MY FIRST PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL HOT AIR BALLOON EXPERIENCE: EXPECTATION VS. REALITY

Online photos, personal stories from friends or relatives, online reviews and comments, everything is being asked and researched weeks before ticking off another bucket list! Aside from the fact that part of it is to be prepared, we are bursting of excitement that we cannot help but to scan some photos and videos online. Not guilty? Well, I am!

Weeks before my hot air balloon ride, I kept on doing some research on how the previous Hot Air Balloon Fiesta went that even when my Cebu trip was happening, my mind was still on this day, February 8, 2018, the first day of 22nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2018! So, how it all went?

22nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 201822nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 2018(from left to right: Ruth Dela Cruz, Melo Villareal,Ana Gonzales, me, and Seph Cham)

Expectation:

–   Accompany: Riding the hot air balloon together with my friends and my guy, Seph.
–   Time: A friend of mine told me that the flight might take an hour, and I might get bored.
–   Height: I might get afraid of height once we reach the highest point.
–   Heat: There is a huge possibility that it will be a hot morning ride because of the hot air balloon’s Burners.

22nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 201822nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 201822nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 201822nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 2018Reality: What really happened

–  Accompany: Unfortunately, I was the only passenger assigned for Pepe the Hedgehog hot air balloon accompanied by its pilot, Jaroslav Kaiser, and his assistant. But what at first I thought was “unfortunate” was actually really good as I had a chance to appreciate the beauty of the view quietly.
–  Time: One hour did not feel an hour because of the stunning sceneries. Also, the lovely smiles and greetings of the people who all went out to wait for the hot air balloons to pass by were so blissful to look at. Plus, they were all waving and looked so delighted every time we waved back! So cute, right?
–  Height: Good thing, I got all distracted by the beautiful surroundings and cheery people that even though we reached 3,000 feet from the ground, I did not get nervous or scared.
–  Heat: The weather was pretty amazing this morning. It was a bit cold, which prevented the ambiance to get too hot. Also, it was a good thing I brought my cap with me to keep my head from the heat of burners!

22nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 2018To sum it up, from the moment I stepped in the wicker basket until I climbed out, I am on cloud nine! It is not just about the ride that made me feel really ecstatic, but the travel itself and the people I had a chance to interact with even for a short period of time. Additionally, even though my pilot and his assistant do not speak and understand English, I appreciate every gesture they made to make sure I enjoy the whole ride and I stay safe.

22nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 201822nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 201822nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 2018With regards to the landing, we landed very smoothly (kudos to the pilot!), and the view was totally stunning!!

22nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon 2018On the other hand, here are some outfit tips:
I recommend track pants, joggers, or any type of pants that are comfortable to move around as you will need to climb in and out of the hot air balloon’s wicker basket – it is not as easy as you think, trust me. While for your top, make sure to sport something cozy like a shirt, so you can move freely. Lastly, wearing a cap is a must, which is for protection from the heat of the burner.

Still haven’t experience riding a hot air balloon? Don’t worry, the 22nd Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is until on Sunday, February 11! Entrance ticket is Php 500, runway entry is Php 1,500, while ride ticket is USD350 each – a percentage of which goes to the PIHABF Foundation Scholarship Fund, granting scholarships to underprivileged but deserving students who want to pursue a career in aviation. Tickets are available at the Fiesta’s website, Ticketnet outlets, or at the event gates. For more details, check out www.philballoonfest.net!