“Bangkota,” the Philippine Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, is the heart and soul of Filipinos all over the world, particularly in the UAE.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana on Wednesday evening said Manila will participate in the Expo 2020 Dubai and its pavilion will be reflective of who the Filipino is not only in these modern times but through the ages and beyond.
“The ‘Bangkota’ which is the design of the Philippine Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is the heart and soul of the Filipinos worldwide. It will reflect who we really are, our contributions to the world, to this part of the world, and specifically to the UAE,” she said.
Quintana was interviewed following the official release from Manila’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of a 95-page document that profiles the nitty-gritty of the project.
Quintana is passionate about the project as she traced back to Gulf Today the announcement of the Dubai win for the international exposition some two-and-a-half years back, at the time when she was a senior diplomat at the Philippine Embassy in Muscat, Oman.
“At that time, I saw then the significance of Expo 2020 Dubai especially for the Philippines and the Filipinos in the UAE. We took part and we continually take part in the development of this part of the world.”
“We should not miss this big opportunity,” she also said.
It was during her term of office as Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)-Assistant Secretary for the Middle East and Africa (MEA)—before her late 2018 assignment to the UAE—when she began working on the project.
On March 12, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the correspondence addressed to UAE Vice President Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum expressing his “full support” to the global event that will run from Oct.20, 2020 to April 19, 2021.
That was when everything had been ironed out and put in place with the DTI and specifically its Centre for International Trade, Expositions and Mission, as the lead chairperson and commissioner general of the Philippines Expo 2020 Dubai Organising Committee.
The other national agencies involved are the Department of Tourism as vice chairperson, DFA, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Labour and Employment, Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.
On the selection of “Bangkota” as the theme of the 1,386-square metre pavilion, Quintana made reference to the concept of the chosen creative team composed of Budji Royal Architecture Design led by architect Royal Pineda and curator/over-all content development head Marian Pastor Roces.
As written in the 95-page document and in relation to the Expo 2020 Dubai components of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” with the sub-themes of “mobility, sustainability and opportunity,” the Philippine Pavilion’s “Bangkota,” the ancient word for “coral reef” of the Tagalog dialect, symbolises “the world’s biggest organism made up of the world’s smallest organism.”
Bangkota is “the Philippines as a coral reef. The Filipinos (as the) polyps that grow in colonies and spread out all over the world. We are connected by travel, migration and technology.”
It will be the platform for the Philippines as a “creative and compassionate nation.”
The Philippine Pavilion will sit on a 3,163.25 square-metre lot in the Sustainability District of the 438-hectare Expo 2020 Dubai site near the Al Maktoum International Airport.
It is in between the pavilions of Canada and Portugal, according to the map in the 95-page document.
With 1,386 square metres dedicated to the full structure itself, it is divided into eight areas—one dedicated to the Muslims of Mindanao, two chronicling 4,000 years of Philippine history—of various levels where the interiors will have interactive modalities and a Tropical Rain Path.
The Philippine Pavilion will be the centre for trade, tourism and investments promotion targeting MEA and South Asia. It will be the site for films and arts exhibitions.
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