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Friday, March 30, 2018

#VisitPampanga - The Lubao hot air balloon night glow, food trip and side trip to Capas

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This is part 2 of my #VisitPampanga blog post and adventure in Lubao, Pampanga. If you haven't read my 1st post, I suggest you go here via the link: #VisitPampanga - The Lubao hot air balloon, food trip, and wake board adventure!

We're still on the 1st day of the Lubao hot air balloon, after our travel and food trip, we went back here in Pradera Verde to cover the popular night glow of the hot air balloons. It will be my first time to see the night glow and Im very excited to see it.

The balloons are already up, and we arrived here at around 8pm. We got a schedule to interview Ex-Battalion and Silent Sanctuary, once we entered the back stage, we were advised that 3 people with cameras are only allowed inside the back stage tent. Hmmmm Okay, Actually I was okay with it, but the backstage manager didn't let me in,  so okay lang.

My agenda that night is for the night glow, but the problem is that we were at the back stage and once the balloons started bursting their burners, we are contained at the stage area and no chance to go near the balloons.

So my agenda for the next day is.....don't go at the back stage and just go straight to the ramp of the balloons for a closer look, and to take a shot and video of the night glow.

Btw, the cover photo above is from my day 2 coverage.

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The leader pilot on stage announced that all balloon pilots will glow their balloons all together after the count of 5. Then the glow of the balloons played in sync with the music: Disco Inferno by the Trammps 


Then I just realized, its hard to capture a nice photo of the night glow.
Its so dark and then the brightness of the balloons are not so balance.

The best way to capture this is to move away and wait til the balloon burst and glow.



Only way to capture it is to set to manual mode. So that my camera will be on a single focus by default. Oh that

Octopus balloon is so cute!
Its my first time to see it and  I added it in my most fave balloon here in Lubao.


Then it reminds me of.... takoyaki hahha


Spotted Ted Claudio trying to get a closer shot of the balloons


We're this is the only selfie that I got with my 1st night glow of the hot air balloons.
The night glow show is awesome!! for others its a romantic scene, for me, its one awesome event to experience to see the giant balloons light up in the dark field of Pradera Verde.


After the night glow, me and the #EATgetaway team went to the front of the stage to prepare for the music festival.

The Lubao hot air balloon event also features our top local artist and talent. That night they are featuring Ex -Batallion, Silent Sanctuary and Moira dela Torre.

Everyone are invited, but if you want to sit down in front of the stage, then you need to acquire a special pass or ticket. For others who are holding a regular pass, they are at the back of the barricade.


We missed the Ex-Batallion performance because we arrived at around 8pm, but we're just in time for Silent Sanctuary's first set.

The band performed their top hits including: Pasensya ka na, Ikaw Lamang, and Bumalik ka na sakin


I used my 55-200mm lens in covering the! it was like 2006 all over again, when I was active in covering music events and concerts. But Im getting old... my back hurts after this coverage hahah.

But Im happy with the Silent Sanctuary set because I see the people enjoying the music, its a proof that OPM is still in good shape.

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Crowd shots


Here's my attempt in capturing a wide and lower angle shot. Its hard to get a nice timing, because I ran near the stage and after 1-3 clicks, I ran back and duck on the crowd to not distract the audience.



While I took this shot, me and the police man are laughing, because we stand infront of the big speaker of the stage. I didn't noticed that it was a speaker, there was a moment that the vocalist of the band is talking and then when they played the music, I was surprised with the loud bass sound coming from my left side... it was a giant speaker!!

Nagkatawanan na lang kami ng pulis after... buti it was located lower our ear -if ever..bingi kami.


Next is Moira dela Torre.
We have this inside joke and its about her song can make everyone sleepy...because of the relaxing, smooth, comfy of her voice.

I listened but... ayun I got sleepy, I exited the venue and went to the media tent to rest. nakakaantok nga talaga.

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The crowd are so hyper... so baligtad. If you are a fan talaga you get to enjoy more of the song and lyrics.


After the music festival, we went here at the field area to watch the fireworks display. There's a schedule of fireworks every end of the event. This is my first coverage for the full Lubao hot air balloon event.

We went back to the hotel to sleep. But we arrived at around 1am because of the long travel. Then after hitting the bed...I send a message to my group and informed them that I can no longer join the day 2 morning flight of the balloons, because I need to have a complete sleep.

It was lights out after 1am and wow!!! complete sleep finally.



I woke up at around 6:40am and I saw a series of FB message in my group at PBNET and I was confused and I didn't understand what the message is all about. After back reading some messages, I learned that our friend Raffy Pekson passed away at around midnight.  It was hard to accept it and I told them this might be a joke, then after some minutes, we got confirmation.

I felt sad and was quiet for awhile, then I sent a message back to my friends that we should wait for more information, because our friend's body was taken care of his relatives in Paranaque. Sad day for the blogging community,  my dear Raffy, we will miss you sobra!

photo above was from last Feb 2018.


After an exchange of message to Ted and Enzo, we talked for awhile via chat and discussed what happened to our friend Raffy. They are not in the hotel at that morning, because they are in the Lubao hot air balloon event.

So I told them that I will follow them and meet for lunch in Apag Marangle.

So Invited Aci to come over and eat our breakfast at the restaurant of Royce Hotel and Casino.



Many people shared a short review about Royce Hotel and they told me that their buffet breakfast is good.  Yes they are right! I love the combination of Pinoy food and also Korean food at the buffet area.  There are no problems for my two sunny side up eggs and my only complain is that..why is that their bacon is not so crispy. Hmmm maybe because they cook it in a different way. But still, I love the breakfast.


After I re-organize myself after learning the bad news, I still got the energy to get up and plan our commute going to Bacolor, Pampanga.

Thanks to the staff of Royce Hotel and Casino for sharing my some tips to commute via jeep. But then we learned that there's a Grab Car service in Clark. So I booked a Grab Car ride with a fare of PHP 165 going to Dau terminal, at the terminal we ride the jeep going to SM San Fernando, Pampanga, the jeep fare is PHP 30. Then at the jeep terminal of SM San Fernando, we rode one jeep going to Lubao, Pampanga. - - WOW!!! finally!!  now I know how to commute going to Lubao and also to Pradera Verde if you are here in Pampanga.

The driver said that the jeep will pass by Apag Marangle in Bacolor, Pampanga, We paid for PHP20 each for the jeep ride to Bacolor.

Btw, dont trust the Google Maps and Waze. The Apag Marangle pin point is not accurate! you have been warned.


Here's a funny thing --- it was scorching hot that lunch time and this guy placed an industrial fan at the entrance of the jeep to keep the commuters comfy under the heat of the sun.

I just wish that we have this too in Manila.


My travel partner of the day, Aci Girl.  who is much more excited than me.


Travel time to Bacolor is around 1 1/2 hour.. a bit longer than I expected because of the jeepney stop and traffic along the way. But we made it for lunch here in Apag Marangle.

Apag Marangle is a Kapampangan restaurant specializing the local cuisine of Pampanga. Some locals mentioned that Apag Marangle also serve some exotic food.

I got excited because I want to eat a fried cricket and crispy frog legs.

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Here's our food at Apag Marangle. - Paella Filipino style, Grilled Cat fish, Sisig and Sizziling Adobong Balut. There are a lot more but I forgot to take a photo of it.

No cricket and frog legs, but that's okay, Im happy to bite some chicharon bulaklak hahahaha.



Apag Marangle has a floating dining area located near this pond. Its a bahay kubo set up and everyone can eat there while enjoying the nature around them. You can also request to ride this bamboo raft, or just stand on it for a quick photo op.

After our lunch we went back to the hotel to rest and also charge some of our batteries. The bloggers who went at the morning flight of the balloons got tired and they need to sleep.

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At the day 2 of the Lubao hot air balloons, we went back here in time for the Earth Hour and also the night glow.  But first we visited the food stalls and ordered some barbecue and hotdogs for our quick and light dinner.

At first I thought that there will be no night glow because I haven't spotted any sign of the balloons in the area, but when the clock strikes at 8pm, I saw that the balloons starts to appear in the dark one by one.

wow! my heart starts to pump and I excuse myself to my companions that I really need to get to the ramp area and have a closer look of the balloons for their night glow.


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Finally!!! A closer look of the night glow of the balloons!! Im so happy and its already out of my bucket list hahaha. Next time, I will ride on it and fly around Pampanga with the hot air balloon. See you next year!!

Also watch my vlog featuring the night glow --

For my other vlog
day 1 -
day 1 night glow -


After the hot air balloon night glow coverage, Jeoff Solas invited us at the Comercio Central food park in Clark, Pampanga.


Comercio Central features all food establishments that are based here in Pampanga. The food is a mix of food coming from Mabalacat, Angeles, San Fernando, Guagua, Lubao, Bacolor and etc.

I've learned that the food park caters the people of Pampanga and almost everyone are in there. When we arrived all seats are full and there's a music performance on stage to keep the night alive.

The good part here is that Comercio Central is only open from 5pm up to 12am.
People know where to go, where to start and how to end their food trip with friends and family.

If you are in Clark, Pampanga, I suggest you visit Comercio Central in Clark Parade Grounds, S Osmena, Clark Freeport, Mabalacat, Pampanga.

The location is just a walking distance from Royce Hotel and Casino.

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Its weird that the weather in Clark is like a Baguio or Tagaytay. Yes.. we are freezing that evening and this hot chocolate batirol helped us to be warm.

For a price of PHP 60, we get to enjoy a yummy thick hot choco.

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After eating that yummy grilled squid... I crave for a home made pizza. I spotted this Danda's Pizza and I ordered a large pizza size, price is around PHP 160.

Sarap nya!!! I love home made pizza!

Btw, while we are in Lubao for the hot air balloon,  our #EATgetaway team mate Ted Claudio was here in Comercio Central to cover the EARTH HOUR event,

check out his video via Youtube here at -


For our day 3, actually this supposed to be day 4, we woke up again late morning and ate our breakfast at around 9am.

I always instruct my team that we should go down at 9am so that we have a longer sleep. But some of us still woke up at 6am hahah.


That day was March 25th. My wife is calling me on my phone via FB messenger, but I wasn't able to answer it. She told me that its our 8th year wedding anniversary. But she didn't know I already posted something on FB to surprise her... At first she was mad at me becacuse I do not answer her calls ( I actually got mad at her on something, but we talked after our feelings are clear) But she's okay after she was surprised on my FB post ahhahaaha... gotcha!

She and my kid are in Australia, they will be back here after 3 months, so our celebration will be delayed and will continue once Im no longer busy this March to June.


For lunch, Jeoff invited us to eat here at Majestic Cafe located at the 2nd floor of Royce Hotel and Casino, Its an international cuisine resto and cafe, they have Filipino, American, Japanese, Chinese and Korean food on the menu.

Here's my food that day, a hot spicy Galbi-jjim beef


Everyone ordered this smootie of the day - Pink Passion fruit.
I ordered one for my dessert, and whoaaa its really sweet!


Sweet and sour Pork with Rice


Hmmm someone ordered a set of pizza! ahhahaha may nag craze after I ordered that home made pizza from last night.


After our lunch in Royce Hotel, me and the #EATgetaway team traveled to Angeles City to meet our blogger friend Gabriel Diaz, who is now based in Pampanga with his wife.

He invited us for a short food side trip, we went here in Newpoint Mall (near Nepo Mall ) to try this Tomochan, a ramen fast food located at the food court basement.


Tomochan serves an affordable kind of ramen. Its a ramen house in a food court setting, but the process and proper handling of ramen and its broth soup is following the same process in Japan.

The staff are well trained and using the techniques of ramen houses.

Here I tried their Spicy Shoyu Tantan ramen  (PHP 129)


Shoyu Special (PHP 149)




They also introduced another brand that are available in some malls in Pampanga. Here at Tomochan, they also serve soft-served vanilla ice cream from Kionchan.

Im super curious about Kionchan, because in their main branch, they have Kakigori -- if we have Halo halo, then the Koreans have Patbingsu, for the Japanese they have Kakigori

Must go back here and visit Kionchan next time.


After our food trip with Tomochan, our friend Gab brought us here in Capas National Shrine in Capas, Tarlac. We learned that there's a group of soldiers who are marching for 36 hours,  marching from Bataan up to Capas, Tarlac. The event is in commemoration of the 76th year of the Bataan Death March, an event organized by Freedom Trail of Veteran's Bank.


We also met our former President Fidel V. Ramos, who joined the last 10km march to Capas National Shrine. I have a separate blog post about this, so stay tuned, but if you want to watch my vlog, then just click and watch it --


We went back to Comercio Central that evening for our late dinner. We're tired but the energy at Comercio Central made us so alive and well, I think the positive energy around the park helped us recover from the long travel.


At around 10pm. Comercio Central is in full blast.
Btw, I forgot to mention that they are only open during weekends.
From 5pm to 12am only.


More on the table! woot!!


Im happy that Aling Lucing Sisig is present here at Comercio Central.
OMG! their sisig is the best ever!
No need to travel to Angeles City, if Im here at Clark on a weekend, then Comercio Central is the best place to go at night for some food trip.


Perfect dessert with our hot coffee and hot choco! Yes, we are freezing that night! but a heavy load of sweets and soft chiffon cake with yeman and cheese is the best way to end our evening.

Happy thoughts always after eating a cake! ahhaha

DAY 5 - in Pampanga


Time to check out and say bye bye to Royce Hotel and Casino. I forgot to have a group photo of us while on a long big table during our breakfast. But that's okay, because I got good news that we will back here in Comercio Central again this April --- so get ready again for another Pampanga food adventure!


It will be Easter Sunday this coming April 1, if you are in Clark, Pampanga with your kids, I suggest you check out this promo.


This is my 2nd time to tour around Pampanga, and for me this is one for the books!
Thanks so much for your time in reading my long long blog post.

Feel free to comment and suggest what we can do next time in Pampanga -- food, historical, cultural, lifestyle, travel and events.

Dakal a Salamat!!!

Azrael Coladilla is the blogger and founder of Azrael's Merryland Blog. This blog started as a personal blog in 2003, and then converted the blog into a lifeblog about his interest and reporting about pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, food, travel, toys, outdoor adventure, internet and social media. Awarded as the 2009 Most Influential Blogger for Luzon, Philippines, awarded by the Philippine Blog Awards. He is the founder of several online communities - Manila Bloggers Network, Philippine Bloggers Network, Oh My Food! community, Cavite Bloggers, Travel and Blog Community, and Philippine ToyCon. Azrael's Merryland Blog is included in a list of top 50 Blogs in the Philippines , ranked 65th in Top 100 Blogs that Matter , 49 must read lifestyle blog in the Philippines. and rank 40th in 100 Top Philippine Blogs by Feedspot.
He loves to travel, explore, discover, eat new food, document and record his life, meet new people, do photography and collect Transformers toys.
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Oct 10
3pm - HONOR Launch in BGC
4pm - Globe x Bistro Group event in BGC

Oct 11
2pm -real estate event in Makati
6pm - Whisky Live Manila presscon

Oct 12
11am - Bounty Fresh event in Trinoma
6pm- Marvel Studios 10th anniversary launch in SM Aura

Oct 13
10am Sunny Eve baptism
2pm iDiscover Quiapo tour
8pm POPTALK TV guesting on GMA News TV

Oct 14
9am - DSWD event in Sky Dome

Oct 15
11am tech event in SM North EDSA

Oct 18
2pm Tech event in MOA
10m Philpop event in BGC

Oct 28-29
Out of town trip