North Luzon: 7 days up North at Lakbay Norte Media Tour

Lakbay Norte Morning at Paoay Sand Dunes

Lakbay Norte group Morning at the Sand Dunes

Pardon the lack of updates for the past few days as I was too busy to do advance post. I just got home from sweep tour of 4 regions, 8 key province stops and 1798Km road trip up North Luzon Philippines with 26 travel-hungry people aboard a Victory Liner Bus. It was packed, tiring but also fun. It was the Lakbay Norte NPVB (North Luzon Visitors Bureau) Media Tour with the aim to rediscover the north. I’ve always wanted to do this up-north horseshoe route and now here it is. Here’s a quick look of our 7-day sojourn up-north from January 24-31, 2010.

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Fill ‘er up and fly

11th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

11th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

It’s the Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta once again and this annual event is now on its 11th year. I really had plans on going back here once again since I enjoyed last year’s spectacle. At first I wasn’t sure if I could make this trip since a friend of mine who originally invited me to come suddenly backed out due to an unforeseen gig scheduled at that time. Fortunately, another friend texted, asking me for some info about the event. It turns out she’ll be going with her friends and I asked if I could join in. Everything was last minute though, as we had to leave that Friday night since we were going to stay at a villa in Mimosa. No one from the group wanted to wake up and drive early morning. So from the office, I hurried home, pulled out a small bag, grabbed a few clothes, took my camera equipments, dashed through my dinner and hurried to the place where they’ll pick me up.

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Car vs Plane

Car vs Plane

Car vs plane on a speed race. Whose faster?

Whose faster, a race car or a plane? If you asked me that I would definiely answer “Plane” no doubt. In the recent Phlippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark, one of the highlights in the event was the Car versus a plane race. So who do you think won?

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Clearwaters

Tree and swing

Have a swing under the tree

Staying at the Hot Air Balloon can be tiring, so after our kapapmpangan breakfast at some obscure palengke in Subic, my companions decided to do go to Clearwaters Country Club , a pretty exclusive resort in Clark. Actually there was a scheduled occular for their company’s summer outing. I decided to tag along.

Chair and kayaks

Spend a lazy afternoon sitting on a chair or ride one of those colorful kayaks at the lake.

Turns out to be quite a resort. It’s not really natural but the place is very picturesque and scenic. The lake water isn’t really “Clear” though. The guide said it was made to look like a natural pool so I didn’t press further. (more…)

Balloons in flight

Balloons in flight

The annual Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark, Pampanga

I was wide eyed when I woke up about 2:45 in Sunday morning. Pulling myself out of bed was effort enough but I have to get up if we were to catch the annual Hot Air Ballon Fiesta in Clark, Pampanga in time. It was the first time for me to attend this spectacle of an event and with free complimentary tickets to boot. It was an event not to miss, lest I have to wait again another year.

Fire it Up

Fire it up! Propane burners fill the balloons with hot air to fly.

We arrived in Clark by 5:45am after our meet up in Makati around 4am. The propane burners were lit up in the twilight sky and signaled the start of the event. Gradually the deflated balloons started filling up and the myriad gargantuan colors of these balloons started rising up from slumber and ready to take flight. (more…)