‘Enjoy si Abe’: Japan PM visits Duterte house

Pia Ranada
‘Enjoy si Abe’: Japan PM visits Duterte house
(UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte serves local rice cakes – biko, suman, and kutsinta – as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits his house in Davao City

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the house of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City on Friday morning, January 13.

Enjoy si Abe (Abe enjoyed),” Special Assistant to the President Bong Go told Rappler.

SIMPLE HOME. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shows Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe around his house in Davao City. Photo courtesy of Special Assistant to the President Bong Go

Go said Abe spent 45 minutes in Duterte’s house, 10 minutes of these in the President’s room.

Duterte’s aide added that the two leaders ate local rice cakes – biko, suman, and kutsinta – and had mongo soup, the President’s favorite dish.

They also had heart of banana salad and fresh fruits like mango, rambutan, and pomelo and were served Earl Grey black tea, coffee, and buko juice, according to a menu from Malacañang.

Duterte’s common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña, who supervised the preparations, earlier said they will serve puto, suman, and salad.

“Doing it for the Filipinos and for this country, as PM Abe is the first foreign, high-ranking government official to visit the country and Davao, and first to visit the Philippine President’s house,” Avanceña told Rappler.

LOCAL DELICACIES. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte serves biko, suman, and kutsinta as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits his house in Davao City. Photo courtesy of Special Assistant to the President Bong Go

In a Facebook post, Go noted that Abe was “inside the simple home of President Duterte.”

“We also showed him how the President enjoys the comfort of his own bed, including his old and favorite mosquito net,” he said. 

During the visit, the Abes received gifts from Duterte and Avanceña. In photos released by Malacañang, Mrs. Abe unwraps her gift, showing a yellow embroidered Filipiniana blouse.

TOKEN FROM DAVAO. Akie Abe, wife of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is delighted after receiving a Filipiniana blouse from President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo by Rene Lumawag/PPD

CARDBOARD SENTINEL. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe chuckles upon seeing the standee of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte outside his residence. Photo by Rene Lumawag/PPD

Outside of the house, Prime Minister Abe came across a life-size standee of Duterte, a sight that reportedly made him chuckle. The standee is a constant fixture. Visitors hoping to get a glimpse of the President’s home often pose beside it for selfies.

NEIGHBORS' WELCOME. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe interacts with the neighbors of President Rodrigo Duterte before entering the residence of the President. Presidential Photo

Abe also entertained requests of Duterte’s neighbors for a group photo.

Abe’s trip required tighter security near Duterte’s house in Davao City earlier on Friday.

Abe went to Duterte’s house as part of his two-day official visit to the Philippines from Thursday to Friday, January 12 to 13. 

As part of this official visit, Abe flew to Davao City to show that the Philippines and Japan “are more than brothers,” a Japanese government spokesman said Thursday. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.