February 11-14 marked the days of the 15th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clarkfield, Pampanga. The exciting week-long event showcased numerous gigantic balloons, military tanks and weapons, and the Air Force’s jets and planes alongside with its brethren’s triumphs. The festival extends the history of Clark Air Base, having been the former United States Air Force and military facility based on Luzon for almost 90 years.
There was a lot more things to see and to do than to watch the balloons fly. There were skydiver flag jump, paragliding exhibition, aerobatic flight display, RC model aircraft demonstration, skydiving exhibition, light aircraft balloon bursting competition, kite flying exhibition, and rocketry demonstration.
The Gozun family spent some hours strolling at the free port zone on Valentine’s Day. We arrived at 9 am so we didn’t get to see all the balloons unlike last year, when we got to see all flying in at dusk. What we just did was to take a lot of photos of exhibitionists and us, carrying real riffles of soldiers, climbing up military tanks, and pseudo-flying a jet plane. It was a fun family bonding!
It was also my chance to test my new lens, Tamron Tele-Macro 70-300mm. I loved its ocular ability to hit the farthest plane in the sky.
Clark has never been a strange place to my family. Prior to the advent of SM, Ayala, and Robinsons Malls, there were Duty Free malls in the fields like Pure Gold, PX, and Oriental where we used to buy tons of households for a few dollars. Another thing is whenever there was a slumber party, we used to choose Fontana and Mimosa as our boot camps because they were easily accessible from our home.
To compare, I like the last year’s festival than the recent when at 9 am, the place was already congested with foreigners (aside from the Americans who permanently live in the vicinity of Clark), professional photographers, people from Metro Manila, and random travellers. While the congestion marks the success of tourism, I still miss breathing the fresh air while flying a kite and running.
On another note, Happy Valentine’s Day baby, and Kyong Hee Huat Chai to the Chinese-Filipino community!