Tuesday, March 5, 2013

third time at the hot-air balloon fiesta

Last year, the beckoning of the kites made me abandon the photo opportunities at the Philippine International Hot-Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark, Pampanga. Also last year, friends drove with me in the pre-dawn hours in an attempt to watch the balloons fly at sunrise. 

This year, I changed my mind.

Instead of driving in the dark this year, I decided that I had to get some decent sleep and drive during the daylight hours. The main factor for this decision was that once again, I'd be the sole driver and I had to make a strong finish. I didn't want to drive the long 150km home groggy at the wheel this time around. 

Good bye, sunrise flight.

Man and JP tagged along with me this year. We made it to Pampanga in about three hours but we decided to go to the fiesta after lunch; a good idea, actually, since most of the sunrise watchers must have left already. That meant less competition for parking space and fewer people in the queue at the ticket booth. What I didn't count on, though, was that the venue was changed. Instead of being at the Philippine Air Force's ADAC Hangar, the fiesta was located at the Omni Aviation Complex.

Since we did get to the fiesta venue after lunch, I wasn't really expecting to see the hot-air balloons anymore, except for the night glow activity at dusk. So I had the chance to take some photos! 

But I also wanted to fly a kite! I got myself a single-line delta kite and spend a good chunk of the afternoon attempting to get it to fly (like the rest of the amateur kite-flying crowd). 

When the dusk settled in, I gathered up my kite and waited for the hot-air balloons to get inflated and glowing. Alas, the wind was just too strong and only three balloons were lit against the dark sky. Good thing there was a free OPM concert at the end of the airfield.

Despite not seeing balloons this year, I still had a good time at the hot-air balloon fiesta. Will I have another go at it next year? That's a definite yes! I am planning (once again) to see the sunrise flights next year.