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.
DAILY CONTEST THEMES
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.