travel

A Beautiful Disaster

There are only few facts that I know about Mt. Pinatubo. One of those, from what mother has told me some time ago, is that our country and some nearby countries were severely affected by its eruption. It happened on June 1991 and by that time she was pregnant of me. She can still remember its aftermath – heavy monsoon rains accumulated with volcanic ashes and leaves of trees were filled with dust, that some of the kids that time needed to wear face masks so they won’t get asthma. Imagine we were from the Southern part of Luzon and Pinatubo was located in the North.

According to some research online, the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, having considered as the second largest volcanic eruption in the century, made an atmospheric impact on Earth’s temperature. Yes, it was indeed a disaster, but despite the destructive damage it has caused 24 years ago, Mt. Pinatubo has become an interest not only to Filipino mountaineers but to foreign tourists as well.

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A Weekend of Everything That Flies

When I first learned in a random Facebook page about the 19th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, I immediately shared it to my good friends and invited them to go. The 4-day annual event was held on Clark, Pampanga, on 12th-15th of February.

The plan was originally scheduled on Saturday, 14th, since everybody’s having a Valentines date except for me on that day, we decided to buy tickets for the next day instead.

It was still dawn when we arrived at Dau, Pampanga. With a long queue of people lined up on the jeepney terminal to Clark City, I already expected we will arrive late in the event area.

The city traffic was hilarious. Private vehicles clogged the highway, that even the jeep we’re riding took a different route, we still ended up trapped on the heavy traffic. Seeing hot air balloons on the sky when we’re still in our way makes it disappointing. But when we arrived inside and got our tickets stamped, some of the exhibitors are still setting up their hot air balloons, at least.

It was an amazing thing to watch knowing that it’s our first time to see such event. Balloons never failed to amuse me.

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The crowd was busy taking photographs as colorful hot air balloons floated on the clear skies of Clark. Those who were inside the balloon area were lucky indeed.

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No chairs to sit in the event area, just on the ground

Other than hot air ballooning, there were still flying exhibitions that followed – motorized paragliding, aerobatics, formation flying, radio-controlled model flights, and non-stop kite flying.

During some of the events, we decided to take some rest on the field and take photos. 😅

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We even bought a big umbrella to shade ourselves from the sun.

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Never a dull moment

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When evening came, a mini concert was held in the stage area. It was far from where we’re at but we can clearly hear the loud music. And just as the hot air balloons were ready to set up for the second time when they announced the bad weather so they canceled it. Kainis yung hangin. 😞 It also rained a bit but at least they were able to pull off the fireworks.

After the event, commuting back to Manila was the next challenge. There were no public vehicles to ride on, so we walked all the way to Dau terminal, and waited for a bus to reach home. Commuting is always a hassle to us, so it’s never new.

Nevertheless, thank you for the spectacular event, #PIHABF2015.