CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga—The New Clark City (NCC) in Capas town, Tarlac province will be the home of the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (PIHABF) for five years starting on Feb. 16-18, officials said.
The PIHABF, now in its 24th year and formerly held outside the Clark International Airport here, is expected to “make the NCC a very pleasurable destination for families,” said Joshua Bingcang, president and chief executive officer of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), in the news forum of the Pampanga Press Club at the Swissotel here on Tuesday.
The NCC is a city being developed by the BCDA on about 10,000 hectares of former military base land in the rolling hills of Capas.
Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap said the police and business sector in the province have been prepared to host the event at NCC’s Stadium and Aquatic center.
Economic returns are expected to be generated from more or less 120,000 spectators daily, according to businessman Rene Romero, the lead organizer of balloons’ chase teams for the Land Rover Club of the Philippines.
More than 20 hot air balloonists from various countries, an aerobatics team from England and skydivers are among the participants in the three-day event, according to Filipino aviator Capt. Joy Roa of Asian Air Safari, PIHABF main organizer.
Cargo mover FedEx helped bring in the balloons while Hann signed in as a major sponsor.
Roa said PIHABF would also host an international drone race, with Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro committing units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to fly their planes during the event. Musical bands are set to play every night.
Bingcang said the Airport Road and Bridge leading to the NCC are ready to open late this January. All six lanes can be accessed via the Mabalacat City gate and Clark-Angeles-Mabalacat Road. At the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, the NCC can be reached via the Concepcion Exit. Via the MacArthur Highway, the NCC can be approached through the Capas War Monument.—Tonette T. Orejas/PDI