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Milan Expo 2015 Bayanihan

Two readers’ feedback from last week’s dire news in this space about Philippines missing out on the World EXPO at MILAN 2015:

From Dominic Baldemor, June 4, 2014: “I have read your article in Manila Bulletin about the non-participation of the Philippines in the upcoming Expo in Milan, and it is really disappointing to know that our country will not be represented in the event.

“I am a master’s degree student of Architecture in Politecnico di Milano, and right now, the university is actively encouraging the students to participate in the upcoming expo. The university is willing to sponsor exhibitions and activities, provided that there is a venue for them. My group submitted a proposal for an exhibit about the Design of Typhoon-Resilient Buildings in the Philippines. We were hoping that we could display our work at the Philippine Pavilion, but now we are looking for other possible venue for our exhibit.

“In case there is a turn of event and a Philippine Pavilion would be built, our group of Filipino architecture students at Politecnico di Milano is willing to provide the architectural design. We have fresh design ideas and we are willing to share them pro bono.

“Please keep us updated about the Philippine participation in the Expo 2015.”

From Ley Guillermo, May 30, 2014:  “I just read your article in Manila Bulletin, and we are moved by your message. We have the same sentiments, why Phils. will not join? Especially now that the expo theme is so important ‘FEEDING THE PLANET, ENERGY FOR LIFE’.

“We also attended a government seminar recently, and we were asked, with so many Filipinos in Italy (legally registered around 150k), why do Filipino produce such as mangoes, coconut, etc., cannot import to Italy, while Thailand, Vietnam, China can?

“My mom is active in the Milan expo preparation since 2011, as part of the “3rd sector,” i.e., Volunteers, NGOs. We are living in Inzago, province of Milan. Seeing our flag wave, as part of the participating countries, would have given us so much pride…”

Filipinos at home and especially our 150,000 compatriots in Italy will not understand our absence at Milan EXPO when we have been consistently participating at (Leandro Locsin’s design won first prize), World Expo 1964 New York, World Expo 1970 Osaka, World Expo 2000 Hanover (Germany), World Expo 2005 Aichi (Japan), World Expo 2008 Zaragoza (Spain), World Expo 2010 Shanghai, and World Expo 2012 Yesou (Korea).

TRIVIA. The first Philippine participation at World Expo was at St. Louis was an unhappy experience.  The American colonial administration shipped over 1,100 Filipinos from various tribes and provinces as curiosities to dance in their native costumes and to exhibit dog eat habits.

At the Milan Furniture Fair which showcases the best of the best in the most important trade event and design fair for furniture and home fashion in the world, Filipino designers have earned for the Philippines the cachet as “the Milan of Asia.”  It would be a deafening silence if our talents were missed at the Milan EXPO.

Our Ambassador to the Quirinale Virgilio Reyes in Rome and Consul General Lourdes S. Tabamo in Milan will join hands to muster the support of the Filipino community.

For love of country, a concerned citizens’ group led by Health & Wellness team Ravi and Rashmi Singh is moving heaven and earth putting together a team to assure the President that we can have a world-class Philippine pavilion.  (Rashmi is aka Girlie Tolentino in Indios Bravos days; Ravi is more Filipino than many of us.) FEEDBACK: