The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (PDTI) announced the full completion of the country's 'Bangkota' pavilion ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai's opening next week.

Rosvi C Gaetos, the PDTI assistant secretary for the Trade Promotions Group and PH Expo 2020 Dubai alternate commissioner-general, said the Bangkota pavilion is ready to welcome millions of visitors at Expo 2020 Dubai's Sustainability District.

"The pavilion's completion bears witness to the 'Bayanihan (a Filipino word that best describes uniting as a community) that transpired amongst dedicated teams, both from the Philippines and the UAE, in order to bring this enormous endeavour into life," the official said.

Gaetos said technical rehearsals are ongoing at the pavilion grounds.

"An imaginative spectacle of scientific and humanistic data about the Philippines and its people will be showcased over the course or the next six months. Works from a carefully selected ensemble of performing, visual and digital artists will be featured as well."

What does Bangkota mean?

The pavilion is shaped like the Bangkota, meaning 'coral reef' in Tagalog. In a plot size of 3163.25 square metres, the pavilion presents contemporary architectural, art, and design expressions that link the deep past with the future of connectivity for the Filipino, Gaetos added.

The pavilion was conceptualised and actualised by Architect Royal Pineda of Budji+Royal Architecture+Design and independent curator Marian Pastor Roces in collaboration with assistant secretary Rosario Virginia Gaetos of the Department of Trade and Industry.

A packed calendar of events

Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) commercial attaché Charmaine Mignon Yalong, said, "Our participation at Expo 2020 will bolster the efforts of the Philippine government in attracting foreign investments and exporting of our top-quality products and services."

She said, "We have prepared an entire calendar of business-to-business events for the next six months which will highlight the majority of the Philippines' strongest industries."

To attract key investors from various sectors, including food, tourism, hospitality, logistics, information technology, and halal, Yalong said the pavilion will roll out dedicated forums, delegations, and events. This includes the upcoming Philippine Food Festival, Philippine National Day, participation in the Global Business Forum ASEAN (GBF ASEAN) and Gulfood 2022.

As foreign travel is still a challenge, PTIC said they will supplement business engagements virtually by organising business-to-business matching events held via Zoom, and creating online trade shows through Hopin.

Filipino groups vow full support

Government authorities also said a number of Filipino organisations in the UAE have expressed their full support by encouraging their 'kababayans' to be brand ambassadors of the 'Bangk?ta'.

Filipino Social Club president Ericson Reyes, said, "The Filipino communities here in the UAE will be actively participating in events in line with the Philippines Pavilion at Expo 2020. Several activities that the Filipino Social Club will be participating and will put a spotlight on our talent in the arts, which will highlight cultural references in our efforts to promote the country and our pavilion."

Philippine Business Council chairman Bobbie Carella, said, "We have prepared several digital campaigns and mini on-ground activities to share the story of the 'Bangkota' not just for fellow Filipino expats, but also for the UAE's millions of residents and tourists who will bask in the immersive story of the Filipino diaspora spanning over 4,000 years."

United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Dubai IP Chapter President Arch. Christian Vasquez said, "The 'Bangkota' is the Filipino architects' testament to our keen eye for creativity, design, and flair."

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