The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is an annual event that is always held in Clarkfield, Pampanga. This is actually my third time to attend what is touted as a 'weekend of everything that flies' and even if I've been to this event a couple of times, the excitement is still there. The festival features several air-sporting events like aircraft maneuvers and precision flying, ultra lights, skydiving, aircraft rally, racketeering, flag jump, balloon bursting, kite flying, paragliding and of course the main attraction which is the hot air balloon competition which happens early morning for the fly-out and late afternoon for the fly-in.
2010 was my first time to see these gigantic hot air balloons and I must say that it was such a memorable experience. I was with my friends Jhoi and Keren also like me were very eager to see these giant balloons for the first time. I even remembered Keren telling us that he was so happy he couldn't help but to let one tear escape.
In 2011, we decided to try out the night glow for a change instead of the early hot air balloon flight that usually happens early in the morning. I still didn't know how to adjust my camera settings during that time so most of my photos ended up being blurred or dark.
This year we decided to try out the night glow again but unfortunately the weather wasn't very cooperative and we were lucky enough to see just one balloon helplessly try to stand up to please the audience. One of my travel buddies heard that the organizers were actually planning to cancel off the night glow program because of the rain and the strong winds.
It was already past 6pm and there was only one hot air balloon in sight. Good thing I followed Pinky's advice to take a picture of it or else I would have no pictures of any balloons at all! So there, we ended up seeing just a bunch of flares, a single hot air balloon courtesy of SM and 3 giant lanterns for the night. The latter wasn't included in the original program so I was surprised to see a familiar sight especially that the 2011 Giant Lantern Festival concluded barely 2 months ago.
At first I was really disappointed when they organizers failed to light up their balloons but hey, the weather was beyond their control so there's nothing much that they could do. I guess we were fortunate enough to see one balloon light up and stand against the strong winds.
It may have been an unfortunate event for us this year but that wouldn't stop me from going to the hot air balloon fiesta next year. Hopefully I'll be able to see the night glow again in its full glory or maybe, just maybe, I'll have the courage to overcome my fear of heights and have the experience of finally riding one someday!