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8th Hot-Air Balloon fest at Clark, Feb. 7-9
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: Arlene Dabu-Foz
Date: 2003-01-18
Tourism Secretary Richard J. Gordon will lead the launch of the 8th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta on Feb. 7-9 at the Omni Aviation ground in Clark Field, Pampanga, to be joined by balloonists from the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Korea, Japan and the Philippines.

As one of the countryís major tourism events for the year, which coincides with the Department of Tourismís (DoT) Visit Philippines 2003 banner program, the Hot Air Balloon festival is expected to haul in a lot of foreign and local guests to Clark Field.

The Hot Air Balloon Club of the Philippines, with its president Joy Roa of Air Ads, will be the front-liner in this yearís festival. Fifte

n hot air balloons will be featured in this spectacular aerial exhibition.

Gordon said this festival is one of the most exciting events of the year and is touted as the most creative of all hot air balloon events held in the country since 1994. A special balloon from Korea, shaped like a newspaper, will be among the main attractions.

Director Ronaldo Tiotuico of the Department of Tourism (

DoT) Region 3 said that hot air balloons have become a regular highlight in Clark Field. It was conceptualized as a budding activity three years after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

The hot air balloon show became a very effective sales pitch and made the whole world know that Pampanga was able to bounce back from a tragedy that was felt almost the world over when ash fall coated especially the ar

eaís nearby grounds.

Once interrupted, the hot air balloon festival was revived as a major tourist attraction in Pampanga. The presence of various foreign participants and guests at the festival pronounces clearly that the Philippines is a safe and secure haven for tourists.

The hot air balloon is a very different aerosport activity that depends on a favorable atmosphere for easy navigation. Balloonists score most with their flying skills than stamina to land closest to the designed point to win.

Balloons, particularly gas-fueled ones, are hard to maneuver as the pilots are at the mercy of the wind direction to change altitude from left to right and zigzag through the sky to touch base. Balloons travel at similar speed and the pilot who lands closest to the designated base becomes the winner.

To make the hot air balloon show more engaging, other air-sports activities will also be showcased during the festival. Various participating countries will mount more than a hundred aircraft demonstrations and acrobatic stunts to commemorate the centennial celebration of Clark Field as a US military territory.

To enjoy the aerial show, spectators are encouraged to be at the aviation field by 8 a.m. of the eventís first day to witness the fly out when wind velocity is at its best. The balloons are expected to be back around 5:30 p.m. for the fly-in competition.

Aside from hot air balloon flying, there will be prominent acromodellers, motorized glider exhibition, airplane show, paragliding, military aircraft exhibits and sky-diving exhibition. Concerts, trade exhibits and cookfest will also be held.

Among the sponsors are DoT, United Parcel Service (UPS), Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and Balloon Club of the Philippines.


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