The Hot Air Balloon Festival in Angeles, Pampanga is a yearly event that started in 1994 by the Department of Tourism (DOT). The event features various hot air balloons from the Philippines and other participating countries.
This event is highly anticipated, thus everyone is excited, but how do we prepare for this?
We have some tips that we came up from our experience in the Hot Air Balloon Festival last year (2016)
1. Buy tickets online
The line in the ticket booth in the actual event is sooooooooooo long…. and it is so crowded. To skip the lines, buy your tickets in advance. Tickets are available for sale in https://www.philballoonfest.net/etickets/
Make sure you bought your tickets before going to the event. In our case, we did this so we just rushed through the entrance of e ticket holders and we were the first e-ticket holders to enter the venue.
2. Search for the exact venue
In our case we just googled it on the same day, we were a bit lost, but after a while we found the exact venue. By searching for the exact venue, you will save a few minutes or hours of searching on the actual festival.
The exact venue is in Omni Aviation Complex in Angeles, Pampanga.
3. Bring hats, shades, and face mask, put on your sunblock, and wear comfortable clothes (Do not wear white!)
The venue is an open airfield, there is no grass, it’s just soil… or mud if it rains.
Hats ?, shades, and face mask – I do not suggest you to bring an umbrella because it will block the view of the other guests. You can bring your shades, but we did not, because we wanted to see the hot air balloons clearly. Face mask is a must! Soil particles are all over the place because of the wind and the constant stumping on the ground whenever people walk.
Sunblock – Even though the festival starts very early, you might want to stay in the area for several hours. Protect your skin by wearing sunblock.
Comfortable clothes – Do not wear white! I repeat, DO NOT WEAR WHITE unless you want a caramel colored shirt after the festival hahaha. As i have mentioned earlier, soil particles are everywhere.
3. Bring few snacks and water
While waiting for the program to start, you might be thirsty or hungry. There are booths in the area wherein you can buy food and drinks, but it will be hard to move around due to the large crowd.
3. Bring something that you can seat on
There are available chairs in the area, however it is limited. We were lucky that we got chairs because we do not have anything with us. Aside from chairs, you can also bring tents or mats.
4. Arrive early in the venue
I’m not sure during weekdays, but we went to the festival during a weekend. We arrived 4 hours before the event but the crowd is unbelievable! The line for parking is sooooo looonnnggg…. the line in the ticketing booth is also suuuupeer looooonngg… It took us almost an hour to park our car.
By arriving early in the venue, you can get the perfect spot to watch the program. We were lucky that we were just in front of the hot air balloons.
5. Bring your best camera
The festival happens early in the morning and late in the afternoon. During the morning batch, the sun rises at the back of the hot air balloons so it will be hard to take a picture that is not against the light. Please also take note that drones are not allowed for safety reasons.
6. Do not forget to enjoy!
Of course the festival is all about enjoying. After the hot air balloons take off, go around the event ground and explore the other activities.
Other helpful notes:
- Official Website https://www.philballoonfest.net/
- Riding the hot air balloon, skydiving, paragliding, and aircraft flights are some of the activities available
- Hot air balloons will lift off twice, 5:30AM and 5:00 PM
- There are booths, you can buy food and souvenirs. There are also sponsors who will give free samples of their products.
I hope our tips can help you to enjoy the festival.
Here are some pictures from the 2016 Hot Air Balloon Festival