How We Started

The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta started in 1994, with the main goal of jumpstarting the local economy and uplifting the morale of communities in Central Luzon, after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Under the leadership of then Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Mina Gabor, 21 balloon pilots from 10 countries showcased their balloon flying skills, with Capt. Joy Roa leading the delegation from the Philippines.

In 1996, being the only licensed balloon pilot in the country, Capt. Joy was tasked to take the reins of overseeing the event from the DOT. Also a fixed wing and rotary wing pilot, and avid aviation enthusiast, he encouraged the inclusion of all other flying disciplines, transforming the fiesta into A Weekend of Everything that Flies.

What began as a passion project evolved into the longest-running sports aviation event in Asia. More than just a spectator event, the fiesta’s longtime objective is to instill discipline in participating young pilots so they can develop into safe aviators, as well as to impart a spirit volunteerism and cooperation to the whole community.

The fiesta is an opportunity to share and exchange cultures and traditions with visiting pilots from all over the world. Visitors get a taste of Filipino hospitality and fiesta spirit. Their beautiful experience becomes the best advertising for Philippine tourism. We also encourage the visiting pilots to be contributors to chosen beneficiaries of the foundation.

We create aviation awareness with our guests, and educate people about flying machines. We encourage the young to work from the heart and do things with passion. We also strive to bring back the Philippine aviation industry’s high stature in the international community.


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