by Bennette Misalucha, ABS-CBN News
KAUAI, HI — It was a friendship born three years ago during a Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii trade mission to Davao City, when the seed of city sisterhood with the island of Kauai was first planted.
And recently, the Mayor of Davao City Sara Duterte came to Kauai to seal the deal.
To officially declare Kauai and Davao “Sister Cities,” the two mayors signed the memorandum of agreement that documented the promise of collaboration and support.
In his remarks, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho emphasized the value of this relationship.
“Through this sister city relationship, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Philippines and learn first hand how the Philippines and Hawaii are separated by ocean, but connected in our sense of family and our dedication to build our youth in our connection to culture and heritage and our dedication to agriculture, tourism and business and economic ventures.”
Kauai has a population of about 65,000 people; almost 30% are of Filipino ancestry. In Hawaii, it has the highest concentration of Filipino Americans relative to the population base.
Mayor Sara Duterte shared her takeaway from her visit.
“The things that we learned here, agri-tourism, the science they’ve been putting in their farms. Those are the things that Davao City and the Philippines really needs. It’s all about modern agriculture and how to increase your yield with low cost.”
A highlight of the visit was a tree planting ceremony at the new Kauai Philippine Cultural Center, which will soon be inaugurated in December.
Mayor Duterte reminded the community about the importance of unity.
“I hope as Filipinos they help their Hawaiian community…their Filipino families also.”
For the Davao City delegation, it may have been a short two days in Kauai — but it was long enough to connect with their new family across the Pacific.
It is said that a journey of a thousand miles starts with one small step. With the signing of a Sister City agreement between the city of Kauai and the city of Davao, this is one significant step and opens many doors to endless possibilities.