THE Philippines bagged the golden award for excellence of quality and innovation for its pavilion in the Expo Zaragoza in Spain.
The Gold Prize, the highest award given to a participating country, cited the quality of the Philippine pavilion?s internal and external décor and its functionality that has high relevance to the exposition?s theme of ?Water and Sustainable Development.?
More than 100 countries participated in the Expo Zaragoza which attracted six million visitors, making it the year?s most important exhibition.
The country?s delegation included the Department of Tourism (DoT), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said ?this recognition is truly well-deserved as our country?s wealthy aquatic life has been captured by the equally rich imagination of our fellowmen.?
The design theme of the pavilion presented several unique grassroots perspectives on harnessing aquatic resources for a country?s sustainability.
?While other countries utilized ultra modern technology, we chose to highlight more community-involved practices as well as natural land irrigation, aquatic recreation and marine resources preservation,? he said.
This concept was expressed in the design of the pavilion, which consisted of almost a thousand crystal-like bubbles, which contained artifacts about the Philippines? aquatic culture and history.
Durano highlighted one of those artifacts, saying ?we have the whale shark sanctuary in Donsol which has propelled a simple village into a global tourism destination.?
Reef preservation in Leyte and Palawan, pawikan conservation project in Bataan and coastal management in Bohol, Camarines Sur, Pangasinan, Negros and Zambales, are the other projects they chose to highlight in the event, Durano added.
Eduardo Jarque, Jr., DoT Undersecretary for Planning and Promotions, added: ?We knew we had a winner when we walked in the pavilion. It was a very cerebral and unique design that offered a fresh perspective of the Philippines.?
Jarque commended the design team composed of Architect Ed Calma, museum curator Marian Roces, Baby Imperial and Coco Anne of B&C Design, and Shoku Matsumoto for the cool lighting.
?The three-month Expo was also a very successful tourism exchange for the country with almost 8,000 guests visiting our pavilion daily,? said Domingo Ramon Enerio, Tourism Attache for London and Deputy Commissioner General of the Philippine delegation.
Enerio said that several highlights of the event included a travel exchange, which featured a number of Spain?s top travel wholesalers; raffle draws that gave away trips to the Philippines? top destinations.
Other activities in the pavilion that created media frenzy were the meeting of the two mascots, Fluvi and Filippo, and the series of marketing events dubbed ?Filipinas Te Esperra Nights,? where top travel agents and operators were invited.