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Hot-air balloons!!

Once upon a time, I decided that I was capable of driving all the way to Pampanga. The motivation was to see the hot-air balloons lift off at sunrise. But I failed and have never gotten there in time because I value my sleep and safety more than being at the airport at the crack of dawn.

So just imagine my excitement when friends from the lab decided that they wanted to join me on my latest road trip AND catch the balloons fly off at daybreak. We just had a set back before driving off: the driver thought we were leaving on Sunday but we were leaving on Saturday! My chance to catch a few zzz's while we're on the way vanished. I automatically became designated driver.

Along the way, I told Jojie, Krishna, Crisline, and Jojie's friend that we'd miss sunrise by an hour and they had to content themselves with seeing the balloons from the highway. Not a problem, they said. Shiela drove her own car because she was coming from somewhere near the NLEX already and she was bringing Josh too. We met up with each other at a gas station on the NLEX and fully intended to drive as a convoy... never happened. It was already bright outside by the time we entered the SCTEX, thanks to the pre-dawn heavy traffic (where all these vehicles came from, I could not fathom).

Finally, we entered the Clark Freeport. The girls became excited and started screaming because the balloons were flying already! Then there were tandem paragliders and twin-engine, flour-bombing airplanes up in the sky. I was able to watch and keep up with the passengers because the traffic was at a full stop. It took a bit more than hour to get to the parking lot. We were all happy despite the traffic jam because we were able to watch the activities almost directly above us.

Great way to begin our attendance to the Philippine International Hot-Air Balloon Festival, eh?

A photo posted by Rochie Cuevas (@rochiecuevas) on

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