Saturday, February 27, 2010

Asia 360 - 15th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival (1/3)

It was a little more than an hour’s worth of drive from Manila. The freeways once again befitted being called as such for traffic was, as expected, very light during those wee hours of the night. The destination was Clark, Pampanga, a former US Air base that now boasts of an international airport and a free port zone. The occasion: the 15th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

We got there before 5 a.m., way before the balloonists started setting up. Already the place was packed and a feeling of excitement seemed to abound in the air. Eager photography enthusiasts had already chosen their spots and erected their tripods behind the fence bordering the open field. People lined up behind food counters to buy breakfast. People had assembled near the gates in the hopes of getting out into the field, where all the action would later take place.

We ordered hotdogs ourselves and waited for a few minutes before heading into the open field just as pick-up trucks and jeeps arrived with their huge baskets in tow.

The balloonists clearly follow a process in setting up their balloons. We'd say watching them get ready is as exciting as watching the balloons go up in the air. Here's the sequence we've observed:
  • the envelope is spread out in the field

  • a fan is used to fill the envelope with air

  • the basket is laid down on one side and is attached to the envelope

  • the burners are attached

  • the envelopes are hooked up to the basket

  • the burners are ignited and the air inside the enveloped is gradually warmed up

  • finally, the basket is turned upright.
After that, the basket is ready to be loaded with passengers. Then, the countdown to takeoff begins!

More photos in the next entries.

To be continued...


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At February 28, 2010 at 3:34 AM , Anonymous kaning said...


At February 28, 2010 at 1:16 PM , Blogger Singapore Fountain Pen said...

thanks, kaning!


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