hot air balloon fiesta

by far the most unplanned trip we’ve ever taken..

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Travel is a huge part of how we live. We live a lifestyle that is conducive to always being on the go. We homeschool our children (which means we do school, everywhere, all the time). I work from my Macbook (which is basically everywhere, including traffic jams). We hired a farm helper (so Turo can supervise farm operations even remotely). We are lucky because we can just go to any place when we want to, without asking permission from the school or office, without being accountable to anybody but ourselves. Lucky, yes. But also because we made a great deal of sacrifices before we can be at this point and state in our lives.

So, early in April, when the summer weather started getting extreme, I thought we should go on a mini-vacation. Okay so I always think of going on a vacation, like every month, but this time I wanted to go on a trip with some level of urgency. I’m 6 months pregnant and heading into my third trimester, and if I don’t take the kids on a trip now, I won’t be able to until after I give birth and the newborn is at least a year old!

The idea is to plan for a manageable road trip, not too far and rough because I might have a hard time with my belly and all, but someplace new and different and hopefully exciting, and where we could really rest and enjoy each other’s company. I learned that the following weekend is when the Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival will be held. Sounds exciting. The venue is in Lubao, Pampanga, a place where we’ve never visited, but is an easy 2-3 hour drive from Manila. Check, check.

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To see the balloons taking flight, you need to be at the venue before 4:00 in the morning, as this is the best time for the balloons to go up, because of the wind speed, or whatever. Because we were all excited, we were up and ready at 3:00am and walked to the venue and patiently waited in line until they let us in to the place where we could view the balloons.

We were there early, and that was good. We got to see 4×4 monster trucks hauling the balloonists and their paraphernalia into the large open area where they were set to depart. One by one, the balloons were blown up. They were huge!

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The balloons were in various shapes and sizes. There was a motorcycle, a beer mug, a lion, a stinging bee, et cetera. It was a sight really to see how big and colorful they are, and as each balloon was slowly filled with hot air until it expanded to its real shape. And then one by one, the balloons were set free and were floating around above us spectators.

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We enjoyed a lot watching the balloons. It was one of those simple yet amazing things that you can keep watching for a long time. Nothing too fancy or elaborate, but the balloons were lovely and colourful, and we had such a great time just looking at them.

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All in all, the Hot Air Balloon Festival is not a you-shouldn’t-miss-it-in-your-lifetime kind of thing. But if you can take the time to see it, it’s worth waking up 3:00 in the morning for.

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