Monday, February 15, 2010

February 14: Hot Air Balloon Fiesta & Barasoain Church

I have been very curious of hot air balloons. I wonder if all the actors in adventure films (e.g. Indiana Jones, The Mummy) actually took a ride on those giant balloons during shooting scenes. I wonder if they have handy parachutes in case trouble finds them or an evil flying creature will peck on the balloon and off they fall to rocky cliffs. Down, down, down. Pffft. Disaster. But no, scary things were set aside. My curiosity finally got its wish yesterday! My boyfriend and I went to see the last day of the 15th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark Freeport Zone (formerly Clark Air Base) in Angeles City. 

We woke up at 2am and quickly proceeded to the Five Star bus terminal in Cubao. Mind you, it was really tough waking up that early, but I cannot afford to leave my wish unfulfilled. The bus left at exactly 3am, arrived at the Dau bus terminal at 4am, took a jeep to Clark main gate and took another jeep to the venue. The line to the ticket booth was already long that it took us almost 20 minutes to finally get the tickets. The crowd is majorly composed of urban young. Tickets were priced at Php 150 each.

As expected, a large crowd was formed in the area reserved for the spectators around 5 am. SLR camera users seemed to multiply all of a sudden. Of course, there are still a few digicam users around, myself included. Then a small airplane was seen hovering above and it dropped three flying thingies.


It's a bird, it's a plane! Nah. It's the skydiver flag jump portion by the Philippine Air Force. Amazing! The national anthem was then played while the Philippine flag became clearer in view. Simply awesome! 

In the take-off area, there were already partially inflated hot air balloons. One will not immediately appreciate the view, but the feeling of excitement to see the balloons up, up and away was there!


The hot air balloons came in different colors and shapes. I bet every child at heart will really say it was a feast for the eyes. The fun part was seeing the transformation of the hot air balloons: from being flat-dead on the ground, growing bigger every minute until finally achieving its final shape and up to the air. I learned from a quick detour to Wikipedia that a hot air balloon is partially inflated with cold air from a gas-powered fan, before the propane burners are used for final inflation.


These are common shaped hot air balloons preparing to take flight. That's Mount Arayat on the background, a potentially active stratovolcano and considered as a mystical mountain and the legendary home of the diwata Mariang Sinukuan. I cannot remember well my Filipino folklore 101 on this but I can still remember very well our family outing at the Mount Arayat National Park years ago. It was my first dip in a swimming pool in the island of Luzon, beat that.


These are the two of the most interesting hot air balloons that day. It's quite amusing to see the turtle's untied shoelaces and the smiley faced sun.


These are the brave paragliders. They kept on hovering noisily above our heads which reminded me of jurassic electric fans. Hahaha!

Ebun-Ibon festival paticipants

A colorful hearts day to y'all!

I never grew tired watching these three balloons. They are certainly amazing!

Up, up and away!

Spot me!

The historical Barasoain Church in Malolos City

* Noypi, ikaw ba 'to? I'm fond of abbrevs lately.

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