[10TH Hot Air Balloon Fiesta #1] The 5am Balloon Fiesta


This is a trilogy series on the 10th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (PIHBF) @ Omni Aviation Field, Clark Field Pampanga. Finally, I was able to savor the beauty of the balloons on the fiesta’s last day and I was not disappointed. Unlike in the World Pyro Olympics which you have to stay awake until late at night, in the Hot Air Balloon it starts at 5.30am in the morning when the hot air balloons start to setup and leave before 7am. Also, for some reason, the internet sites in the Philippines lack any experiential information on what to expect in this fiesta except for the official website: http://www.philballoonfest.com and the press releases. In this series, I would like to share with you this awesome experience and it felt like I was not in the Philippines with all these world class balloons (total of 21+ I believe)!


Our call time was at 3.30am at Shell, North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) just to make it to the 5.00am balloon fiesta. The NLEX have a speed limit of 100 kph which is strictly enforced (I have a speeding ticket to prove it). So it would take you about an hour from Balintawak to Angeles exit with a breakfast stopover already included in Shell. I can’t believe it that we are starting this early.

When we arrived at Omni Aviation, this is the overall ambiance of the place. It is freezingly cold! (We did not bring our jackets!! I always tell myself to bring jacket during any photoshoots just in case it rains or cold in this instance). I was still able to catch the Full Moon Set over the airfield where the balloons will soon setup. You can see the bleachers in the photos and canopies acting as boundaries and viewing area.

There are a few people with the same idea of arriving at 5am and this is the where the stops are starting to open. There are already a few stores serving breakfast as early as this time.

We found this military jeeps while we are going to the portalets and I challenged my brother for a photo shoot out of these old military vehicles. I won the shoot out and I was able to capture the details of the cars even early in the morning.

This is the entire view of the concessionaires area and day break is about to start. The huge grass space is for people and where children can play or fly a kite.

We were all excited as the first test burst of the balloons are fired. We started to setup our tripods and our location. My brother, Rommel was able to enter this restricted area in the Photo. But fortunately if you are a photographer, people normally don’t mind you and sometimes even pose in front of you 🙂

Then the balloons are laid out in the grass and inflated.

Here is the e2 balloon being pulled up as it is being inflated.

The hot air continues to inflate the balloons and about ready to go.

A balloon love affair in time for valentines day!

This is the scene on the ground with all the grew and vehicles present.

All set and ready to go, 1… 2… 3… launch!


2 thoughts on “[10TH Hot Air Balloon Fiesta #1] The 5am Balloon Fiesta

  1. I really become updated by reading your blogs. It is already a part of my daily routine to read whatever you had written. I wouldnt let a day pass without reading it.
    More power to you and you family!

  2. A balloon ride is really an amazing experience. I never forget to make a ride whenever I get time for vacations. I enjoyed the post. Thanks!

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