Sunday, February 13, 2011

16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival in Pampanga

Pampanga once again hosted an international festival after the successfully concluded Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando Pampanga last December. After work last Friday, we braved the traffic and headed north (through NLEX) to Clark, Pampanga to attend the 16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival. We arrived at Marlim Mansion Hotel in Clark, Pampanga around a little past 11pm. We settled in our room, freshened-up, set our alarms at 3am, and decided to catch some sleep before the main event.

Marlim Hotel, Pampanga

Even with 4 alarms set, we all failed to wake up! A little before 5am, we rushed to the event to catch Secretary Bertie Lim riding the Hot Air Balloon scheduled at 6am. The traffic going to the field was congested, thankfully, parking was not as bad as I expected.

Morning SceneHot Air Balloons16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fest
Jahzeel Cruz, Pauline Volpe, Yuri Lao, Mon Maningding and Barbie Perez

Unfortunately though, we missed Secretary Lim. His balloon was the first to fly, according to Department of Tourism Region 3 Director Ronaldo Tiotuico. He said that after 1-2 hours, the Secretary will be landing and be brought back to the base to visit the DOT booth. He landed in Porac, so we waited.

Darth VaderHot Air
Balloons Flying

We decided to roam around the area first, and look for anything that would catch our interest. We really wanted to ride a balloon, but it was too late to do so. We weren't as lucky as Secretary Bertie Lim and Anna Oposa, who were able to ride the balloon :( So maybe next time? Besides the main attraction (which was the hot air balloon set-up and flight), there were exhibits of the air force, and the armed forces, booths where you can buy souvenirs, eat, and play games.

SIgnature Pose_DSC4803_DSC4804

"The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air balloon created by the Montgolfier Brothers." This anecdote is inscribed on the Hot Air Balloon Festival shirt produced by the Department of Tourism Region 3. According to our French intern/trainee Pauline, in France, the hot air balloon is called montgolfière, named after the Montgolfier brothers who built the first practical versions. :)

DOT Region 3

I saw these really nice chocolate bar covers. The chocolate bars are on sale for 35 pesos each. They were made by the deaf people of Pampanga.


After some time, Secretary Lim arrived at the Department of Tourism booth inside the grounds. He met with regional director Ronaldo Tiotuico, who escorted him to the hot air balloons on site available for the public to ride and experience flying. Secretary Bertie Lim was asked to try it as well :) Finally, I was able to take shots of him in a balloon!

Director Tiotuico and Secretary LimSec. Lim in Hot Air Balloon FestivalSec Lim with a hot air balloonSecretary Lim with Dir. TiotuicoSecretary Lim's Balloon

After riding the balloon and inspecting the grounds, Secretary Lim went ahead to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport and Nayong Pilipino in Clark to inspect the facilities. As for us, we left the hot air balloon festival headed to a new adventure.

Hot Air Balloon Festival16th Hot Air Balloon Fest

All photos were taken using a Sony NEX-5 camera. I would like to thank DOT Regional Director Ronaldo Tiotuico and his team, Miss Jops of Clark Development for the accommodation and assistance they have extended to us. Also, last but not the least, thank you to Caltex Philippines, Laz, and my wonderful friends :)


  1. Aaaaah I love the barn cow one! Amazing! Wish I were there!

  2. Yeah! Ms. Cow Girl! I thought of you nung nakita ko yung cow :P

  3. Great shots! Like Abby I loved that barn with the heads of the cows sticking out! :D

    I was there on the last day of the fiesta (but just for the night glow) just wanted to ask how you could get access to the main field so next year we'll know? Lahat kami inggit sa mga taong nakaka-ikot around the balloons...And is it true that it'll cost you USD300 to ride the balloon? :D

    Thanks! :D

  4. Hi Maierz,

    Wasn't able to stay until the night glow (how was it?). Anyway, it's either you're VIP or Media. There's an accreditation period for Media. It's stated in their website, you just have to fulfill the requirements. And as for riding the balloon, you have to have a sponsor or pay your way. It costs around 2,000 pesos if I am not mistaken? I am not that sure. :)


  5. Wow! Can't you just say you're a blogger? Hahaha! We were kind of unfortunate with the night glow..the wind was blowing too hard so the balloons weren't steady, some even toppled over after a few brave minutes in the air. The precious few balloons that made it were super nice! Talagang glow! Bongga pa rin! :)

    Thanks for the help!! Sana next year VIP ako kuno hahaha :D

  6. Wow what an excellent day for Photography. Great Shots BTW.


  7. I've been there also in Hot air Balloon festival.

    Here's my blog about this event

  8. Cool. I was there also in 16th Hot Air Balloon festival last February 12. I enjoy the event upon watching the giant balloons. I rent a room in Marquis hotel. I stayed for two nights.

  9. I've been there, actually my first time in subic.. it was a unplanned trip so having trouble finding the right hotels in subic to stay..

    But it was a great fun.. my first time to see the giant ballons

  10. Let us work together to promote our local tourist destination, in that way, we can double up the tourism industry here in our country. Nice images, I've been there also, and I love the Darth Vader Balloon. It captured all the attention of people there.



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