted with colorful balloons afterwards. It was such a beautiful sight!

Everywhere I looked, I saw different shapes, vibrant colors... 

Seems like the balloons were racing to touch the sky.  Reminds of the song "I Believe in Dreams".... 
"I believe in dreams 
And I believe in miracles 
I believe the toy balloons 
Can reach the moon.... " 

Just like the song, the Balloon Fiesta dreams to fuel the passion of flying to both the young and the old to help move the aviation industry forward.

It also hopes to create jobs and business opportunities by promoting Tourism.

The Fiesta hopes to instill discipline in the young pilots participating in it so that they may be safe aviators for the country as well as impart the spirit of volunteerism to everyone. 

We purchased our tickets in Manila days before the event, P200 per person. This is our small contribution to the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta Foundation that allows us to stay in the event site for the whole day.

The foundation utilizes these funds for organizing the show and for sending less privileged high school graduates aspiring to take a career in aviation. 

When the balloons took off, other aerial exhibitions followed like skydiving, paragliding, aeromodelling, ultralight flights, RC aircraft displays, and professional kite exhibitions. 

It was indeed a whole day of fun flying!