Why We’re Disappointed with the 21st Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival

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.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

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.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Hot Air Balloon Festival

I was expected the sky to be filled with a lot of balloons so I was really disappointed to see only a few.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Hot Air Balloon Festival

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.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

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.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Hot Air Balloon Festival

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?



  1. Reply


    April 11, 2017

    This is sad. I sure hope they don’t make this the last hot air balloon fest because I have yet to go there as well! It must have been such a let down :(

  2. Reply


    April 11, 2017

    This is sad. I do hope this wouldn’t be their last year because a final event should be something en grande! I wish there would still be a next time and I do feel your pain. It must have been such a let down. :(

  3. Reply


    April 12, 2017

    Great pictures..great activity..great festival..good to see all the stuff

  4. Reply

    Alvin Lau

    April 12, 2017

    Seems like the event could have been much better.. Haven’t had the chance to take a hot air balloon ride yet :(

  5. Reply


    April 12, 2017

    Wow that really sucks! The event looks so nice but it has so much flaws! How come…
    Great photos by the way!

  6. Reply


    April 12, 2017

    Naww… Sorry to hear that. Hope it gets better next year.

  7. Reply

    Laszlo Bihary

    April 12, 2017

    So you still had a great day i think. My brother is in the event business and every event seems like a big step to get everything the way it should be.

  8. Reply


    April 12, 2017

    We planned to go to this and it’s sad to find out it was pretty underwhelming. The photos are amazing though!

  9. Reply


    April 12, 2017

    I have only been once to a balloon festival, in Bristol and even if there should have been a lot of balloons, the weather was rainy so they couldn’t go up.

  10. Reply


    April 14, 2017

    Gaaaahdd!!! I went here too and expressed my disappointment of this event on my blog too! This event was handled poorly by the organizers. We had a commotion as we exit because the entry and exit are the same so there were an endless traffic and bottleneck. People were screaming and pushing each other dahil sobrang init at sikip and maalikabok. wew.

  11. Reply

    Contrarian Traveler Geemiz

    May 6, 2017

    I saw many pretty photo ops of the event in instagram and reading your post is like the behind the scene of those pretty photos. I hope the organizers will learn from this event and will have a more organized one in the future.