Hot Air

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Last weekend, we drove to Clark Field in Pampanga (a province north of Manila) for the 18th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. We arrived early enough but there was already a huge crowd milling about. As I fiddled with the camera, I enviously eyed the ones who were able to secure a good spot for the expected photo ops and complained to the husband that everyone around me seemed too tall! ­čśÇ

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To signal the start of the festival, skydivers jumped from a light plane, one of them with the Philippine flag. We then spent the rest of the morning  with our eyes glued to the sky, enjoying the sight of colorful balloons and paragliders and getting mightily impressed with the daring of aeronautical acrobats. Like everyone else who had a gadget (or two) in hand, I just clicked and clicked away.

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I’ll post pictures of the cute balloons next time. ­čÖé

It’s Fiesta de San Vicente Ferrer in Valencia, Spain

Today, April 16, the city of Valencia, Spain is celebrating the Feast Day of San Vicente Ferrer. The fiesta is much less known than the world-famous week-long Valencian festival known as Las Fallas, which is by all indications a huge, rowdy, fiery celebration (hence its popularity particularly with the college-age crowd).

The Fiesta de San Vicente Ferrer is more laid-back and the focus of the festivities is on the city’s patron saint, with such activities as the Offering of Flowers and the so-called Street Altars. It is a good time to visit Valencia, if one hopes to take part in some cultural traditions and see the locals (instead of hordes of fellow tourists) in a more relaxed but still festive atmosphere.

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