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17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta


This year's 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta was scheduled last February 9-12, 2011 with its theme "A Journey Like No Other" held at Clark Airbase, Pampanga.


Different Balloons at 17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

This balloon fiesta is one of the long awaited events in the country that I never thought I could attend with a Photographer's Pass! Geez. that's one big plus for my first HAB experience! Big thanks to Sir Christian, c/o Caltex and Digital Photographers Philippines, for that.

As the balloon were fired up at 17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Ian, Kevin and I eagerly took the 2am bus at 5 Star Bus Station, Pasay City going to Dau. And from there, took 2 other jeeps going to Clark Main Gate. We arrived around 4:20 am, just in time for the 4:45 sharp meet up with Nigel (Caltex Coordinator) who has our passes. After getting the pass, we immediatedly went inside and waited at the fence. Although people are a little agitataed because we, those with photog's pass and other media, could not document the before hand set up and the blue hour is already fading, I am quite in a very good mood because as a first timer I really have no idea what should be and shouldn't be done at that moment. Greatfully, few minutes after that were allowed to go inside, and we immediately took our individual gears to shoot as the balloons start to slightly blow up.

Good Morning SunFlower at 17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

The pictures can tell you that we had fun shooting inside until the balloons took their flight.


More Balloons at 17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

After the balloons' flight, I tried to find something to eat and took a power nap because I can't take the drowsiness since we weren't able to sleep the night before. I somewhat regretted that I woke up coz I immediately went to the very very long line outside the comfort rooms. I managed to wait patiently as the excruciating sun is began to take its toll.

Up up here they go
17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

After some time, we explored the area full of kites, kids and people taking pictures here and there especially inside the hangar where a lot of air force stuff are displayed.

Kites flight during the 17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

After strolling inside, we decided to take our lunch at the famous sisigan, Aling Lucing, 2 jeeps away from Clark. Click this to know our heartbreaking story.

Paragliders during the event

We stayed at SM Clark to take another power nap and immediately went back to Clark. The same thing happened, we waited outside the fence but people are much agitated because some people are immediately allowed inside even if they don't have passes and as long as they know someone from the inside. Turns out, beyond the fence is already crowded even before media and photographers could go inside. It took us so long to get inside, and we did. Everyone started to set up their tripods and cameras, as the balloons are almost blown up. unfortunately, because of the very strong wind, the balloons weren't able to stay blown up and disappointedly went down. The night glow of balloons at night was cut short and what was left was the presentation of the three Pampanga lanterns.

Left: Firing up to start the night glow
Right: Para-glider free as the wind 
17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Left: Child trying to manage her kite
Right: Place for lovers too
17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

I am really quite sad because I wasn't able to take some good shots (wind that causes blur and dark skies).  But life goes on and we were actually very lucky to go inside beyond the fence for free! So we moved on and immediately went back home amidst the traffic and the jeep scarcity from Clark.
My only decent capture with the night glow because the balloons were blown with the very strong cold wind
17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Pampanga lanterns presented during the 17th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Elal of The Shades of Grey Travel and Photography
Elal is a traveler, student of life and photography enthusiast who wants to experience and capture what is raved and not raved about. For more about her travels, subscribe here, email at, or visit her portfolio.


AJ said...

Had I known sana pala sinabay ko na kayo. Pero sabagay, kasama sa post mo ang info how to get there by commuting. :))

Elal Lasola said...

Sana nga. Sayang! Hope to see you ulit, AJ :)

escape said...

sipag kumuha kahit low light. buti talaga at di na nawawala itong festival. sana magawa din nila ito sa visayas or sa mindanao.

Elal Lasola said...

inantay ko talaga sya though late na nagstart. sana nga lang hindi hinangin para mas masaya. hehe

Philippines Wedding Information said...

Ganda talaga ng mga kuha mo :)

Elal Lasola said...

Thank you po for your kind words! :)

melvin said...

pwede ba sumakay sa mga baloons?magkano kaya?

Elal Lasola said...

I think pwede. Kaya lang hindi ko sure magkano kasi daw mahal around 2-4 thou siguro.

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