DUBAI 5 May 2021: In the run-up to the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai on 1st October, 2021, the Philippines is integrating its deep story of cultural sustainability with the power of technology through engaging, interactive digital mobile applications that will take Expo visitors on a journey of discovery, allowing them to dive into the nation’s ancestral origin and culture, while introducing the Philippines as a creative nation.
The Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (PDTI), the lead implementing agency of the Philippines’ participation at the Expo 2020 Dubai, is set to elevate its creative industries in animation, software and game development as it launches a game-based learning app, “Bangkóta Trivia Quest” and an interactive mobile tour guide app called the “Mobile Visitor Journey,” together with the Filipino-made animated character, Ube Boy.
The game app, developed and created by Filipino game developer James Palabay and his team at Digital Art Chefs, seeks to cultivate a keen understanding and appreciation of the Filipinos’ Austronesian lineage. It will also serve as a “digital gateway” for those who will not be able to visit the country’s pavilion.
In this light-hearted, educational game app, the players’ mission is to earn as many stars and suns as the game progresses. By providing the correct answers to a pool of questions covering a diverse range of themes about the Bangkóta and the Philippines, players have the opportunity to win prizes from the Go Lokal! Boutique at Area 6 of the pavilion.
“I think what struck me the most as new information was the Austronesian connection. It made me feel more connected to so many other cultures and people. It gives me a richer feeling about our origins as a people and a deeper connection with other people beyond our islands,” Palabay said.
The “Mobile Visitor Journey” app conceptualised by BBDO Guerrero provides visitors with a convenient yet comprehensive guide through all 1,386 square meters of the Bangkóta. The app features a location identifier that helps visitors navigate through the eight distinct areas within the pavilion while providing key information about the exhibits and galleries that drive the Bangkóta narrative.
Replacing the need for the traditional print maps and actual tour guide, it utilises multimedia elements such as visual, and text-based and voice-based interfaces, which will enhance the visitors’ journey experience.
The users of both apps will interact with an animated character named Magbun, a.k.a “Ube Boy”, the official mascot of the Bangkóta.
The mascot was created by Rocketsheep Studio founder, Filipino filmmaker, and animator Avid Liongoren and his team, as well as production firm Twenty Manila, led by its founder and Creative Director Manny Angeles.
The team of Liongoren and Angeles also co-produced two animated teaser videos about Bangkóta for the Philippines @ Expo 2020 Dubai, using Ube Boy as the main character.
Liongoren stated, “In my field of animation, most Filipino animators are used to either making things look Western or Japanese it is either superhero style or anime. As a studio, we want to focus on using our own local visual elements in the films we create in hopes of contributing to the creation of a Filipino animation identity.”
Angeles underscored, “Bangkóta celebrates the extent of how we Filipinos have spread ourselves across the world. It also shows that the Filipinos have a thriving culture prior to ‘welcoming’ guests from overseas in 1521.”
Aside from new media and audiovisual sectors, the PDTI will also stage Philippine creative industries spanning from architecture, design and crafts, visual arts and performing arts to gastronomy, media and publication at the Expo 2020 Dubai.
Both apps will soon be available for download through the App Store for IOS and Google Play for Android users. For more information, you may visit the Philippines Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai official website at www.expo2020dubai.com.
The Expo 2020 Dubai runs until March 31, 2022.