LUBAO, Pampanga—Hot-air balloons of all shapes and sizes will once again dot the skies over this fast-developing town, as the Lubao International Balloon and Music Festival (LIBMF) 2018 at the Pradera Verde here gets set for another weekend of fun and music from March 23 to 25.
At least 31 hot-air balloons, from 19 countries including 10 special shape balloons, will fly in the event that will also feature musical extravaganzas by popular bands and talents, among them singer, actress and record producer Sarah Geronimo and rock-band vocalist Bamboo Mañalac.
During a news conference at the Pradera Verde in Barangay Prado Siongco here over the weekend, event chairman Noel Castro said there are also plenty of activities that are suited for all ages such as skydiving and paragliding, fireworks displays and magic shows.
“As we embark on our fifth year, we promise you that we are going to offer more ground activities and more aerial activities this time,” Castro said.
“We all know that the LIBMF is the other balloon festival here in Pampanga but we are the biggest balloon festival in Southeast Asia in terms of balloon attendance,” he added.
Two years ago the LIBMF set a record of 45 hot-air balloons, the biggest in Southeast Asia.
The ground and aerial activities will keep spectators entertained throughout the three-day festival, Castro assured.
A motor exhibition, car show, as well as off-road and rally cross will also be featured in the three-day event, he added.
Capt. Eric Tan and Capt. Robert Aguilar of Ultra-Light Flying School said that, for the first time, ultra-light aircraft will showcase their aerial maneuvers and even take in passengers during the event.
Paulo Vellarda and Rolf King of Outdoor Challenge Philippines said they will be conducting 4×4 off-road races throughout the day during the event where spectators can actually participate.
Ramon Bautista is designated safety officer, while Rambo Ortega of Forthinker Inc. is the event organizer.
Ortega said this time will be a bigger and more exciting event. as some 100,000 people are expected to attend.
He added food and souvenir bazaars will also be set up, as well as carnival rides to make the event more entertaining.
Assistant Event Director South Korean Eugene Lee said one of the special shaped balloons is the famous “Christ the Redeemer” from Brazil.
Among the participating countries are France, Belgium, Australia, Brazil, Spain, Japan, Thailand, the US, the Netherlands, Korea, India, Malaysia, Turkey, the UK, Taiwan, Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Vietnam.
The LIBMF is the annual flagship program of the municipality of Lubao.