Balloon ride is Lapu-Lapu’s newest tourist attraction

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Saturday, August 16, 2014


DO YOU want a bird’s eye view of Mactan Island?

A giant helium balloon where one can ride and enjoy a 360-degree panorama view of the island is now available at the Hadsan Beach Resort in Barangay Agus, Lapu-Lapu City.

Operated by Korean-owned company Aura Inc., the balloon goes as high as 150 meters above the ground.

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Mayor Paz Radaza, who rode the balloon during its inauguration yesterday, welcomed the city’s newest tourism attraction. “This will help us attract more tourists, especially those who love adventure,” she said in her speech.

Helium balloon ride in Lapu-Lapu, Cebu
Lapu-Lapu City is going all out in its effort to boost tourism, offering more attractions to draw tourists to the city, like this helium balloon ride. (Jonolin Luab)

The business opened two weeks after the City launched its brand as “The Historical Resort City” in a bid to further boost the city’s thriving tourism.

Boost

Offering the helium balloon, said Radaza, will help the City popularize its new tourism slogan: “Free Yourself.”

Jack Song, chief executive officer of Aura Inc., said the helium balloon is the first of its kind in the Philippines. He said his company toyed with the idea of making the balloon available in Lapu-Lapu two years ago, because of the city’s beautiful landscape.

“We opened this in Lapu-Lapu because of the good view of the sea and the land here,” he said.

The balloon, which has a diameter of 22.8 meters and a height of 34 meters, can accommodate 30 people for every ride.

‘Safe flight’

Helena Hwang of the Aura Inc. said the balloon is safe. “Our operation depends on the weather conditions,” she said, adding that they keep in touch with the state weather bureau.

Hwang said they have seven well-trained pilots who operate the balloon.

Radaza said the company has complied with the city’s business requirements, which included a clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. She said the tourist police will assign personnel to secure the area.

Lapu-Lapu City Police Office Acting Chief Armando Radoc said he has advised the operator of the balloon to install perimeter lights in the area and monitoring devices like closed-circuit television cameras.

Hwang said the balloon will operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The company charges different rates for locals and foreigners. To enjoy a 15-minute ride, locals who are adults need to pay P1,000 each while children will pay P700 each. Adult foreigners are charged US$50 while children are charged US$30. (RSB)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 16, 2014.

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