Thursday, February 12, 2009

14th Philippine International Hotair Balloon Fiesta

Clark Field, Pampanga. 12th February 2009

Gigantic floating balloons of different shapes (Coke bottle, Cup, Elephant, etc.) dots the sky the sky on this year’s Hot Air Balloon Fiesta which also aims to promote aviation as a career.

Twenty-five hot air balloons of different shapes and sizes took off this morning here for the opening of this four-day event. These balloons were flown into the country by cargo firm UPS from participant countries including Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, France, United States of America, United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Netherlands and Malaysia.

Touted as the country’s biggest aviation event, the event also includes skydiving, paragliding and kite-flying exhibitions by military and privately-run flying clubs.
Held yearly here at the former American air base, this year’s event is expected to better last year in terms of the number of visitors. According to event organizers, last year’s event drew in some 55,000 visitors.

The organizers expects that between 75,000 to 100,000 visitors. The opening day also saw a lot of students who came in at sunrise to witness balloons take off amidst the clear weather condition here.

Tourists can ride a hot air balloon for $150 or about P 7,000. Free rides are also accommodated but on a first-come, first-served basis, according to Roa. The event will run from 12th to 15th February (sunday),charges an entrance fee of P100 per person.

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