Olongapo, The Philippines
A Virginia Trade Delegation visited Olongapo in 2008 leading to a recommendation that Virginia Beach and Olongapo seek a mutually beneficial trade endeavor. In 2013 another trip was organized with State Delegate, Ron Villanueva and Virginia Beach Economic Development Director, Warren Harris, and Travel Outlet President, Roy Estaris leading to discussion of an Olongapo-Virginia Beach Sister City agreement. Because of this a spark of interest was ignited between businessmen and citizens of the City of Virginia Beach who compose the Philippine Cultural Center. An invitation was then issued to Mayor Rolen Paulino and his Mayoral Delegation to visit Virginia Beach to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in September 2013.
Mayor Paulino arrived in Virginia Beach with great enthusiasm and was met with the same by many Virginia Beach citizens. The Philippine Cultural Center and its members fully endorsed the proposed “sister city” concept and dedicated their efforts to further the relationship. In March, Olongapo Councilman, Jong Cortez arrived with a student delegation as an exchange visit to Tallwood High School – – the first ever student “exchange” with Olongapo. When Virginia Beach learned of the typhoon disaster in the Philippines, they immediately designated excess boats which were shipped to the Philippines. During a Mayoral Delegation visit to Olongapo in May, 2014, the Virginia Beach Sister City/Trade Office was dedicated in the Olongapo City Hall, a Flag Square was erected and an anchor was dedicated as further symbolisms of “friendship and sister relationship” between the two cities.
In October, 2014 the Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach unanimously approved Olongapo, Philippines, as a “Sister City” to Virginia Beach and requested Members of the Virginia Beach City Council to endorse the relationship and request that the official charter to be issued by the Sister Cities International Board of Directors. An official “signing ceremony” was held July 6, 2015 in Virginia Beach.