We’ve been wanting to go to a Hot Air Balloon Festival but we really had no chance so this year, when we had the opportunity, we didn’t let it pass!
There was also a rumor that this year is the last festival they’re going to hold but I don’t think so. Because if it really is, they should have made the best and perfect ending and that wasn’t how it turned out. Let me tell you why I was disappointed with my first Hot Air Balloon Festival experience.
No buses going to Dau
We decided to meet our friends at Victory Liner bus terminal in Pasay at 1:00 AM but Gerald and I were stuck in traffic due to the trucks so we arrived 30 minutes late.
We plan to ride a north-bound bus going to Dau, Pampanga but upon inquiring at the ticket booth, there were no more available seats. We asked around and we were told to try to check Five Star. However, there’s no direct route to Dau but they suggested to ride on a bus going to Dagupan and drop off Marquee Mall in Angeles, Pampanga.
We have already expected that there’ll be a lot of people commuting to Clark, but we overlooked the fact that there might be no buses available. Since we had no other options, we decided to just take the bus to Dagupan. It was already past 2:00 AM when we started our trip.
Traffic and lack of jeepneys
Due to traffic, we arrived 2 and a half hours later in Marquee Mall. From there, you can ride a jeep but since it’s still too early, there are no jeeps around. So we had to ask the tricycle drivers for their rates. They would charge you Php 100/person but we tried to haggle so we were given a price of Php 300 for the four of us. It’s still expensive but we had no other choice so we agreed to it.
Few minutes later, we arrived near the venue and since there’s a very long traffic, we just decided to walk up to the entrance.
Inconvenience for e-ticket holders
Mica and Eman both have no tickets yet but it didn’t cause any hassle to them. Instead, they were able to easily buy tickets and enter the venue. On the other hand, Gerald and I bought our tickets online so we have e-tickets with us.
To our disbelief, it took us few minutes before we could enter the venue. We had to go with a crowd of people on the e-tickets lane, which isn’t even properly managed. No lines, just a crowd of people trying to get in. There’s even no verification of e-tickets, they just get your printed ticket and they let you in.
Few hot air balloons
We waited for around an hour or two before the event officially started. There was an opening exhibition of skydiving and paragliding while the balloons are being inflated. Most of the balloons flew up in a few minutes but there were some that didn’t make it at all.
I was expected the sky to be filled with a lot of balloons so I was really disappointed to see only a few.
Dusty event venue
Good thing I didn’t wear anything white or else it will get brown by the end of the day because the venue is really dusty. Despite the long stretch of food booths, it’s hard to find a good place to eat because the table is either full, or dirty because of the dust.
An ice cream vendor told me that the previous festival is held at a different location, which is filled with grass so it isn’t dusty. I wonder why they changed the venue.
There are also no benches around except for the chairs and tables around the area that are also dusty. It would have been better if they got the best recliners so people can sit comfortably.
Lack of entertainment
During our stay in the morning, I was only able to see a stage with performers and kite-flying for the entertainment part. The only interesting we’ve seen are the sky-diving exhibitions.
I think there are other activities later in the afternoon but we didn’t bother to wait and watch them. The heat was really unbearable so after eating and taking few photos, we decided to get out of the venue and go home. Good thing we went out early because one of our friends said that it took them 2 hours because of the huge crowd of people that is also trying to get out of the venue.
Overall, I think I expected to much from the festival that I ended up being disappointed. The effort and hassle we went through isn’t worth it for the last festival. If ever they have another for next year, I hope I still could attend and have a better hot air balloon festival experience.
It’s your turn!
- Did you also attend the festival?
- How was your experience?