Sunday, February 17, 2008


Feb 2008, we left at 9AM in the morning from Manila to head to Clark, a one and half hour drive, to visit the Annual Balloon Festival here. It is already our 3rd consecutive year to do this and always curious to see how this one turns out. Crowd turn-up is bigger than the previous years (given the affordable entrance fee of Php 100 and general good publicity). Kites were still a big sell around here with most families having at least one piece. There were a couple of food stalls scattered around the area (with our favorite being the German Hungarian sausages and German beer sold in one of them) but exhibits have been reduced significantly vs the previous years. The skydiving exhibit weren't shown anymore though it was clearly in the time schedule and product stores that were there previously (M&M, Pedigree) were nowhere to be found. In the end, I don't know whether it was just our plain bad luck but soon after, the organizer announced that the hot air balloons that were supposed to come back to the airfield, couldn't anymore due to the strong winds, which made it a safety concern. They then tried to air up some balloons at the site (I count about 20 of them) and successfully did it to one of them but even that eventually deflated and lost its air in a matter of seconds. With strong winds and out of desperations, they decided instead to do a different kind of show. So, scratch out the balloon night glow and replace it with a series of flames from balloon basket which they named Tiki-tiki Fire Exhibit. By the time this happened, most of the people already headed for the exit doors. It was a really sad ending for this because I know the people behind it prepared for it but even they can't control everything here. Oh well, there is always next year to look forward to...

Lots of kites at the field

One of highlights of festival

Only one hot air balloon we saw here...

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