The time is 6am. The field is packed with people awaiting the beginning of the 3rd day of the 17th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. The day begins with the Philippine Flag waved in the air by a paraglider. Halfway through the national hymn, I can’t help but grab my camera and take pictures as I sing. That moment I’m like a child who’s seen my kite take its first flight. I’m simply amazed.
As air heats up in every balloon, the crowd gets more excited to see them up in the sky. I wonder what the passengers feel as they gradually take off. My brother says each passenger has to pay about P3000 for the ride. It’s pricey, but I guess the flight experience is worth it.
Icecream, cake, sunflower, car and panda. All these specially shaped balloons are a delight to see. In less than an hour, all the balloons are up and minutes later they’re out of sight. If you are to wait for the hot air balloons to come back, you’d probably run out of things to do.
There are a number of booths which you can stop at to beat your boredom, though. There are those that offer souvenir items, food stalls and photo souvenir booths sponsored by the Philippine Air Force. Kids can enjoy face painting and kite flying all day long. If there really is nothing else left to do in the field, you can always pack up and head to Subic.
What keeps us up is the long wait for my brother’s flight. Well, the aviation college where he studies is part of the program that day. He is scheduled to co-pilot an aircraft and do a fly-by exhibition at noon. It’s our first time to see him fly and we are just extremely excited.
Noon comes and he’s set to fly.
The exhibition is finally over. We can never be any prouder of our future pilot.
Half a day’s stay in the field left us totally exhausted. We can’t think of anything else to do after the program. Talk about lack of preparation. So I’ll leave here a list of what to bring or prepare next time I go to the balloon fiesta:
1. Bring an umbrella. The sun is up at 7am and that means it’s scorching hot.
2. Bring a tent. It’s difficult to find a cool place to stay in.
3. Bring lots of water, or might as well bring your own cooler.
4. Have your Plan B on hand. Subic is a convenient choice.
Despite the heat, everything went well.
Come to think of it, a morning sun was better than a rainy day at events like this.