Sisterhood agreements do not only strengthen the partnership between cities but these also open opportunities to showcase culture, products, and services that would bolster trade and tourism industries.

This was proven during the three-day Sister Cities Trade Fair and Exhibit held at SM Lanang from March 15 to 17, coinciding with the 82nd celebration of the Davao City’s founding anniversary.

The holding of the exhibit was Davao City’s way of helping its local and foreign sister cities promote their products and create awareness about their culture.

“This is an opportunity for Dabawenyos to make new friendships,” Mayor Inday Sara Duterte said.

Among those who joined the exhibit are Quezon City, Marikina City and San Juan City in Metro Manila, Municipality of Liloan in Cebu, Angeles City in Pampanga, Jinjiang City and Nanning City, China and Kitakyushu City, Japan.

“Liloan is not yet a city. We still have a lot to learn and having Davao City as a partner is helping us a lot especially given the kind of leadership that it has,” Strozzi Rosende, an artist-entrepreneur from Liloan in Cebu.

Davao and the Municipality of Liloan in Cebu City signed a sisterhood agreement in October last year. Liloan is known for its ceramics industry. Liloan’s best-known products include bricks, plant pots, and exotic jars.

Rosende, who represented the Municipality of Liloan to the trade fair and exhibit, said it was a good opportunity not just to display her works of art but also to give Dabawenyos a glimpse of Liloan.

Liloan’s booth had the miniature Bagacay Point lighthouse on display. The lighthouse, which was declared as a National Historic Landmark in 2004, was originally built in 1857 by the Spaniards. The present tower was built in 1904 as ordered by William Howard Taft, the first Governor-General of the Philippines.

But what made Liloan’s display more attractive was the display of jewelry and accessories, all handcrafted by Strozzi. Her designs were world-class, but definitely a reminder of the Philippines and what it stands for such as the earrings in the shape of bananas, coconut, guitar, which Cebu is famous for, the jeepney, bahay kubo and the Philippine flag.

“We want to thank Mayor Sara Duterte for giving us this opportunity to know Davao and for the Dabawenyos to also get to know Liloan,” she said.

Aside from Liloan, the booth of San Juan City also looked interesting with its display of dolls garbed in Filipino dresses including the Barong Tagalog and the traditional wear of some of the country’s Indigenous Peoples. San Juan City signed an agreement with Davao City in 2008 and renewed in 2018.

Davao City has sisterhood cities agreements with Jinjang and Nanning in China; Bitung and Manado in Indonesia; Kitakyushu City in Japan; Kauai County in Hawaii and Tacoma City in Washington, USA. It also has sisterhood agreements with Angeles City, Marikina City, Municipality of Liloan in Cebu, Quezon City, San Juan City, Municipality of Basud, and Dapitan City. CIO