Monday, February 15, 2010

15th Clark Hot Air Balloon Festival

The Valentine's weekend was spent in Angeles City to enjoy the 15th Hot Air Balloon Festival. It was something I have been wanting to go to for the past few years but I have been away from Manila for the past six years, it was hardly possible.

2010 is my finally my chance to enjoy the festival. A few friends and I took a road trip to Angeles City for this opportunity. Since we left Saturday afternoon there wasn't any thing to catch anymore so we decided to just hang out with friends living in Pampanga.

On Sunday, February 14, we woke up 5AM to get ready for the festival. Despite being early, it was not early enough. The traffic was already heavy by 6AM. It seems that even on the fourth day, people were still trying to catch the activities.

We could already see the inflated hot air balloons from a distance. I can't help but be excited!

hot air balloons

There were interesting balloon-shapes including this beer balloon.
give me that beer
So there's my beer. Gimme!

Turtle, barn and well... regular hot air balloons.
hot air balloons

Farmville. ;p

What made the festival more enjoyable was the commentator who provided regular annotation of the events. I've been to a few festivals which provided wonderful visual delights but I hardly have an idea what it is supposed to mean or signify. The emcee provided interesting trivia and information for the people attending.

One particular tidbit we got was why the hot air balloons were only released during early morning and late afternoon. The hot air in the balloon makes it lighter than the cool air outside it. Because of that, the warm afternoon temperature makes the air inside the balloon less light which makes it harder to fly. Thanks for that trivia, Mr. Emcee!

He also explained to the audience what stunts the light aircraft was about to do. An eight roll, a four roll and what have you. For me, it made it more fun to watch. :)

One event was light airplanes trying to water bomb a moving Pajero. Nope, none succeeded. I would suggest that they should first try aiming at it while it is stationary then when somebody hits it, that's when they start targeting it while moving. I think the audience will enjoy a good aim and will appreciate more the fact that moving targets are harder to hit. Just an idea. ;p
bomb that pajero

During the lull, families flew kites. It's more visually appealing than how my camera captures it.
swarm of kites

Skydivers dropped from the sky. It's amazing how they are able to control their descent. At the background is Mt. Arayat.

The paragliders flew while the hot air balloons were being pumped for the night glow. I want to do that too!

We thought the hot air balloons would fly in the air but apparently they were to stay grounded. I'm not sure if it's because the wind was strong or whether it was meant to be that way. It was just beautiful when the flames fire up the balloons in contrast to the darkness of the night. At one point, the flares would fire to music. I would have wanted a long musical display, but it was enjoyable enough.
night glow

The day ended with the balloons fired up and fireworks in the distance. A nice way to end a long but enjoyable day.
fireworks and balloons
thanks to risa for taking this photo. thanks R for the tripod.