Balloon pilots ‘experience’ Filipino culture

ANGELES CITY--Pilots and international delegates to this year's 21st International Hot Air Balloon Festival took a few hours off from this year's activities as they visited Malabanias Integrated School in this city to meet locals and have a cultural exchange of dances.

The pilots also shared school supplies and books in an event of intercultural exchange. Dancers from the said school as well as from Angeles City National Trade School and Banaue wowed balloonists from Western countries.

Participants from Turkey also shared their dances with the students and teachers of the said school.

Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Foundation Inc. (PIHABF) president Captain Joy Roa said that the event was aimed at giving the pilots a chance to experience Filipino hospitality and culture while sharing their information about their own countries.

The event is part of the corporate social responsibility program of the festival. Some 28 balloons, including five special shapes, are expected to fly during the Clark signature sports event, said Captain Joy Roa, event director and head of the PIHABF organizing committee.

The 2017 PIHABF also highlights several activities including paragliding, sky-diving, ultra-light aircraft flying, radio-controlled aircraft demonstration, kite-flying, aerobatic exhibition, and concerts, according to Roa.

The PIHABF themed “Over Two Decades of Flying” is the longest running sports aviation in Asia which gathers thousands of aviators and spectators from around the world for a weekend of non-stop flying. The four-day festival has become an annual destination for foreign and local tourists since it was launched in 1993, two years after the eruptions of Mount Pinatubo which devastated Central Luzon.

Ticket prices for each person are P350 for general admission, P6,000 for VIP passes, P17,367 ($350) for hot air balloon ride, P19,848 ($400) for tandem skydiving jump, P19,848 ($400) for aerobatic flights ride, P7,443 ($150) for airplane discovery flights ride and P7,443 ($150) for tandem paragliding flight. Children below three feet high can enter the fiesta site for free. Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens identification cards are honored when purchasing tickets at the gate. The daily flight schedule of the hot air balloons are 6:00 am for lift off and 6:00 pm for fly in. Fiesta ground gates open at 4:00 am and close at 10:00 pm.
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