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Visitors enjoy all that the Philippines Pavilion has to offer on the first day of the much-anticipated Expo 2020 Dubai. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The Filipino expatriate community came in full force to show their support during the opening of the Philippines Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on Friday.

Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes told Gulf News: “This is a very historic moment and we (Filipinos) are proud to be part of this big global event. I’m also happy that the Filipino community in Dubai came in full force. Around 1,500 Filipinos came to witness the opening of our pavilion — Bangkota.” Bangkota is an ancient Tagalog word that means coral reef. The pavilion honours the natural resources that the Philippines has to offer, specifically the architectural character of the coral reefs native to the archipelagic country.

“Bangkota is an actualisation of the Philippines government’s drive to promote sustainability — with most materials sourced locally and are recyclable,” noted pavilion organisers.

“The Philippines Pavilion symbolises the hardy, travelling people — with emphasis on cultural sustainability. The pavilion is also a contemporary expression of Filipino architecture, art and design that links the past with the future,” they added.

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Visitors at the Philippines Pavilion. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Joey Tiberio, a long-time Dubai resident and entrepreneur, said he was proud of Bangkota. “This (pavilion) truly represents the Filipino culture and the reef design symbolises our resilience as a people.”

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Visitors soak up the spectacle inside the Philippines Pavilion. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Historic participation

Rosvi Gaetos, the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary, who is also the Alternate Commissioner General of the Philippines Pavilion, commented: “It is our pride and honour to welcome the world to Bangkota.”

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Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News

“Our participation in Expo 2020 Dubai is historic as it marks the biggest participation of the Philippines in any world expo. Now that the Expo 2020 Dubai has opened its doors, we invite everyone to share our story — a story of cultural sustainability as a people — to the rest of the world,” she added.

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Most of the material used to construct the pavilion have been sourced locally and are recyclable, an official said. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Attracting investors

Meanwhile, Charmaine Mignon Yalong, the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Commercial Attache, said: “Our participation at Expo 2020 Dubai will bolster the efforts of the Philippine government in attracting foreign investments and the export of our top-quality products and services.”

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“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 and attract key investors from various sectors, including food, tourism, hospitality, logistics, information technology, halal products and more,” she added.