The trend today in the Middle East is World Expo, better known as Expo 2020 Dubai. The World Expo is hosted by Dubai in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) from 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022.
Initially, Expo 2020 was scheduled from October 2020 to April 2021, but it was delayed and rescheduled due to the pandemic. I think that the organizers preserve the event’s name, Expo 2020, rather than Expo 2021, due to the unprecedented nature of the event and the desire to create an unforgettable atmosphere.
This popular event features 192 countries showcasing the best of art, architecture, science, culture, etc. Also, it’s an excellent opportunity to learn from other countries by visiting their stunning pavilions. Knowing about their history and heritage, even seeing some cafes to taste new cuisines and purchase collectibles.
It’s the perfect platform for the business-corporate world to showcase what their respective companies can offer the world in so many aspects centered on the themes of sustainability, mobility, and opportunity. Learn more HERE.
I’m a proud Filipina from the Pearl of the Orient or Pearl of the Orient Seas- the Philippines. So, I was very excited, happy to see, and experience our very own pavilion called Bangkota at Expo 2020 Dubai! So, let me share with you the experience and my raving review!
About the Bangkota, Philippines Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai
Filipinos grow into colonies that spread worldwide while staying connected through migration, travel, and technology like a coral reef. So, the Philippines Pavilion is called the Bangkota, presenting a creative and compassionate nation.
The Bangkota’s (coral reef’s) natural, organic shape brings you into definite, free-flowing, open spaces, reflecting a culture that values openness, constructive encounters, and connectivity. Learn more HERE.
What to see at Bangkota Expo 2020 Dubai
As I previously stated, I was ecstatic to see the Bangkota. I support and advocate for it because it is the story of every Filipino, notably OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers). With 1,386 square meters on a 3,163.25 square meter lot, it is the largest Philippines pavilion at any World Expo. Besides, Bangkota is a fantastic platform for both internationally renowned and emerging Filipino creative minds and talents.
So, the facade of the Bangkota is creatively crafted:
- You will see the name of our country, the Philippines, on set, and it has a vast blue sculpture of a mythological figure.
- In an aerial view, you will see the pavilion’s shape as a coral reef.
- Inside the pavilion, I saw some inverted artwork trees illuminated by green neon lights.
After that, I saw a sea vessel which they called Vessel of Time. It tells the history of the Filipinos’ languages.
Next, I saw a spiral structure that looked like a giant DNA called Variety of the World. It represents how today’s Filipino descends from humans who walked from Africa for tens of thousands of years who blended with the Austronesians who arrived from the North and settled in the Philippines.
Then there’s this area with a 180-degree screen that shows a digital sound exhibition called “Our Gift to the World,” the Philippines’ call to end racial divisions. The video focuses on contemporary dance, which melodiously gathers symbols from Philippine life.
I went further up to the observation deck, where I saw some human-bird forms which were called the Soaring High sculpture. It depicts floating men and women representing OFWs flying “to everywhere, for everything, in every possible way forward – and back to the Philippines.”
The Bangkota pavilion has a café to taste some Filipino cuisines and souvenir shops to buy some collectibles. Inside the souvenir shop, I had my Expo 2020 Philippines stamped on my Expo 2020 passport.
My Review: Bangkota Expo 2020 Dubai
At first, I came there afternoon, and I was stunned and overwhelmed after the general visit. Honestly, I felt that something was missing compared to the other pavilions I had visited before Bangkota. I thought that we could do so much better.
In general, I thought that the pavilion lacks an accurate representation of the Filipino cultures, heritages, and what it can offer to the world, especially the Expo 2020’s theme- sustainability, mobility, and opportunity.
For example, in addition to the contemporary dance shown on a 180-degree screen, we could have included Filipinos’ beautiful and diverse faces worldwide and at home. We have the Aetas or Negritos, the Sama-Bajaus, the Ifugaos tribe, and many others. We could have included tourist attractions and products from the Philippines and the export products we offer worldwide.
Another example: on my way to the observation deck, it was pretty empty. I was conquered with anguish. It was eerie walking through a maze-like path depicting the indefinite hardships of Filipinos, particularly OFWs. Although there is a small section where you can see a modern painting depicting the joy and openness of Filipinos, I believe we can do so much better.
So, I decided on a second visit after a few days, and this time it was nighttime. The Bangkota illuminates at night with its blueish neon color. And I took the time to read the labels of the artworks and observe their presentations. It was epic!
Sadly, some Filipino visitors saw it as a personal pitch for the Filipino designers and engineers who conceptualized and built the Bangkota. For some, just like me, it could’ve been better since there’s this feeling of something is missing. But, STILL, I’m pleased with what they’ve accomplished!
Come to think of it! Despite the unprecedented health crisis we have been experiencing since 2020, they have worked tirelessly to develop an idea that will represent Filipinos all over the world. They provided as much as they could, given the resources available during the process. They demonstrated what Filipinos are capable of despite living in a divided and uncertain world.
After all, it was an honest representation of Filipinos. Of course, we are not perfect, just like the Bangkota pavilion. But we Filipinos work with a passion for ourselves, our family, and our country!
Wrapping up my raving review, here’s the result: 7.4!
- Creativity – 7/10
- Sustainability – 7/10
- Mobility – 8/10
- Opportunity – 7/10
- Overall – 8/10
I’m pleased and proud of the entire team that worked and continues to work in Bangkota. So give yourselves a tap in the back! You definitely did a good job! And again, on a personal note, I’m happy with the creativity overall.
To my valuable enthusiasts, please come to the Philippines pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, given a chance, and let me know what you think! I’d be delighted to hear from you. And as always, keep yourself safe, Lounger!
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