Photo Essay: Hot Air Balloon Ride

I have always wanted to ride a hot air balloon. My curiosity started with shows on TV and movies where they get to ride one. For me, it’s like riding a kite only that it’s strong enough to carry me 🙂

My dream came true when I get to ride one last February. My sister and I went to the 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Clark Airfield, Pampanga. We woke up early so we can go to the airfield at 5:00am since it’s a first come, first serve basis. We waited for the in-charge to arrive and waited for the balloon assignment.

The moon at 5:00am while waiting for the ride.

Finally, we met the hot air balloon pilots also known as balloonists and went out to the field for the ride. My pilot’s name is Wolf and his assistant is Suzy, his wife.

The view on the field while searching for our balloon.

Each balloon is assigned a chase crew. Yes, that’s the name and yes, they do chase the balloon. Well, they also prepare the balloon and assist the pilot.

The crew is preparing the balloon for its flight.

The hot air balloons and the pilots came from different countries like Germany, Sweden, USA, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Finland, Hungary, Japan, South Korea  and Thailand. There were more than 20 balloons that went up and fly.

Hot Air Balloons take flight.

Finally, our balloon was going up in the air! I wanted to jump up and down but it’s gonna shake the balloon up so I just kept the excitement inside (huge grin on the face).

Aboard the Hot Air Balloon.

The crowd at the airfield.

I felt a bit dizzy as we were going up and my body adjusting to the air pressure. We were up a few thousand feet. The view is spectacular!

The aerial view of Pampanga, pretty isn’t it?

The view of Mt Arayat aboard a hot air balloon.

Hot Air Balloons of different shapes.

We were traveling on a speed of less than 10mph and the hot air inside the balloon controls the altitude at which we were traveling.

Looking for a place to land.

As all good things come to an end, We finally found a nice place to land safely. The balloon is equipped with GPS that allows the chase crew to locate us.

A picture with Wolf and Suzy from Germany while we were waiting for the chase crew to find us.

It felt so surreal riding a hot air balloon. It was a lot of fun looking at the world in a different view. It should be on everybody’s bucket list. Well, only to those who are not afraid of heights. 🙂