PM Abe visits President Duterte's modest Davao home for breakfast, bedroom tour

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (centre) with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) and presidential aide Christopher Go (left) at Mr Duterte's family home in Davao city.
Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (centre) with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) and presidential aide Christopher Go (left) at Mr Duterte's family home in Davao city.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ CHRISTOPHER GO
Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (right) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) peering out a window at Mr Duterte's family home in Davao city.
Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (right) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre) peering out a window at Mr Duterte's family home in Davao city.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ CHRISTOPHER GO
Philippines' presidential aide Christopher Go (left) taking a photo with President Rodrigo Duterte (seated, right) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (seated, left) in the background, at Mr Duterte's family home in Davao city.
Philippines' presidential aide Christopher Go (left) taking a photo with President Rodrigo Duterte (seated, right) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (seated, left) in the background, at Mr Duterte's family home in Davao city.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ CHRISTOPHER GO
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe entering the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines on Jan 12, 2017.
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe entering the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines on Jan 12, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

MANILA - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dropped by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's family home in Davao city early Friday (Jan 13) morning, where they bonded over a modest breakfast of sweet rice cakes and mung bean soup.

It was a show of what the two leaders had said was a growing friendship between them.

Mr Abe, 62, is the first head of state to visit the Philippines since Mr Duterte, 71, took office on June 30 last year. He is also the first leader to be invited to Mr Duterte's two-storey family home inside a government housing compound in Davao, which he shares with his wife Cielito "Honeylet" Avancena, a 46-year-old former nurse, and their 12-year-old daughter Kitty.

Photographs posted on Facebook by Mr Duterte's close aide Christopher Go showed the two leaders were dressed down:   Mr Abe in a white, short-sleeve polo shirt tucked in grey pants and Mr Duterte in an untucked, flannel shirt.

One photo showed the two leaders and Mr Go posing beside a bed that has a mosquito net.

"Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe inside the simple home of Pres. Duterte. We also showed him how the president enjoys the comfort of his own bed, including his old and favorite mosquito net," Mr Go wrote on Facebook. 

Mr Abe and Mr Duterte had breakfast at a small table in the kitchen with Mr Go and two interpreters. Mr Go said they had three varieties of sweet rice cakes and mung bean soup.

After breakfast and still in their casual attire, Mr Abe and Mr Duterte met with Filipino and Japanese businessmen. Mr Abe later named a Philippine eagle "Sakura" - Japanese for cherry blossoms - as a tribute to the blossoming ties between the Philippines and Japan.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (second, left) and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (second, right) joined by their wives Akie Abe (left) and Honeylet Avancena (right), standing next to a stuffed Philippine eagle during the naming of eagle ceremony in Davao city, on Jan 13, 2017.  PHOTO: AFP

The two-year-old eagle, an endangered species, was found in December along a mountain range with a pellet from an air gun lodged in her lower left abdomen.

Mr Abe and Mr Duterte first met on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Laos in September last year. The Philippine president visited Tokyo a month later.

Mr Abe arrived in Manila on Thursday, kicking off a six-day tour of Asia-Pacific nations which analysts say is meant to reassure allies of Japan's presence, amid a rising China.

He sought to woo the Philippines with a US$9 billion (S$12.8 billion) aid package, and offers to help Mr Duterte with his war on drug trafficking and terrorism.

rdancel@sph.com.sg