What Is This Object Sighted in the Skies Above Pangasinan?

On Sunday, December 18, 2022, residents of the province in Pangasinan took to social media to report sightings of an unusual flying object hovering in the sky. The object, which looks like a blimp, was sighted from different towns in Pangasinan: Sison, Mangaldan, Villasis, Natividad, San Nicolas, San Quintin, Tayug, and more. 

Below are some of the photos uploaded by residents on Facebook at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. 

Sighting in Sison, Pangasinan

Photo by Anonymous.

Sighting from Dagupan City

Photo by Carl Alarico.

Below is a map showing the area where sightings of the object occurred at the same time. 

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What could the floating object above Pangasinan be?

Based on the design of the craft, it is safe to say that this unidentified flying object is manmade and not alien in origin. 

It actually looks like a blimp, and there are  not very many blimps in the country. The more important questions are, what kind of blimp is it, why is it in Pangasinan, and what is its purpose?

Here are a couple of plausible answers. 

1| It could be a spy blimp. 

In 2017, the U.S. delivered a Tethered Aerostat Radar System or TARS to the Philippine Navy. The Tars is a technical term for a spy blimp meant to gather information on surrounding airspace or terrain. 

That spy blimp, however, has a more rotund design, not like the streamlined version we see in the Pangasinan sightings. Take a look:

Spy Blimp in Zambales

Photo by U.S. Embassy.


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The TARS measures 28 meters and can rise up to 15,000 feet while tethered to the ground. Although the TARS and the Pangasinan sighting does not look alike, it is possible another variant of TARS was being used at a higher altitude. 

According to The Drive, the U.S. uses TARS for border surveillance. U.S. Customs and Border Protection does operate a number of Tethered Aerostat Radar Systems (TARS) across the southern border of the United States and in the Caribbean to combat counter-drug operations. Each one of these aerostats carries a Lockheed Martin L-88 wide-area surveillance radar.

China has a similar spy blimp deployed in the West Philippine Sea and is designed to fly at heights of 65,000 to 328,000 feet—an altitude known as the "near-space region." China's spy blimps can hover above the stratosphere for over 48 hours. Although it can perform data-gathering missions, it can also serve as an over-the-horizon radar for China's ship missiles to have a longer range. 


2| It could be a weather balloon.

As boring as it may sound, the blimp might actually be just a weather balloon. Weather balloons can rise to an altitude of up to 39 kilometers or 127,900 feet. Some weather balloons are shaped like blimps for stability. Blimp weather balloons are able to fly in higher winds than ordinary round balloons which tend to bob and spin in windy conditions.


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