Hot Air Balloon 2014 fiesta to take place in Clark

Published on : Friday, January 24, 2014

Philippines-3376-300x203In order to sustain the level of excitement and enthusiasm that thousands of people feel whenever the hot-air balloon fiesta takes place in Clark, the Department of Tourism through its Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. decided to take the lead role in organizing the 2014 hot – air balloon festival. In fact Secretary Jimenez gave the marching orders for the regional tourism office to take the lead in organizing the ballooning event in 2014 in tandem with Clark Development Corporation, Clark International Airport Corporation and PAF Air Division (600th Air Base Wing).

The festival will henceforth be held on April 10 – 13, 2014 at the Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines.

Secretary Jimenez said that this event has become so huge and wide that it has to be supported by both the government and the private sector as it brings pride to the country as one of the more convenient places to fly balloons.

Regional Director Ronaldo Tiotuico, who was given the go-signal to proceed with the project upon recommendation of Undersecretary Ma. Victoria Jasmin, said that after due consultation with private stakeholders and major players in the tourism and travel industry, it was made clear that there is no better opportune time to fly these giant dirigibles than today when the country is experiencing one of its most challenging moments in its history. The same event has been institutionalized for the last 18 years.

For his part, Atty. Arthur Tugade, president of CDC, confirmed the partnership between DOT and CDC saying that he welcomes the involvement of the government in an international event that draws crowd from the ballooning community.

Based on previous years’ record, the only air-sporting event in the country draws to Clark more than 100,000 spectators from Pampanga and nearby towns including Metro Manila with each one spending a daily average of P2,500 for accommodation, transportation, food and souvenir items or an equivalent of P500-M in lost revenues.

It will be recalled that the ballooning event, which is said to be the first of its kind among South East Asian nations (ASEAN), was first initiated by the Department of Tourism in 1994 when former Secretary Mina Gabor took to task RD Tiotuico of Region III to take the lead in organizing and managing the international event. A pool of government and private agencies like CDC, ACTO, Angeles City Four Wheelers Club and Unetcom communication group joined forces to keep the balloons afloat every month of February. Some four years thereafter, the event was turned over to Capt. Joy Roa, himself a balloon pilot, to take up the project as the same had already grown much bigger than expected. With the support of CDC, CIAC and PAF, the project was pursued to the fullest extent possible even drawing the participation of a large number of foreign balloon pilots from all over the world.

RD Tiotuico said that the organizing committee, composed of leaders of various tourism associations in the region, has committed to work hard for the success of the event next year. It is expected to harness the resources of the tourism department including the Tourism Promotions Board by enlisting the support of its overseas offices in various countries worldwide by requesting them to extend official invitation to balloonists in their own areas of responsibility.

The committee also committed to engage the support of LGUs in the region by sending their own cultural performers and street dancing contingents for what may be called the Festival of Stars. This will be made possible thru the Association of Tourism Officers of Central Luzon (ATOCEL) led by its president Michael Palispis of Aurora province.

In short, next year’s event will not only showcase hot-air balloons and other air-sporting events; it will also feature the best of the LGUs in terms of tourism, cultural diversity and heritage. Staged performances from a pool of local and national bands will likewise be featured as sponsored by San Miguel Corp. Daily fireworks display will highlight the night cap including cook-off competition courtesy of hotels and restaurants in the province of Pampanga and Clark.

As the tagline goes, “It’s more than just hot air. It’s a celebration of life in times of adversity” means more exciting and more festive activities will be offered to the general public while at the same time raising funds for charity missions and raising hopes of a better life for those impacted by the recent calamity.

And part of the proceeds from the event will be donated to various charities like the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Leyte and Samar.

Also to provide support to the holding of the event are: Hotel and Restaurants of Pampanga (HARP), Pampanga Agents Travel Society (PATS), Alliance of Travel and Tour Agencies of Pampanga (ATTAP), Association of Tourism Officers of Central Luzon (ATOCEL), Angeles City Tourism Office (ACTO), Subic Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC), Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA), Manila North Tollways Corporation, Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MACCII), Angeles City Four Wheel Drive Club, Inc. (ACFWDC) / Angeles City Four Wheelers Club, Inc. (ACFWC), Kite Team Philippines, Angeles Aviators (RC Aeromodelers), Angeles City Flying Club (ACFC) and Clark Freeport Trading Resources, Inc. The event will be managed by the Philippine Exhibits and Themeparks Corporation (PETCO).

To be tapped as sponsors include: Philippine Airlines and UPS, San Miguel Corporation, Smart Communications, Inc., Globe Communications, Inc., Petron, Ginebra San Miguel, San Miguel Purefoods, SMC Global Power, Fontana Leisure Parks, Holiday Inn Clark, Mimosa Resort and Country Club.

Source: PATA

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