DOT-Bicol seeks funding for 1st hot air balloon fest in Albay

By Connie Calipay

October 28, 2023, 10:12 am

<p>Department of Tourism 5 (Bicol) Director Herbie Aguas (right) and Ako Bicol Party-List Rep. Elizaldy Co<em> (Photo courtesy of AKB)</em></p>

Department of Tourism 5 (Bicol) Director Herbie Aguas (right) and Ako Bicol Party-List Rep. Elizaldy Co (Photo courtesy of AKB)

LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) 5 (Bicol) is now sourcing funds for the holding of the first-ever hot air balloon festival in the region to be held here next year.

Herbie Aguas, DOT-5 director, said in an interview on Friday that they have been coordinating with the office of Ako Bicol Party-List (AKB) Rep. Elizaldy Co, who chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, regarding the funding and other preparations for the event.

Co announced early this week his plans to hold the "Bicol Loco Festival," featuring hot air balloons inspired by international festivities, in this capital city of Albay, possibly in mid-2024.

"I am so happy that Rep. Elizaldy Co has so many plans for tourism, and it's the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations committing on us. It's a big boost for Bicol, especially for Albay. On behalf of DOT, we are thankful for this. We will sit down with Rep. Co and we started to coordinate with his team," Aguas said.

He said DOT-5 alone could not allocate a huge amount to fund the festival.

"We are very excited about the hot air balloon festival since it will invite more tourists to our province. In Turkey, they don't have Mayon Volcano as a backdrop and with (the) Albay Gulf on the other side and the City of Legazpi. It's gonna be an amazing adventure for all the tourists, not just local but foreign as well. We know that it will gonna be expensive, but with the chair of (the) appropriation(s committee), we are very grateful," Aguas said.

He also said he would seek the assistance of tourism experts in Clark, Pampanga, which holds an annual hot air balloon festival, and their central office as to the holding and funding.

"This will help not just the tourism industry but also the livelihood opportunity for the people. Tourists who will participate will need to stay in a hotel, eat in a restaurant, buy food, and many other things while they are enjoying the place, the more they stay, the more they will spend money and this will help the economy of the place," Aguas said. (PNA)