Philippine Pavilion Dubai Expo 2020 -01
An artist's rendering of the Philippine Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, based on the “Bangkota” Based on Bangkota (ancient Tagalog term for “coral reef”) concept. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Bangkota, the Philippines pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, is set for handover next month, a top Philippines official said.

Ramon Lopez, Commissioner and General Secretary, Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), announced that the Philippines pavilion, which will highlight the country’s passion for sustainability, is on track for its scheduled handover in March. “While recent restrictions brought about by the pandemic posed a challenge, they also unleashed within the team their resourcefulness and creativity — allowing them to pull off such a magnificent piece of work without any delays,” he noted.

Omar Shehadeh, Chief International Participants Officer at Expo 2020 Dubai, also commended the efficiency of the team involved in the construction of the pavilion. He said: “The sheer passion of the people behind the Philippines pavilion is truly commendable, and I am honoured to have witnessed their creativity and hard work coming to life through Bangkota. I am confident that Filipinos in the UAE will be even more proud of their identity once they get to witness what the Philippines team has prepared in the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai.” Expo 2020 Dubai will run from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022. Its theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, is aimed at creating a meaningful legacy that will “benefit generations to come, spanning everything — from innovations and architecture to friendships and business opportunities.”

Promoting sustainability

Lopez said the design of Bangkota, an ancient Tagalog word that means coral reef, honours the natural resources that the Philippines has to offer, specifically the architectural character of the coral reefs native to the archipelagic country.

The Philippines pavilion is located at Expo 2020’s Sustainability District. Lopez said: “Bangkota is an actualisation of the Philippines government’s drive to promote sustainability — with most materials sourced locally and are recyclable.

Bangkota at a glance
• The Philippines pavilion promotes sustainability — with most material readily available, easily sourced locally from UAE’s local markets and are recyclable.
• Bangkota will deploy interactive art, architecture and design to highlight the progressive development of the nation.
• Designed by Budji+Royal Architecture+Design and curated by Marian Pastor Roces, the 1,386-square-metre pavilion reimagines Filipinos as a coral reef, interconnected not only with each other, but also with the world • Bangkota highlights bayanihan (the Filipino spirit of helping each other).
• After Expo 2020 Dubai, Bangkota will be showcased to Filipinos back home at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, Philippines.

“The government shows its commitment to sustainability with this pavilion. Most of the material are recyclable and can be fully utilised for many years to come, because we will bring them back home for our fellow Filipinos to witness as well. We want to guarantee that we make prudent use of our people’s money, so we are striving hard to achieve sustainability in the creation of Bangkota,” he added.

Philippine coral reef

Designed by Budji+Royal Architecture+Design and curated by Marian Pastor-Roces, the 1,386-square-metre pavilion reimagines Filipinos as a coral reef, interconnecting not only with each other but also with the world, thereby making them an extensive global community. “The splendour of Bangkota will be witnessed by the world. The pavilion will be brought to Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga once Expo 2020 concludes,” Lopez noted.

Filipino craftsmanship

Meanwhile, Dubai-based Filipino celebrity fashion designer Ezra Santos is creating sustainable uniforms to be worn by the pavilion’s team of tour specialists that will reflect Filipino craftsmanship at the Expo.

Back in the Philippines, Filipino animation film producers Avid Liongoren and Manny Angeles are responsible for the unique and meaningful teaser videos featuring Ube Boy — the official mascot of Bangkota. Multiple award-winning creative agency BBDO Guerrero will bring to life the centrepiece 180-degree film titled ‘Our Gift to the World’.

The pavilion’s avant-garde musical score has been created by Dr Ramon Pagayon Santos, while game developer James Palabay has created the Bangkota Trivia Quest, a mobile game. The Bangkota experience also includes cosmopolitan Go Lokal! and Marahuyo, offering an impressive collection of Filipino fashion designer brands.