Hot Air Balloon Fiesta FAQs

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

1. Do we really need to leave by 3am in the morning?
Yes you do. At the latest you should leave Manila by 3.30am. The Hot Air Balloons are inflated at around 5.30am and all of them fly out before 7am. If you arrive late, you will already experience the traffic going inside Clark and the parking queue would have build up by that time. I see people arriving in Clark at around 7am and they don’t see the balloons anymore. I don’t want that to happen to you.

2. Can we ride the Hot Air Balloon?
There are only 5 ways you can ride in the hot air balloon.
— You can pay $150/ head for the ride
— You win in the daily photo contest and win a ride in the balloons courtesy of SM
— You are part of Media and you request to ride the balloon. You have higher chances to do this on Thursday but definitely not on the weekend.
— You hosted the balloonist in Manila and they give you a free ride as a token of their appreciation.
— You own a balloon or you have a relative that flies the balloon.

For the last two years I have been attending the festival, it continues to be a dream for me to ride a hot air balloon. I might just pay the $150 one of these days…

3. Can we get close to the Balloon?
The entrance fee to the festival is P100 and this will give you access to the general viewing area where you can see the balloon from a distance. Usually, they issue 100 special shooter’s pass per day so that you can have a close encounter with the balloons. This year, the photo contest is sponsored by Epson and One Workshop. They sold the passes for P350 which includes, EPSON signature cap and a FREE entrance to attend the glamour fashion shoot and daily photo / digital retouching workshops. As of now, the passes are sold out and we manage to get the passes for our Ultimate Kapampangan Tour on Sunday Feb. 10.

4. Any recommendations on where to stay in Clark?
The most popular places are Clark Holiday Inn and Fontana. During our tour, we will have people stay in Oasis Hotel outside Clark.

5. What are the mechanics of the Photo Contest?

EPSON Photo Contest Mechanics

The EPSON Photo Contest Marathon is open to all visitors and guests of the 12th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

Students, amateurs, hobbyists and professional photographer are welcome to use any digital SLR, digital point-and-shoot or cell phone camera to interpret the given theme for the day.


Day 1: Happiness and beauty:

e.g. nature, beautiful people, family, colors, camaraderie, hot air balloon formations etc

Day 2: Triumph, passion and love:

e.g human interest, event activities, decisive moments etc

Day 3: Majestic view:

e.g sunrise, sunset, landscape, cloud formations, nature etc

Day 4: Creative moment:

e.g Hot Air Balloons and Clark and Pampanga landscape in focus etc

Photos for all daily themes are allowed to show entire or partial logos, signage or references to the 12th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and/or EPSON.

Participants are allowed to submit multiple entries per daily theme.

Participants may win multiple daily prizes and compete for the Grand Prize.

6. What can you do in the festival?
The highlight of the festival is the take-off of the Hot Air Balloons in the morning. After all the balloons left, you can watch the micro light demonstrations, sky diving, small plane fly-bys, helicopter exhibitions and kite flying exhibitions. There is also a display of military tanks, planes and aerospace exhibits. Usually, we would go out after the balloons left and have a Pampanga food trip around the Angeles area. If time permits, we go back to see the night glow of the Hot Air Balloons. The only problem with the night glow is that everyone leaves after that and it creates a traffic jam going outside of Clark.

Do you have a question? Let me know so that I can answer them and share with you my experience regarding this festival.

17 thoughts on “Hot Air Balloon Fiesta FAQs

  1. When I went to the Balloon Festival, years ago, I was able to ride on one of the ultralight planes. You can ride one for a fee… definitely not $150.00
    You get a pilot to ride with you and you will ride besides the driver and fly over the fields. The experience is awesome.
    I forgot the place but its one of those Ultralight flight school (owned by foreigners). Last time, they are not actively offering it. But it will be cool to offer it as part of the tour since it gives you the thrill of flying!
    I plan to ride one of these planes again and just shoot from the air. The unobstructed view of the ultralight will give you uncomparable view. Fly one during sunset and you get a picture priceless as it can be.

  2. hi there. if the entrance is only 100 does it mins your viewin the baloons in a far distance or like hw far? and hw do you get the shooter’s pass if you wnna get close to the baloons? tnx…

  3. hi rayanne! with the P100 fee, you can see the balloons quite close. Though Anton is right, to be able to ride one, you need to pay the fee. 🙂 As well, be there really early. Preferably between 6 – 630 am, you have already parked your car and already inside. That way you won’t get stuck in traffic and have more time taking pictures of the balloon. 🙂

  4. I am so bummed that I have to cancel my reservation for this tour T_T But yes, you have to try riding in a hot air balloon, Anton. It would be really worth the $150 (that’s cheap actually..we paid twice that in Melbourne).

  5. I heard about this event from a friend and fellow blogger, Teacher Julie. She also shared this post to me.
    Thanks Anton for sharing these helpful info. Chances are we’ll be there to witness the event.

  6. i think that the $150 fee for the hot air balloon is too much. i rode one in fort ilocandia, laoag, ilocos norte back in 2004 and paid only about P1,000 per person for a 15-minute ride.

  7. Just to clarify the $150 actually flies off the ground and you will feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz…
    the Fort Ilocandia hot Air Balloon is actually tied to the ground and you just elevate up to a certain height.
    On the P100 entrance, you can see the balloon up close but there is a fence that would separate you from the actual balloons. the special pass would give you access to the launch area where you can literally touch the balloons…

  8. Yes you can bring food but not a lot to the point that you can do your own picnic inside. They also have to protect the establishments who paid rental space to be able to sell during the fiesta.

  9. Hi! Would you know where we can ride a hot air balloon? Is the $150 good for one person?
    Please advise. Thank you so much!!!

  10. Please give me contact address, email and phone numbers of persons/stores who are renting out hot air balloon. We are planning an event and we want to rent one. Thanks

  11. sir,
    we don’t have a car, how are we going to go in there?…kindly give me an advice please…
    thank you so much!

  12. – How far is the parking area from the balloon site?
    – Is it difficult to find a parking space at any given time of the day (weekend)?
    – are there any parking fee? and how much?
    – aside from the balloon flight itself, what other activities would you recommend?
    – Could you suggest a good place to eat for lunch?

  13. hi can someone help me.. i wanted to propose to my gf while riding hot air balloons any idea if where we can go and ride it during her stay here in phil on may to hune 2014

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