Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Philippines: Islands of Diversity, Seas of Connectivity

FAÇADE: Coral the life of the Ocean

The Philippine Pavilion at the World Expo 2012 Yeosu takes visitors to a multi-sensory, fun-filled journey through its inherent shoreline and underwater bounties. Akin to a scuba dive on one of the archipelago's magnificent reefs, the façade draws patrons with its 3-dimensional interpretation of the coral, the foundation of marine life, and viewed from a throw's distance the whale shark or "butanding," one of the Philippines' most successful eco-tourism attractions.

Towards the entrance, an LED monitor features the Philippine mascot's guided tour of the various sections of the pavilion experience. To the right, a digital wall flashes relevant statistics emphasizing the country's exceptional coastal resources asserting both the Philippine and Expo 2012 themes. Facts and figures such as the country’s extensive coastline, reputed largest number of fish and coral species in the world, territorial waters, and coral reef expanse, are intermittently displayed in the colors of the new country brand – "It's more fun in the Philippines."

INTERIOR: Preserving the Islands of Diversity & Seas of Connectivity thru Eco-tourism

Inside, vividly aquatic hues greet patrons as emitted to the floor from 4 ornate pods suspended from the ceiling that mimic glowing corals. An animated projection of a swimming whale shark is employed to facilitate flow as ambient music reminds visitors of clear waters and blue skies. Lighting is intensified and diffused with special concave-shaped stretch sheets covering the expanse of the ceiling that appear like a translucent school of jellyfish. A dawn to dusk scenario is created within the experience setting up the audience for the digital simulation on the pavilion's 2 major walls separated by an illuminating coral partition made of abaca and other native materials. The projection wall, stretching from floor to ceiling, offers a near surround view of images that unfold the breadth of the Philippines' wealth in marine biodiversity and its coexistence with coastal activities, captured with a collage of visuals of the diving community with an invitation to "protect and share".

Exhibit 1: Connecting thru Tourism

A short animation directs the audience's attention to the circular pods, the first 3 exhibiting visual presentations of the Philippine's main island groups - Luzon, Visayas & Mindanao, another showing the country’s conservation efforts, while the coral wall provides further educational value. Said visuals are projected on the pod’s floor, each encircled by sand from the country’s popular beach in the specified zone. The pods themselves are symbolic of Filipino-Korean friendship, highlighted by the intricately woven wrought iron frame, an age-old Filipino craft, with Korean paper moderating the lighting effects.

Exhibit 2: Connecting thru Conservation

The main feature draws emphasis to the archipelago's biodiversity and upholds the nation’s commitment and appeal to reconnect with the living ocean. Completing the production is a fun-filled visual of coastal tourism activities. Additional information can be obtained via the Digital Hub, where Philippine investment opportunities, product catalogue, leisure and diving travel packages, corporate partners’ social responsibility, national conservation efforts and related details can be viewed and downloaded from digital frames strategically located in the Philippine map of coral pores with quick response codes (QRCs). Throughout the experience, visitors can whiff traces of familiar Filipino scents.

Exhibit 3: Connecting thru Marine-based Products

From sea to shore, the gift shop's remarkable structure and the myriad of environmentally sustainable products dramatically transforms the visit. The spherical construction is inspired by the fisherman’s basket wherein customers can find the catch of the day. An impressive array of eco-friendly items from the country’s various regions lines up the unique display stands while underscoring the Philippine support to marginalized communities. The centerpiece, an encased pearl, mounted as a reminder of the country’s pride as the Pearl of the Orient among the community of nations.

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