Cultural parade, live music and shows mark the day as thousands visit the world fair

A cultural show held as part of the Philippines National Day celebrations at Expo 2020 Dubai. — Photo by Neeraj Murali

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 11 Feb 2022, 7:53 PM

Last updated: Fri 11 Feb 2022, 9:12 PM

Hundreds of Filipinos residing in Dubai made their way to Expo 2020 to celebrate their National Day with patriotic fervour on Friday.

A cultural show at the Al Wasl Plaza was followed by a live show by famous Filipino musician, song writer and singer Bamboo.

An eye-catching parade at the Ghaf avenue was the highlight of the evening, with artists giving a wonderful display of the rich culture and tradition of the Philippines. Another gala presentation featuring Filipino artists was staged at Jubilee Park, while a food fest, showcasing the southeast Asian nation’s diverse cuisine was held at the Philippines Pavilion.

Ahmed bin Ali Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State, who was a special invitee, said the over 700,000 Filipinos who call the UAE home have played a vital part in the country’s growth.

He said the Philippines Pavilion reflects the success of its people in the UAE, and helps promote the country’s growth story in infrastructure, IT and eco-tourism, while positioning itself as a key trade partner in the region. “The relationship between our two countries, which was established in the early 1970s, is based on shared visions and mutual respect,” said Al Sayegh, adding that the Philippines is one of the most dynamic economies in the East Asia Pacific region and the UAE is keen to explore new areas of cooperation in the public and private sectors within areas of common interest.


Ramon Lopez, Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry, Commissioner-General of the Philippine Pavilion and Chair of the Philippines Organising Committee for Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The Expo 2020 has been a game-changer for trade relations between UAE and Philippines and has opened unlimited opportunities in trade, tourism and investments.”

“Trade between the two countries has risen to $951 million in 2021 compared to $700 million in 2020. Exports were valued at $245 million and imports doubled to $706 million,” Lopez added.

Those who attended said they felt proud and nostalgic on watching the celebrations. “The show was just great… Finally, I got to see my favourite artist, Bamboo live,” said Anthony Gonzaga, a Filipino sales executive from Abu Dhabi. “I always felt at home in the UAE, but today was very special at the Expo,” Anthony added.

Indian expat Mohammed Athar, who accompanied his Filipino friends to the National Day celebrations, said he was impressed by the rich tradition of the Philippines. “I wanted to share in the happiness of my friends. Their culture is quite rich and unique,” he said.

published 2022-02-11 22:53:18