Pampanga: 17th Hot Air Balloon Festival

With no sleep at all I rode a bus to Pasay for 5 star bus lines’ terminal. I wasn’t quite familiar of their location so I asked around. The streets and the overpass was kind of dark so this head of mine started to think about things, I wouldn’t say that I got scared, I think cautious would be more appropriate as I clutched my bag nearer.

One of our companions went ahead and took an earlier bus, but as for me and my two other friends we took a 2am bus bound to Dau. We arrived about 25 minutes shy of our appointment for our photographer passes courtesy of Digital Photographer Philippines and Chevron a.k.a. Caltex.

Early morning traffic jam

The festive atmosphere can be felt throughout the venue. Loads of vehicles trying to park for the event made traffic really heavy at that part of the Airbase.

As for us, we waited for our contact and as soon as we got our passes we wasted no time to get inside. The first booth that we noticed was the Caltex booth that reconstructed a mini gas station inside a hangar. This is also where participants submitted for Chevron’s photo contest.

Caltex Booth

We searched for the gate so we could get inside the area where the balloons were to be prepared a flown. We had to wait for a while they place the balloons in place.

LED lighted RC Planes

The Sun was quickly rising and I couldn’t let the view just pass by and not get a photograph because they still wont let us in the grounds. So I looked for a space where I could get a view of the mountain for a photograph. There were LED lighted RC planes flying around so my photo had steaks of light, looks nice but then again not the frame that I am looking for, I had no choice since they won’t stop flying those toys to entertain the general public.

Philippine Flag carried by a paraglider

At last we got in and the mighty sun was up already. The program started with the Philippine National anthem with the flag flown up in the air attached to a para-glider.


Soon after they participants started blowing hot air into their balloons. Hot Air Balloons are flown, at least here in the Philippines early in the morning or late in the after noon because the air is much colder during these times.

A lady pilot inflating one of the balloons

Pilots first blow cold air into the Balloons so they could expand, as soon as it is large enough hot air is then blown to make the balloons fly. The concept of these balloons are from the theory of Hot air rises faster and higher over cold air, thus making the balloons fly high.

Different kinds of balloons participated from the regular types to cute looking sunflowers and even birthday cake shaped balloons were there. It was like a child’s dreamland!

The organizers prepared a wide ranged program, from car drifting to water propelled rockets were staged after the Balloons were gone. There were a lot of booths where you could buy souvenirs and activities that you could participate including a tour in a humongous aircraft carrier of the U.S. Army.

We went out for lunch around Angeles City at Aling Lucing’s (which went tragic) then came back for the afternoon flight of the balloons

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to fly the balloons that night because of the strong winds going at the wrong direction but the organizers didn’t come unprepared, instead they showed three of the country’s biggest lanterns which closed the day’s event.


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ian dela pena

iandelapena, the person behind the blog brownmantrips is a yuppie living in the metropolis who believes there is always something good to see everywhere in the world. This is his depository of travel memories for his not so good and maybe soon to fail memory, thus the travelogues in this blog.