UAE officials praised the Philippines for its very strong presence at the World Expo 2020 Dubai as the Philippines celebrated National Day at the Expo on 11 February 2022.
UAE’s Foreign Minister, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, conveyed to the Special Envoy and Personal Representative of President Rodrigo Duterte to the World Expo, Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje, that the Philippines “is very well represented” at the largest World’s Fair ever.
A day-long series of festivities marked the occasion with Philippine flag hoisting at both the Philippine Pavilion and the Al Wasl, (the world’s largest 360 projection dome), a colorfully-choreographed national day parade at the Avenue of Nations, food festival, and a one-of-a-kind gala performance.
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez led a 140-member Philippine contingent composed of high-level officials from the Philippines. The UAE delegation led by UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh met with the delegation at the Expo’s Leadership Pavilion. The two delegations noted the great strides made in deepening bilateral ties over 48 years since the establishment of Ph-UAE diplomatic relations. Sec. Lopez and Min. Al Sayegh noted great opportunities in expanding areas of cooperation, specially as the two countries achieved consensus on the PH-UAE Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) and the PH-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
The day was capped by a stunning all-original production gala musical entitled “Daluyong ng Diwa” (Tides of Our Soul). The hour-long performance complemented the essence and design of the Philippines Pavilion called Bangkóta or coral reef with its vibrant, masterful, and lyrical portrayal of the Bangkota’s main theme of cultural sustainability.
Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana received feedbacks citing the show as “easily one of the best that the Expo has seen” since it started in October 2021. She also said that the Filipinos are appreciating the disciplined, highly-synchronized messaging and new, modern narratives being conveyed by the Philippines all throughout its participation at the Expo. “The Dubai Expo has given the Philippines a platform for the world to see Filipinos in a new light, how our geography and history shaped our resilience, resourcefulness and positive attitude, from our ancient seafaring forefathers, to the modern, talented Filipino professionals seen everywhere in the UAE and around the world,” said the Ambassador.
“Until now, people are still talking about the “Daluyong ng Diwa” masterpiece that really showed the impeccable artistry of the Filipinos, truly world-class and top Expo-quality,” added Ambassador Quintana. It was produced by a stellar team of creatives headed by Bart Guingona and a cast top-billed by Bayang Barrios. The audience were mesmerized by the music, dances, and digital art elements of the show. One veteran Filipino journalist quipped that the Filipino community did not know nor expect that the Philippine Organizing Committee was preparing to surprise them with the staging of a grand musical with deep messages.
The show was held before a full-capacity audience at the Jubilee Stage, the biggest performance venue in the whole of Expo, with a capacity of 8,000 people. A video of H.E. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was shown during the program where he praised the UAE for its successful hosting of World Expo Dubai, and exhorted Filipinos in the UAE to continue bringing honor to the Philippines.