Lubao: PH’s next hot air balloon capital

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

LUBAO -- The western town of Lubao in Pampanga bordering the province of Bataan could very well be the next "hot air ballon capital of the Philippines."

This was disclosed by Korean Steve Kim, the event director and official of the Philippine International Balloon Festival, which kicked off Thursday and will run until April 13 in Barangay Prado Siongco here.

Some 35 balloonists from 18 countries are participating in the festival, branded by observers as the biggest so far in the country’s ballooning history.


"I've been a part of the Hot Air Balloon Festival in the Philippines which were held in Clark, and from what I experienced today here in Lubao, I could say that this might be the next Hot Air Balloon Capital of the country," said Kim.

"I expect that the next three days of this event will be more packed. We expect about 100,000 people to watch the balloons. We got more in store for them so they can enjoy," added Kim.

Mohammad Sobri Saad, a Malaysian balloon pilot, agreed with Kim and said that Lubao is a "balloonist’s haven."

"The location is perfect and the weather is good. The open space is very wide, the air was so calm and cold this morning which is very ideal for balloon flight," said Sobri.

Le Trong Ngiyia from Vietnam, for his part said foreign pilots and balloonists were overwhelmed by the response of the thousands of spectators composed of local and foreign tourists.

"What I love about the experience here in Lubao is that we make the audience very happy. After we land the balloon, people cheer and children come running towards us, greeting us happily. I love how accommodating Filipinos are, especially the locals here," said Ngiyia.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 11, 2014.

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