For one sunny day in August, the Philippine flag proudly flew in the city hall of Stavanger, western Norway. The occasion was the call of the Philippine Ambassador to Norway, Bayani S. Mercado, on Mayor Christine Sagen Helgø.
The ambassador called on the mayor last 29 August to inquire on areas the Philippines and the City of Stavanger can cooperate and brief her on the Philippine embassy’s efforts to promote the Philippines in Norway, including the possibility of organizing a Philippine night in Stavanger sometime in November. Amb. Mercado was accompanied by Philippine Honorary Consul in Stavanger, Renee S. Ikdal.
Stavanger is the third largest urban zone in Norway, the administrative centre of Rogaland county and widely known as the country’s oil capital. The largest company in the Nordic region, Norwegian energy company Statoil is headquartered in Stavanger.
Domestic and international military installations are located in Stavanger, and among these is NATO's Joint Warfare Center. Other international establishments, and especially local branches of foreign oil and gas companies, contribute further to a significant foreign population in the city.
Immigrants make up 11.3% of Stavanger's population. According to Mayor Helgø, 174 nationalities are represented in Stavanger and employed in the oil industry. According to Honorary Consul Ikdal, about 4,000 Filipinos are residing in the greater Stavanger/Rogaland area.