MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has won two gold awards, besting other countries who participated in the Small Pavilion Category (Category C) at the Expo 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea.
"This marks the first time that the Philippines won the Gold Award in an international expo, and also the first time in the entire history of the international expo that a country has won two Gold Awards," said the Department of Tourism in a press statement.
The Philippine Pavilion was adjudged by the Bureau of International des Expositions (BIE) as Gold Award winners for Creative Display and Theme Development criteria. The Pavilions were divided into four categories according to their type and size of exhibition space. Category A with 4 modules and above; Category B with 2 or 3 modules; Category C with 1 module or less; and Category D for joint pavilions.
“This expo was my very first assignment from President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III when I started as Tourism Secretary in 2011. That is why we at the DOT and TPB (Tourism Promotions Board) are very proud and happy to bring honor and recognition to our country through the excellent showing of our Philippine pavilion in Yeosu, South Korea. This is a victory not only for the country’s tourism industry, but also for the Filipino people, and we express profound gratitude to all our partners in both the public and private sectors,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr.
The three-month exposition that began last May 12 drew a total of 8,203,956 visitors from across the globe, according to the International Media Center of the Expo 2012 organizers.
The theme statement of the Philippines “Island of Diversity – Seas of Connectivity” was authored by Professor Edgardo Gomez, world-renowned marine biologist and professor emeritus and founding director of the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI).
The pavilion featured corals and indigenous materials. The sand was sourced from the country’s famous beaches, from the powdery white sand of Boracay to the pink sand of Sta. Cruz Island in Zamboanga, the brown sand of San Lorenzo in Guimaras, and the exotic black sand of Sto. Domingo in Albay. The idea was to portray the Philippines as a destination where fun and sustainable tourism coexist and form part of the indivisible whole.
“The Philippines is blessed to be at the heart of the Coral Triangle or The Amazon of the Seas. The country’s rich biodiversity is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Koreans can attest to this, as they remain to be our strongest single market. Some of them have even made the Philippines their second home,” Jimenez said.