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Mapping The Future

Philippine Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020 showcases best of our country

05:00 AM May 20, 2019

It’s all systems go for the Philippine Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020, the largest and most prestigious expo in the world. With President Duterte greenlighting the country’s participation in this mega event, the Filipino community in the Middle East is understandably excited at the opportunity to see its very own pavilion showcasing the best that the country has to offer.

Making Expo Dubai 2020 extra special is that this will be the first time that the World Expo is being staged in the Middle East, where approximately one million Filipinos are based.

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Running for six full months, the glittering Expo Dubai 2020 will no doubt attract millions of visitors looking for business transactions and networking opportunities.

Its theme is connecting minds, creating the future, with the subthemes of mobility, opportunity and sustainability.

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All these will come alive in the pavilions, exhibits and cultural events, where hundreds of participants, including nations, multilateral organizations, and businesses, take turns in dazzling the audience.

As expected, massive preparations are now underway, under the leadership of the Philippine Organizing Committee helmed by the Department of Trade and Industry, working closely with the Department of Tourism.

Also taking part in the effort are Filipino thought leaders led by Budji+Royal Architecture Design who are spearheading the design and concept of the 3,000-square-meter pavilion, which is envisioned to showcase the Philippines’ natural beauty.

The sheer size of the pavilion —more than three times the original size of 900 sqm—indicates the United Arab Emirates’ acknowledgement of the Filipino workers’ talents and skills, especially in building something from the ground up.

This early, the Philippine team has said that it aims to make a great splash with the pavilion, with a design inspired by nature and which will redefine the history of the country. The sense of excitement is palpable among those involved in the plans and the flurry of activities.

Even before the actual work for the Philippine pavilion started, so much effort has already gone into ensuring its success. First was to convince the government that it had to be done. The government was skeptical about the magnitude of the undertaking and was initially reluctant to take part in the event. It didn’t help that the Philippines had missed the last few world expos, and that it was quite a challenge to embark on a massive project in a distant country.

Yet the Filipino community was undeterred by the obstacles and pushed hard to see the Philippine pavilion come into being.

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Keeping an open mind and a listening ear, the Philippine government reversed its position upon seeing a groundswell of support among Filipinos, especially those in the Middle East.

From the expats and entrepreneurs doing business in the country to frontliners manning the restaurants and bars in the city to the construction workers building the structures that will support Expo 2020, the call was loud and clear—the Philippines had to take part in the event.

This message was reiterated when President Duterte paid a state visit to the gulf region in 2017, and saw for himself what Expo 2020 can do for the country not only in terms of increasing trade and business, but also in becoming a source of national pride.

Now that everything has been formalized and the Philippine pavilion is imminent, the sense of excitement and anticipation has been heightened among the Filipino communities in the gulf region.

True to the bayanihan spirit, Filipinos from all over the United Arab Emirates are pitching in, volunteering precious time and resources to see the Philippine Pavilion come through.

For them, the purpose of the pavilion has always been clear: it will show what the Philippines has to offer.

Not only will it quash negative images of the country, it will also shine the light on the many great things that the Philippines is actually doing.

Most importantly, the Expo 2020 is a great opportunity for the Philippines to showcase its most wonderful asset—its people.

The Philippine Pavilion can highlight what truly counts—the mind, heart, and soul of the Filipino.

It is, in many ways, the Philippine country brand coming to life, defined and made real by the creativity, collaborative spirit, caring hearts, and colorful ideas of the people behind the pavilion.

This is why it is imperative to have an impeccable execution of the plans laid out by the organizers.

By paying utmost attention to every important detail of the Pavilion, and keeping an eye on the purpose of the undertaking, we can highlight the craftsmanship and artistry that Filipinos are known for.

It is equally critical for the private sector to work alongside the government in bringing the Philippine Pavilion to fruition. After all, this is a collaborative effort, and the private sector can leverage its strengths to help in showcasing the best that the country has to offer.

Indeed, Expo 2020-Dubai is our opportunity to showcase the best of our people and to build up the Philippine country brand—right in a country where our very own people are making a difference.

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