Philippines Reaps Praises for its “Very Strong Presence” in World Expo 2020 Dubai

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.

Signing of the Joint Statement on the Intent to Pursue the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement Between the Republic of the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates between Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Lopez (5th from right) and UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi (4th from right), witnessed by (L-R) Hon. Robert E.A. Borje Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs and Chief of Presidential Protocol, Hon. Sen. Aquilino Martin Pimentel III, Hon. Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Hon. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Hon. Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar, Acting Public Works and Highways Hon. Roger Mercado, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Amb. Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, Minister of State Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, UAE Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Mohammed Al Qattam, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Director for East Asia and the Pacific H.E. Nooh Alhammadi. (Abu Dhabi PE photo)

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.

Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana (left), and Sec. Lopez (right) at the Official Ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza at World Expo Dubai, attended by thousands of members of the Filipino community in the UAE. (Abu Dhabi PE photo)

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.

Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs and Chief of Presidential Protocol Hon. Robert E.A. Borje (left), designated by H.E. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as his Special Envoy and Personal Representative was received by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (right), Foreign Minister of UAE on 11 February 2022 at the Leadership Pavilion at the Dubai Expo. (Abu Dhabi PE photo)

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.

A cast of world-class performers led by Bayang Barrios wowed crowds at the gala production “Daluyong ng Diwa” (Tides of our Soul) which conveyed through words and music the Filipino people’s 4,000-year journey against the backdrop of nature, depicting triumph over adversity, and the promise of a bright future for a united people. The Dubai Expo’s international audience were moved by powerful performance of the entire cast, giving them a standing ovation at the end of the show. (Abu Dhabi PE photo)

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.

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