DOT-Bicol Coordinates with Lawmakers to Fund First Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albay for 2024

LEGAZPI CITY: The Department of Tourism (DOT) 5 in Bicol is in the process of securing funds for the inaugural hot air balloon festival in Albay, slated to take place next year. Herbie Aguas, DOT-5 Director, disclosed on Friday that discussions are underway with Ako Bicol Party-List Rep. Elizaldy Co, who is also the Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, about funding and logistical preparations for the event.

According to a new release by Philippines News Agency, Co earlier this week unveiled plans for the “Bicol Loco Festival,” a hot air balloon celebration inspired by international festivities, to be hosted in the capital city of Albay, likely in mid-2024. Aguas stated that DOT-5 could not allocate substantial funds for the festival on its own and expressed gratitude for the support of Rep. Co. “It’s a significant boost for Bicol, especially for Albay,” Aguas said.

In addition to funds, Aguas revealed that DOT-5 is also planning to consult tourism experts in Clark, Pampanga, which hosts an annual hot air balloon event. Aguas emphasized the festival’s potential benefits to tourism and the local economy. “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,” he said.