The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (#PIHABF) is one of the longest-running sports aviation event you shouldn’t missed. It is happening from February 8-11, 2018 at Omni Aviation Complex in Clark, Pampanga. That is just an hour and 30 minutes ride from Quezon City and is really accessible for commuters. So, if seeing a Hot Air Balloon fly in the sky is part of your bucket list (and a lot more), better get on to your feet and visit.
And if you got an extra money to spend maybe you can even ride a balloon or do skydiving. This could be your moment. Have I said already that I almost ticked jumping off a plane on my list?
Continue reading, will tell you more about that story and other things that you can do at this years 22nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.
It was already more than 2 decades since Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta or PIHABF for short have been born. And ever since it was established, this affair have been one of most sought after event of the year especially by fans, enthusiasts, adventurers, risk-takers, as well as those people who’ve been wanting to ticked off an item on their bucket list.
I’ve ride the hot air balloon already twice. These both happened in Pampanga (Read: First Time Balloon Rider Tips)
It was such a wonderful experience that on my second time I decided to do a video of the whole activity.
Here at PIHABF, it was actually my second time as well attending. The first one was memorable in a different way for I was stuck inside the Wish 107.5 bus talking on air almost the whole day.
This year, I went back and attended the first day of the event. I was actually expecting that I would be riding again a balloon. But as they said it, ‘shit happens!’ I was told that I was assigned to jump off the plane and do skydiving! I said, what??? Are you sure!?
Things to do at the 22nd PIHABF
Before I continue with my story, let me pause for a minute to tell you about the things you can do at this years PIHABF. You still got a few days, so I guess knowing about the things to do there would be very useful.
As I said, the event place is very accessible, but could be a bit far from convenience stores or restaurants, that is the reason why they’ve setup Fly Markets dedicated for all of the guests. They got big selection of food, refreshments, all kinds of merchandise, local goods, balloon fiesta souvenirs, and a lot more!
I even saw an area for kids to enjoy. Kids and kids at heart can even fly kites. There is a stage where a concert is being held, a covered area where one can just chill and have snacks. You may even have your own tent or set up a picnic mat in the huge open space while waiting for days highlight.
On the first day of the event, I was able to witness aviators from around the world flying in action! The National Anthem was even presented very well by having a paraglider carry the Philippine flag as he glides down from the sky.
Skydiving, Paragliding, Helicopter ride, and of course Hot Air balloon flight are just a few of the highlights of the event. PIHABF also have ‘Search & Rescue Flight Demonstrations‘ where partner agencies Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Navy demonstrate their skills and training in Search and Rescue, from helicopter missions to on-ground operations.
One of the newest thing that PIHABF brought here in Manila was the exhilarating performance of the world-renowned Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers, who consider themselves “the world’s only aerobatic formation wingwalking team.” It was there first performance here in the Philippines, and as I said it, it was really a death-defying stunt!
For lovers who wanted to level-up their Pre-Nup photos and videos, holding it here at PIHABF could be a very good idea. PIHABF is also accepting events like Wedding Proposals or Pre-Nup shoots at the event. Actually, I bump into my friend in the runway while he was doing a pre-nup video for his client.
Videographer Wisdom Ison took this shot while I am setting up my iphone.
Ticket selling for the rides are already close but General Ad tickets can still be bought at the venue. Entrance Ticket price cost Php 500.
If you want a more fancy way of watching the show specially the balloons you can avail the VIP pass which costs Php 6,000 per person. With the VIP pass you can avail the following;
- Priority Entrance to the Fiesta
- Complimentary use of the Balloon Launch Patio
- Access to the air-conditioned lounge & toilet
- Breakfast buffet
- Lunch buffet
- Afternoon high tea
Just for the sake of giving you information for future plans (specially for those saving money to buy tickets next year) Here are the prices if you decided to participate in the rides:
Ticket to Ride prices
- Hot Air Balloon: US$350
- Tandem Skydiving: US$400 (Php 20,400)
- Tandem Paragliding: US$150 (Php 7,650)
- Helicopter Ride: Php 7,000
I said No! And I think I would regret it
Going back to my story.
Five of my blogger friends were already pre-assigned to ride the hot air balloon, the other 3 are going to ride a helicopter. Ruth and I was assigned to do skydiving or paragliding. She have already ticked skydiving in Guam, which could be a good reason for her to say no this time. While I have that mix feeling of wanting it and not.
This option was given to me a day before the major event, over dinner. I only got an hour to decide whether to accept it or not. I’m thinking that this could be a very good opportunity for me try it, after all, it was an experience being given for free. Did I mentioned already that skydiving will cost you Php20, 400. That is just less or more than 10 seconds of free fall and few more seconds gliding down the ground. Personally, I wouldn’t spend that much for that kind of death-defying activity.
I can actually feel the pressure over dinner. The odds of assessing it while having unlimited samgyupsal and ramen in Clark, Pampanga. The organizer might have felt that I and Ruth were adventurous enough to do those stuff. Well, I could be sometimes, but Skyding? I felt that is just one crazy ride, like top of the top kind of adventure and I felt that I am not ready to do it. I need time for it to sink in first. An hour to convince myself wouldn’t be enough I think.
I felt that one should be 100% sure before taking in that kind of ride. After all, at stake here is not just your money, but your one precious life as well. Being half-hearted isn’t going to work. So I said, NO!
But I think, this decision will hunt me in the future. I consider it now as an unfinished business I would need to ticked off on my list someday.
It was fun even I wasn’t able to do skydiving or paragliding or ride the balloons. I felt contented already just by watching everything that flies. It was such as great sight.
P.S. Next time do not surprise me telling that I would need to jump off a plane haha! I might say No again I’ll make sure to be ready next time.
The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is happening from February 8-11, 2018 at Clark, Pampanga. You can check out https://www.philballoonfest.net/ for information and full schedule of the activities.