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Philippines Scene # 20 - 2015 Clark Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Reasons to 'Never Miss' the HOT AIR BALLOON FIESTA!
Participating in this annual event will give you, as an enthusiast, vast opportunities to know what's going on, what's to enjoy, and all the perks during the festival.
- First off will be the actual flying of 'hot air, balloons. Watch the crew and their pilots unfold such gigantic works, how to infuse the hot air and other technicalities that run through the activities.
- Don't you ever want to miss the aerobic exhibitions? Much more the para-gliders, skydivers, aviation formation, search and rescue flight demos, balloon bursting and other aviation spectacles?
- How about the Kite Flying Exhibition? Oh, yes! It's not only those balloons that you would want to see and enjoy. Kites of different sizes, designs and amazing colors will make you want to be in 'child-mood' again.
- You can record the highlights of the four-day event and never miss an adventure flying and admiring the lahar-laden terrain of Pampanga, how the Clark Special Economic Zone or Clark Freeport Zone is slowly gaining its potential as tourist destination.
- There are lots of foods and world cuisines to enjoy, plus souvenir items that you would want to buy and carry back home as mementos of your four-day adventure.
'Fly Me to The Moon', the 'hot air' balloon way
Things You'll Gonna Love during 'Hot Air' Balloon Fiesta in the Philippines
The picturesque Clark Freeport Zone of Pampanga is not only about the vast open-air area which enticed private companies and individuals to participate on this decade-long air show here in the Philippines.
There's always a place to stay, people to welcome all participants, food to enjoy, mornings and sunsets to admire and a lot more about having fun an awesome feelings once you get here in the Philippines.
People in all walks of life, foreign and local tourists and travel enthusiasts, photo bloggers and hubbers, news agencies are those who massively promoted such magnanimous event happening every February.
For the companies who participated, such show will enhance their popularity as free advertisements are often seen at the logo and signage at every flying hot air balloon.
The uniqueness of this year's event in such flying conquests is shown through awesome construction of the balloons into familiar cartoon characters, human face (Van Gogh) and more.
This year's event started on February 12th, 2015 at 7:00 in the morning. As the sun rises and so those amazing works of men until the evening spent with such glows coming from those balloons.
'Hot Air' BalloonsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Being a fan of 'Hot Air' Balloon Fiesta
How do you partake and celebrate 'Hot Air' Balloon Fiesta?
'Hot Air' Questions and Trivialities
Since you're in Asia now, you will ask the organizer how the 'Hot Ar' Balloon festival started.
Since the outburst of Mount Pinatubo, a dormant volcano in Pampanga for centuries which erupted in 1991 literally inundating the Clark Air Base, a US military installation and neighboring towns forcing all residents to evacuate the place, as it claimed so many lives.
What was left revealed a massive no-man's land, lahar-laden terrain which was used for shooting films. The lahar or volcanic ash and sand , later, became a source of livelihood among the locals for pottery and quarrying, earning them millions of pesos.
As nature healed such cataclysmic upheaval of the volcano, the area became the Special Economic Zone of the province.
And to maximize its potentials and due to the clamor of private individuals, an annual kite-flying festival were held, the latest attraction is the flying of 'hot'air'balloons, coming from different parts of the world.
Local tourism is alive again!
As the sun rises...Click thumbnail to view full-size
'Hot Air' Balloon Fiesta is not a flash-in-the-pan.
The huge preparation in holding such activity is a feat to be proud of.
As a hubber and as an enthusiast as well, I can say that inviting veteran balloon pilots and financiers (mostly businessmen) is a tough one to follow.
But since, the annual event is now becoming a legacy of the province and its people, it is now promoted not only through word-of-mouth, but in the social media as well.
The potentials of Pampanga and the rest of the Philippine archipelago is now becoming a highlight of this festivity.
Map of Routes to the 2015 Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta guided water, land and air travelers on how to get to Clark Freeport Zone as the sun rises, the time when all the balloons will take off for morning sked until the afternoon and evening highlights.
How to get there, once it happens again...
Highlights on Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
The 1994 event, as maiden opener or baptism of fire, was mainly organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Hot Air Balloon Club, the Clark Development Corporation and British Airways.Modesty aside, it began with 21 balloon pilots from 10 countries and one entry from the Philippines.
The 1995 festival highlighted the introduction of ultra light planes to the events.
1996 to 1998
The three succeeding years of 1996 until 1998 saw the growing popularity of the festival. The event expansion included other aero-sports activities such as sky diving, paragliding, motorized hang gliding, remote controlled model aircraft (aero modelers), and kite flying.
Those three years highlighted aerobatic stunts and precision maneuvers courtesy of the Blue Diamonds and later the Red Aces of the Philippine Air Force became a regular attraction of the festival
1999 to 2003
Due to financial constraints in 1999, its comeback in 2000 with 12 balloons and 18 light planes from Thailand, Japan and Singapore, all participating in an air rally marked a regular component of the festivities.
In 2003, traditional ballooning format has been upgraded into personally-designed ones.Specially designed balloons in the shape of a flying newspaper from Korea and a large dog from Japan made their debut over the Pampanga skyline. Balloon participation from Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands drew crowds from around the world.
2004 up to 2015
Currently, the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival continues to be a popular annual fiesta. The 2006 festival featured 30 multicolored hot air balloons and more than a hundred balloon pilots from Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.
Now, the hot air balloon fiesta is now drawing a stagerring 60 thousand spectators each year. And the number is still increasing! Additional highlights, kite-flying events and fireworks always end the events more colorful and memorable.
Amazing glow at night
How 'Hot' this event to the Filipinos and the world
Foreign tourists and local enthusiasts flocked to the place each year in order to witness an inspiring 'hot air' balloon conquests.
And these activities will always be remembered by us, especially the visitors who participated wholeheartedly,
Flying activities were not all for the 'hot air' balloons. Spectators were overwhelmed due to the variety of activities that unfolded in front of their eyes.
- Aerobatic exhibitions (courtesy of the Philippine Air Force)
- Chase crew and off-road driving
- General aviation balloon bursting
- General aviation formation
- Hot air ballooning
- Kite flying
- Micro light and ultra-light flying
- Powered paragliding
- Radio controlled aircraft (RC aircraft) flying
- Search and rescue flight demonstrations (courtesy of the Philippine Air Force, Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Navy)
- Static aircraft scale modeling
- Tandem paragliding
- Tandem skydiving
Others who yearned for extra walk and activities will be lured to try what's in store for them as promoted by the local tourism council.
Let the 'Hot Air' memories remain...
I'm sure, all are in different 'highs' of fever as the events concluded and organizers awarded the participants.
Year 2015 will be a turning point for a two-decade events that attracted more than 70 thousand tourists.
With the help of social media, bloggers and hubbers, alike, the popularity of the festival multiplied into full-blown hype.
Photos and videos were shared online. Edited or not, these will serve as memorabilia of the 'hot air' balloon fiesta.
I'll say and promise to be there next year.
As this feature comes to a close....
This hubber is indebted to the:
1. Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta site
2. The wikipedia.org for a more concise and firsthand information regarding the event.
12.Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)
and the rest of social media users who took selfies, shared it to their friends and my site, as well.