By Abigail Javellana
The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival set at the Philippine Air Force ADAC Hangar in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga. The fiesta is held during Thursday to Sunday on the weekend near Valentines.
This longest-running sports and aviation festivity isn't just a weekend of everything that flies. There will be four full days of flying activities including hot air ballooning, aerobatic exhibitions, skydiving, powered paragliding, aviation formation, search and rescue flight demonstrations, and balloon bursting, among other aviation spectacles—await attendees and participants to the highly anticipated event.
Did we mention it's also a good romantic spot for your Valentines get away? :)
Here's our guide on how you can make the most of your trip to Clark...
How To Get There:
Driving Directions: Getting to the Clark Freeport Zone, otherwise known as the Clark Special Economic Zone by car is easy. Simply 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. The trip should take about an hour and a half from Manila without heavy traffic.
By Public Transport: Clark is approximately 80km north of Manila and may be reached by land or air. Public buses travel on a daily basis. Ride a Victory Liner bus bound for Dagupan and go down at Dau common terminal. Walk a bit towards the highway where jeepneys or tricycle are available. These public utility vehicles can take you to Clark.
By Air: You can hop on regular commercial flights to Clark International Airport. Carriers that land at Clark are Cebu Pacific Air, Air Asia, and Tiger Airways.
Where to Buy Tickets:
General Admission P350.
Tickets will be available at the gates during the fiesta. They open at 5 AM on February 11 to 14, 2016. SM Ticketnet outlets in Metro Manila also sell general admission tickets.
The list of participating outlets is available in their Entrance Tickets page.
General Admission PhP 350
VIP Passes PhP 6,000
Hot Air Balloon Rides US$ 350
Tandem Skydiving US$ 400
Airplane Discovery Flights US$ 120
Tandem Paragliding US$ 150
What Time Should I Be There:
We suggest you leave Manila as early as 3 am to reach the early morning Balloon launch.
The fiesta gates open at 5 AM.
The Hot Air Balloons are inflated at around 5.30am and all of them fly out before 7am. If you arrive late, you will already experience the traffic going inside Clark and the parking queue would have build up by that time. I see people arriving in Clark at around 7am and they don't see the balloons anymore. I don't want that to happen to you.
Where to Park:
There are parking areas all over the airbase (P50). Parking spaces for PWDs are also available.
How do I get a Photographer’s / Media pass:
Passes are only given to accredited publications and official media partners.
Where To Eat:
Food and non-alcohilic drinks are allowed except for bottled ones. Food and drinks are sold inside by concessionaires and food tents inside the base.
What to See:
To officially kick off the event is the Sky Diving Philippine Flag Jump.
The Hot Air Balloon Flight is the most anticipated exhibition of the whole fiesta, and you have two chances to see it, one is early in the morning where the balloons fly out, and in the afternoon where they fly back to the airport or glow in the night.
The prep starts as early as 6am depending on the schedule. We love watching the sights of the balloons being inflated casted by the rising sun.
Watch the chase crew and pilots prep for the launch.
There are irregularly shaped balloons that are the crowd favorites.
The newly added Philippine Flag Hot Air Balloon was the rave of the town.
And up up and away they go!
Ang Ganda! (So Beautiful!)
This is where the balloons land, a lahar-covered terrain...
Click on the link to checkout our article on riding the Hot Air Balloon experience. :)
Along with the Hot Air Balloon are other fan favorites like the Paragliding exhibitions.
The colorful KAP / KTP Kite Flying Exhibition.
Besides the exhibition there are several free activities you can do inside the base.
Like Kite flying. (Bring or Buy one at the venue.)
You can have your picture taken with military props and gears.
Military tanks and more. :)
What To Bring:
- Extra Money
- Picnic Cloth (Optional)
- Kites (Optional)
- Camera (A Must)
Overall, we had a great time at the Philippine International Hot Air balloon festival. We like that the base is very family friendly with lot's of activities you can partake on besides watching the shows.
We recommend this as a last minute romantic get away this Valentines and if you are ever in the area, be sure to catch Cafe Fleur by Chef Sau at Angeles City where he will personally cook a Valentines dinner personally himself.
20th PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL HOTAIR BALLOON FIESTA
Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, Clark Freeport zone, Pampanga
Festival Date:Feb 11-14, 2016
Contact Number: +6328512450
Live an Awesome Life,
Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: We wrote this article with our biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. Chef Sau recently opened his new restaurant in Angeles - Cafe Fleur! He will be serving a special Valentines Dinner for P575 only. :)
Related Blog Post : CAFE FLEUR: Avant-Garde Kapangpangan Dishes by Chef Sau del Rosario!
Salad Bar: Cafe Fleur Soup (no specified soup, chef Sau's personal soup)
Main Course (choice of):
-Sous Vide Salmon Steak w/ Salsa Rossa
-Chicken Saltimbocca with Linguini Ragout
-Beef Tenderloin in Red Wine Sauce
Drinks: -Chocolate Batirol / Tarragon Tea
Dates available: (P575/ head).
-Feb 13 (dinner only)
-Feb 14 --1st seating 6pm; 2nd seating 8pm; 3rd seating 9:30pm
For reservations call: +63 935 761-6550 or email email@example.com
Make a molecular drink included.
P214 for craft cocktails