Saturday, February 10, 2007

Pampanga: Day 3 at the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Since we were coming from Manila, I had to get up much earlier today. We wanted to leave before 4 a.m. to make it there early enough to get decent parking and a good vantage point. So we had to be up at 3 a.m. And since I was driving, that meant I couldn't catch up on sleep.

When we arrived at 5:15 a.m., there was already a queue entering the parking area. In fact, there was also a line at the ticket booth and it was a good thing I had pre-purchased tickets.

We went straight to the hot air balloon area and good enough, there were still gaps in the crowd and Dad and Bettina were able to sit down right by the fence. One thing I noticed was the garbage that littered the grounds. It seems no one cleaned the place at the end of each day. I don't remember seeing any trash cans either. I hope the organizers read this and make sure it doesn't happen again next year.

The program started with an unusual flag ceremony with a sky diver from the PAF bringing the Philippine flag. It was indeed a spectacle but I wonder if that is allowed by our Flag Law since it's quite strict as to what you can and cannot do with the flag. Another thing they should have done was to ask everyone to stand up to render due respect to the flag as the national anthem was being played. These are SOPs that should have been followed.

Anyway, since I had watched the balloons up close from the restricted area on Thursday, I decided to go as far back from the crowds as I could so that I could take photos of the balloons from a distance.

When I got back, I could see Bettina was having a blast watching the balloons since she was all smiles.
I got to meet a lot of bloggers too such as Anton Diaz and Philippine blog guru Abe Olandres. In the photo are Anton and son Aidan with me and Bettina.

Of course, my friend and travel photographer Karlo de Leon was also there to document the event. The photo of the balloons above, I snatched from Karlo. Hehe!

After going around to check out the exhibits, we went to VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Restaurant for breakfast. The menu was similar to that of AC Rumpa although they had their own specialties. But prices were a bit higher in VFW. For breakfast, I ordered beef bangers and mash, and pork schnitzel which came with corn and bread.

We then passed by SM Clark for a while since it was still early for us to drive to Tarlac City where we had a lunch reunion scheduled for the Magat family. I bought myself some iced coffee to keep me up. But when we got back on the road, I was still sleepy. So I begged off from driving back to Manila. Anyway, I have midterms on Monday so I need to study.

More photos in Multiply. Check out the blogs I mentioned. Rico Mossesgeld also gives a roll call of the other bloggers who were there.

Heritage watch
New mollusk species found in Philippines

It still amazes me that we continue to find new species here in the Philippines. But when Yahoo! News reported that scientists had found close to 3,000 new species in Panglao Island alone, that was even more amazing!
Asian wildlife faces extinction over China's appetite

Check out this video from


  1. Anonymous12.2.07

    [...] It ws a busy day for Ivan: Day 3 at Hot Air Balloon Festival [...]

  2. Looks like a fun day !
    It makes me want to go back next year!
    You are still a student?

  3. I'm always a student. Hehe! Doing my third degree now :)

  4. Anonymous13.2.07

    hi, ivan! have you seen the video footage clipcast on clickthecity?


  5. Anonymous13.2.07

    oops, forgot link:

  6. Thanks for the cool video Cat! I posted it above.

  7. Anonymous14.2.07

    wow, great pics!!! i bet you were using a digital slr. goodluck on your studies...

  8. Hi Marc, owning a digital SLR is still a dream. I was using an ordinary Sony Cybershot. :)

  9. Anonymous15.2.07

    [...] and Ivan Henares of Ivan About Town were also there. I didn’t manage to introduce myself though. [...]

  10. Anonymous21.2.07

    [...] Checkout Ivan Henares' entry for a balloon story on the other side of the fenceƜ I saw him there on the way home. [...]

  11. Anonymous21.2.07

    [...] This is simply a teaser to yet a more exciting tour that my good friend and backpacker, Ivan Henares, and I are planning to come up with very soon. [...]

  12. Hi Ivan, I'm a Kapampangan and lived most of my life in Pampanga... Unfortunately, I really haven't gotten around to visiting the whole province. I am bringing my friends in Pampanga this weekend and I am looking for something fun we could do... I was planning to bring them in time for the hot air balloon festival but schedules were tight. I would like to take them swimming to a river. But i only know sapangbato's river (went there with my family when i was a child), however, i think it's been drowned with Pinatubo's lahar. Any ideas where we could go? will appreciate immediate reply.. Thanks a lot! and thanks for promoting Pampanga in your blog!

  13. Hi Ivan! I'm a Kapampangan and lived there all my life but I haven't really gotten around to explore the whole province. I'm bringing my friends there this weekend and I was wondering where I could bring them for some fun. My idea would be a natural swimming area (rivers, falls, etc.). But I only know Sapangbato's river (we used to visit when I was a child), however I believe that it has been gobbled up by Pinatubo's lahar. Any other ideas? Thanks for promoting our countries sights and heritage! keep it up!

  14. Hi Maria Celeste, try Mt. Arayat. I haven't been there lately though. But I know there is a PTA property there.

  15. ivan,

    are you sure you're also using an point and shoot camera?...pareho tayo. DSLR is still a dream.

  16. Yup, I use Sony Cyber-shot :)


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