DUBAI - Over 10,000 Filipino workers and their families turned up at the First Filipino Exposition in the Middle East at the Dubai Trade Centre, patronising their much-loved Philippine-made products and brands on display for three days, which ended on Saturday night with entertainment activities and gift surprises.
Hailing the event's success, Philippine Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan, in an interview with Khaleej Times, said the Filipino Exposition was just the beginning of a series of similar events in the years to come.
"This is a real vehicle by which we make known to all in the emirates the capability of Filipino workers. The exhibition also informed the Filipinos in the UAE that basically, we could do it, having business at daytime and fellowship, fun and entertainment at night time together."
Nina, a Filipino pop singer dubbed as the Philippine's 'Soul Siren', came all the way from Manila to Dubai to entertain the Filipino community in Dubai and Northern Emirates at the event. A multi-platinum record sales and a singer known to have seven No. 1 Singles in the Philippines, Nina belted out popular songs from her famous best-selling albums, to regale the audience at the world-class Filipino extravaganza.
Some 60 Philippine companies and institutions, ranging from schools, real estate, apparel, cosmetics, electronics and native product exporters put up their booths at the Trade Centre's Exhibition Hall 4.
Eugenio Lopez III, chairman of the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, who was expected to open the exhibition, was unable to come to the emirate due to other engagements.
However, Philippine top TV personalities, Dr Vicky Belo, also known as the Philippine's famous cosmetic surgeon, and Korina Sanchez, ABS-CBN's leading TV host, Managing Director Edgardo Garcia and Philippine Consul General Benito B. Valeriano officiated on the opening day, which surpassed all expectations. Some 7,000 Filipinos were expected at the opening, but over 10,000 turned up prompting organisers to print additional entry passes.
"For this, I salute to the ABS-CBN for coming up with this Filipino Exhibition, which the Philippine Embassy had supported and encouraged from the very beginning. It took the organisers only two months to plan out and schedule this but the success was enormous," Ambassador Cabactulan said.