Deemed as the “World’s Greatest Show,” the World Expo is famous for showcasing global talent. It’s a platform where people from all nations gather to learn and share ideas, demonstrate innovation, and further pave the path for progress in fields such as technology and architecture. This time, the expo will be held in Dubai and have the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” Representing our country in this renowned event is Bangkota–the ancient Filipino word for “coral reef.” It will stand as the embodiment of the creative and compassionate people of the Philippines who number in the millions in the Middle East.
Mirroring the polyps that make up the coral reef and spread by ocean currents worldwide to form thriving communities, the Bangkota reflects the innate traits of Filipinos. We have established ourselves in different continents, melding the foreign country’s culture, traditions, and beliefs while nurturing the values taken from our homeland. Through the sense of sight and sound, and by tapping into emotions, the Bangkota aims to give visitors a better understanding and appreciation of the story of Filipinos–a story that is often hidden in the pages of history, yet still echoes to this day.
The Philippines Pavilion stays true to the spirit of bayanihan through a collaboration of many local talents. The Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez will serve as Commissioner-General; DTI Assistant Secretary Rosvi Gaetos will serve as Alternate Commissioner-General; the Overall Artistic and Theme Director is to be filled by Architect Royal Pineda; and the Philippine Pavilion Curator will be Marian Pastor-Roces. A selection of notable artists and photographers will also be participating in the nation’s contribution to the expo, along with their masterpieces: Duddley Diaz and his enigmatic creature creations; the upside down forest masterpiece of Lee Paj; the gigantic sculpture of renowned sculptor Abdulmari Imao; and breathtaking underwater images of Scott Gutsy Tuason. They will come together to bring to life what was once an untold, four thousand-year story of Filipinos.
At its heart, the Philippine Pavilion is an appeal to this same spirit of bayanihan among Filipinos in the Middle East and the world over. Not only is it a way for our fellows to gain a sense of pride in their history and culture, but for them to also become ambassadors themselves, encouraging people from around the world to learn more about the rich history of the Philippines that has spanned the oceans and across several millennia.
The Bangkota Philippines Pavilion will open at the Expo 2021 Dubai in October 2021.