Trip down memory lane
I have fond memories of Angeles City. It used to be my home during Christmas season for several years. My maternal grandmother’s sister who was childless lived there, so my aunt and I spent the holidays with her. The mere mention of Angeles City invokes images of pecan cakes, Baskin & Robbins ice cream, pata tim, overflowing chocolates and other delicious foods in my head. Duty Free too! It was thus saddening when Lola Anne’s husband died and then she sold her two big houses in Angeles City to retire in Quezon Province.
Thank you Yhen Dreyfus!
When Yhen Dreyfus gave me five tickets to Zoocobia for its Love is in the Air event on February 23, I was ecstatic. After about a decade, I will set foot in Angeles once more!
No place to stay!
Randy, Raviv and I, together with Yaya Isay and Ate Alona arrived in Clark, Angeles at 9 a.m. First thing we did was to scout for a hotel. On the way to Angeles, I was warned by an aunt that we will have so much difficulty looking for a hotel within Clark because the Hot Air Festival was such a blockbuster that tourists will have filled up almost all hotels. And lo and behold, she was right! Even the suites of the Holiday Inn (where I really, really wanted to stay) and the expensive villas in Fontana were fully booked! Even the hotels along Friendship Avenue were also full! I could not believe it at first because there were sooooo many hotels along that road. As in! I was begging the receptionists but all they could give me were apologetic smiles. It was already past 2 p.m. when we had a hotel. Good thing I had Oxford Hotel’s telephone number—on the road I called them and I was told there was a reservation cancellation. I immediately told them to reserve that room and then we hurried off to pay for the available room.
After we put our things in our hotel room, we immediately proceeded to Zoocobia. We got lost going to Zoocobia because I failed to notice that there was a map at the back of our tickets. Toinks!
Welcome to Zoocobia!
We arrived at Zoocobia almost at the same time Yhen and her family did. Zoocobia is a lot smaller than Zoobic Safari yet Raviv still had an awesome time.
Of course, there were lotsa animals that you can touch.
There were also three giant slides that cost P50/slide. At first I didn’t want Raviv to slide, but when the custodian said it was safe for toddlers, I urged Randy to go with Raviv. We thought he’d be scared but boy oh boy, just take a look at his facial expression:
He loved it so much he said, “Again!” right after. Randy urged me to chaperon Raviv this time but I was the ‘fraidy cat! So it was Ate Alona who did:
See? Kahit nahulog sila all smiles pa rin si Raviv!
Raviv also went horsebackriding. Alone! Not alone as in alone, but alone as in he did not ask us to come with him. He bravely rode the horse, held the reins and that was it! Can I just say how proud I am of my unico hijo?
And of course hindi nagpahuli sa fun sina Yaya Isay and Ate Kal (Alona):
There were several shows that evening, but we were doggone tired. We left for Angeles at dawn and our hotel hunting was really exhausting. We had a hearty dinner and then went back to Oxford Hotel.
The Hotair Balloons Fiesta is selling like hotcakes!
The following morning, we left our hotel a little past 6 to go to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. If you think that was early, you’re dead wrong! As we approached the Clark Freeport Zone, there was already heavy traffic!
We were parked far, far away from the entrance to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and we had no choice but to be on foot. Good thing that the weather was cool and the sun was not shining that brightly yet. The fact that the balloons were being released as we were walking made the journey more tolerable.
As we neared the entrance to Clark Freeport Zone, naku ang OA ng crowd! One false move and a stampede might ensue! Siksikan kung siksikan!
When we were finally able to get in, surprise surprise!!! Andami pa ring tao! And I thought that the P250/head ticket would deter people from getting in and would satisfy themselves with just looking at the balloons and jets from afar. There were also lots of food inside–from street food to even Rack’s and Brother’s Burgers! Too bad I did not know what to expect that I had us all eat Lucky Me noodles at a small canteen by the entrance. Nakipila pa ako nang pagkatagal-tagal para lang sa noodles e andami palang kainan sa loob!
Aside from food, we were also able to get a closer look at small aeroplanes and the hot air balloons that were about to take off.
Even though I was so envious of the rich people who were able to afford the P10,000/head hot air balloon ride, I could not help waving at them. Parang nafi-feel ko ‘yung excitement nila and I was so happy for them.
Yaya Isay: Ma’am, sakay din tayo. P10,000 lang naman e.
Me: Nye ang mahal nun no!
Yaya Isay: Mag-contribute kami ni Kal (Alona)–P5,000 sa inyo ni Sir tapos tig-P2,500 kami ni Kal. Ilang linggo lang naman namin sweldo yun.
Randy: P10,000 isang tao!
Yaya Isay: Ay susmarya!
But seriously, Randy promised that when Raviv gets older, Familia Ladaga will be up, up and away talaga!
Of all that I’ve seen inside, one thing made me and Randy and Yaya Isay and Alona say that our pagod was worth it: The Breitling Jet Team exhibition! Man oh man it was awe-sooome!!! Good thing Randy talked me out of leaving so soon, and told me to wait for the Breitling team.
The exhibition was so awesome that I had a really bad mom moment: during the exhibition Raviv was very sleepy, hungry and sweaty (the sun was already shining brightly) and wanted me to lull him to sleep. But I was so captivated by the daring exhibition that I chose to ignore Raviv’s crying muna. Bad no? Pero bumawi naman ako later 😉
Going home, I can’t help but feel a twinge of loneliness of leaving Angeles. I felt lonelier when I saw the dilapidated shops and abandoned buildings that were once glorious.
It was like a scene from The Walking Dead. 🙁 I wonder how much lonelier it is in Clark without the throng of people who were there just for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.
But at least, even for just a few days, Clark Field was alive with people who were with their loved ones for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.
Tell me what you think!
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