Hot Air Balloon Festival 2018, flying high for 22 years


Celebrating for two decades and two years, millions of tourists from all around the globe still enjoy the consecutive years of flying high at the top of the world as Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (PIHABF) 2018 will again take place from February 8 to 11 at Omni Aviation Complex in Clark, Pampanga for its 22nd edition.

People will surely love looking the scenery above for the festival will showcase around 25 giant hot air balloons from different parts of the world that will invade the blue skies of Clark.

Hot Air Balloon Festival 2018, flying high for 22 years
Image Credit: PhilBalloonfest.net

According to reports, some of its new balloons come in complex shapes and colorful styles namely the Happy Heart, Matryoshka Russian Doll, Queen’s Guard, Giant Strawberry, Buddy Balloon, Captain Jack, Princess Nellie, Vostok Balloon, Master Yoda, Morris the Donkey, Bruno the Clown and Pepe the Hedgehog.

Aside from the beautiful hot air balloons, the highlight of the festival for this year is the thrilling exhibition of the world-renowned Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers, who consider themselves as “the world’s only aerobatic formation wingwalking team,” performing for the first time in the Philippines.

The visitors will expect an extravagant aerial show from a two stearman biplanes flown in a dynamic routine of dazzling aerobatics doing loops, rolls, stall turns and inverted flights – while two fearless female wingwalkers do their own acrobatic moves and handstands while strapped to the aircraft’s wings

The PIHABF is also known as the longest-running sports aviation event in Asia, it aims to annually boost tourism in Clark, Pampanga and the Philippines as well as promoting the hobby as a legitimate sport among enthusiasts.

Some of the expected activities in the fiesta are an early morning balloon flights which are followed by non-stop flying activities – including paragliding, skydiving, aerobatic exhibitions, formation flights, balloon bursting competitions and kite flying.

The festival which was dubbed as “A Weekend of Everything That Flies” also have activities on ground like supercar drifting exhibitions as airplanes drop flour bombs overhead, drone racing and RC control line flying exhibitions, archery, horseback riding, camel riding, animal feeding, family and friends can also take home some souvenirs that can find from the Fly Market.

International and local musical artists are also expected to perform at nights, fireworks display and balloon nightglow that will brighten up the last evening of the Fiesta.

For those interested at the event, tourists can book discovery flights, such as hot air balloon rides, tandem skydiving, tandem paragliding, airplane and helicopter rides, and aerobatic flights – all supervised by expert aviators. Discovery flight tickets should be booked through the Fiesta’s official website prior to the Fiesta.

Entrance ticket at the fiesta is P500 each person, a percentage of which goes to the PIHABF Foundation Scholarship Fund, granting scholarships to underprivileged but deserving students who want to pursue a career in aviation.

Tickets are available at the fiesta’s official website, SM Ticketnet outlets, Clark Development Corporation’s Tourism and Promotion Division office or at the event gates.

For more details and prices for the activities, visit https://www.philballoonfest.net, follow @philballoonfest on Twitter and Instagram, and like @PIHABF on Facebook.

According to the website’s history, The PIHABF started in 1994, with the main goal of jumpstarting the local economy and uplifting the morale of communities in Central Luzon, after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Under the leadership of the former Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Mina Gabor, 21 balloon pilots from 10 countries showcased their balloon flying skills, with Capt. Joy Roa leading the delegation from the Philippines.

It added that in 1996, being the only licensed balloon pilot in the country, Capt. Joy was tasked to take the reins of overseeing the event from the DOT. Also a fixed wing and rotary wing pilot, and avid aviation enthusiast, he encouraged the inclusion of all other flying disciplines, transforming the fiesta into A Weekend of Everything that Flies.


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