Ready for Balloons, Sparks, Music and Love!

February 11, 2011 (Friday)

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There are 2 main events in the Philippines that happen simultaneously on a Saturday before Valentine’s Day, at least from my personal experience last year and this year.  I remember because it was quite hard to choose one over the other so we chose to go to both last year – February 13, 2010. It was not a good choice since one was in Clark, Pampanga while the other was in Manila. It was my first Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and the 1st ever Pyromusical Competition in the Philippines. I wasn’t blogging then so I was quite oblivious to what was really happening except those that caught my attention. Last year was a purely visual experience and I was content to watch balloons and sparks in the sky. I was determined to make this year a different experience for both.

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The Choice: Pyromusical Competition or Hot Air Balloon Fiesta?
I chose to go to the Pyromusical Competition first to be able to go to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. I am talking about the first day of the competition when I say “the Saturday that coincides with the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta”. The competition lasts for 4 more Saturdays after that but the first Saturday is probably the most anticipated and grandest of them all. Meanwhile, there is actually no real choice to make because the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta happens on a consecutive Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Plus, the Saturday is almost always the day when the Hot Air Balloon attracts the most people so I would rather go there on a Thursday, the first day. Unfortunately, for this year, I went on a Sunday, the last day (also super crowded), due to my schedule. I will tell you all about it on the next post. Let’s talk about my first choice this year.

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What I Knew About the Pyromusical Competition from Last Year – Learnings, What to Bring and What to Expect Included
I knew this day is considered as a pre-Valentine date night. I knew it is held at SM Mall of Asia, the side facing the Manila Bay. I knew a lot of people are going (fortunately, there are Silver, Gold and V.I.P. passes). I knew it starts at around 7:30 p.m and ends at around 10 p.m. I knew from the term “Pyromusical” that it is not only about fire in the sky but music as well. I knew that several teams are competing, originally I thought all Pinoy (this event is an international competition). I knew I had to bring the essentials: a jacket for the cold breeze, a camera with video and large memory, a tripod for shooting the perfect sparks in the dark sky, a banig or mat to sit on the floor when there are no more chairs or seating areas, a chair if I don’t want to sit on the floor and a full stomach. Finally, I knew the Pyromusical Competition is a waiting experience – only 2 ~20-minute 1-hour apart firework shows per Saturday.

Here's what happened:
Getting Close to the Sparks in Manila Bay

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