17th Annual Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Clark, Philippines Set

The Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (PIHABF) is an annual event that attracts balloonists from all over the world.

Over the past several years, it has turned into a convention of sorts including enthusiasts of aero-sports and other aviation-related pursuits.

For the past 15 years, PIHABF has been an extremely successful event that attracts thousands of spectators, both local and international.

Aside from the display of a profusion of multi-colored hot air balloons, the festival also features a number of expedition events such as skydiving, flag jumps, micro-light aircraft and rocketry demonstrations, small plane fly-bys and fly-ins, remote-control airplane and helicopter flying exhibitions, freestyle aerobatics, precision maneuvers, light airplane balloon bursting, ultra-light flying formation and bomb dropping, kite-making and choreographed kite-flying, hi-start launch gliding, pylon racing, banner towing, aero-modeling symposium and races between ultra lights and motorcycles.

At least 22 hot air balloons, including some special-shaped balloons, from nine countries, will be the main attractions in the forthcoming 17th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta that will provide a kaleidoscopic of views inside this Freeport Zone from February 9 to 12 at the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) ADAC Hangar here.

Clark Development Corporation president Felipe Antonio B. Remollo said this year’s event will be bigger and better as more American balloonists have confirmed attendance.

Joy Roa, president of Philippine Hot Air Balloon said that the kiwi-shaped balloon would be among the attractions in this year's festivities during the weekend of everything that flies.

Roa, in a meeting with the CDC hot air balloon committee, said the balloonists will come from the United States, Finland, Sweden, Amsterdam, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

The hot air balloon fest is one of the main sports-tourism attractions in Clark which is under the auspices of the Department of Tourism.

The event is expected to attract more foreign and local tourists this year as more than 100,000 people are expected to flock to Clark during the event.

This was announced by Remollo during the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the state-run corporation and the PIHABF Foundation, Inc. held at the CDC corporate headquarters here.

Remollo signed the MOA with PIHABF Foundation’s Roa signaling the start of preparations for the 17th staging of the balloon fest.

Compared to last year’s 80,000 mark, Remollo said the four-day balloon fest is expected to attract more visitors to the Freeport since it plays host to a variety of sporting activities during the weekends.

Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta - via commons.wikimedia.org
Remollo said he had tasked the CDC Tourism Promotions Office to bring more sports activities to the Freeport. During the weekends, Clark is a favorite venue for outdoor sports like soccer, baseball, and marathons.

The Philippine hot air balloon fiesta started in 1994 at the height of the Mt. Pinatubo aftermath from the June 1991 eruptions. Since then, Clark has been the main site of the event, attracting visitors from the provinces of Central and Northern Luzon, including tourists from other countries.

Other activities lined up for the event are the special air sporting which includes sky diving-cum-flag-jump (pilot carries with him the Philippine Flag on the way down), ultra light planes, aerobatic precision flying, light airplane rally, helicopter flight demo, hang gliding, remote controlled aeromodellers as well as kite flying, among others.

The event is also being supported by the Angeles City Four Wheelers Club whose members have been assisting the balloonists in search and rescue operations.

The Philippine hot air balloon fiesta is a joint project of Air Ads, DOT, CDC, Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC), 600th Air Base Wing of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in Clark, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the United Parcel Service (UPS). (WLB/CDC)

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