Digong loves to pour chocolate drink on his rice | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022


Before he goes to sleep, the country’s most powerful man calls his trusted aide Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, officially the head of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), to check his schedule the following day.


President Rodrigo Duterte wakes up depending on his daily calendar.


Morning appointments would mean he rises earlier than usual.


“When he has time, he does the treadmill,” a source privy to Mr. Duterte said.


The chief executive reads the newspapers, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He also prefers to read the “crawlers” at the bottom of the TV screen instead of watching news programs.


In the course of the day, the President is usually flanked by Go and secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr., another trusted aide since his days as mayor.


Most people watch Mr. Duterte on television or monitor his activities on social media and see a hardened old politician cracking folksy jokes, cursing his critics or issuing policy statements that stymie even his subordinates.


In his private moments, sources said Mr. Duterte is more introspective. He has no relatives staying at Bahay Pangarap, the chief executive’s official residence across the Pasig River from Malacañang Palace.


One source who has known the President since his days as  Davao City mayor said he sleeps alone in Manila, since common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña and their daughter Veronica aka Kitty are in Davao City, where the young girl attends a private school.


“He doesn’t smoke or drink,” added the source who asked that this be emphasized because “some people suspect he is drunk when facing the cameras.”


The President wore mostly plaid during the campaign.  He still does, although this has given way to barong Tagalog.




“This is because ginawang uniform ng (Presidential Security Group) ang plaid.  Nakakatihan siya sa jusi barong.  And he hates the labels on the collar. Pinapatanggal n’ya ito,” the source said.


Most of the collared shirts he wears are gifts. “Even some of the plaid polos are gifts from friends, ‘yung iba pinapa-repair n’ya to his preferred cut,” noted the source.


Mr. Duterte is not a fussy eater, the source added. “He likes monggo, inun-unan (paksiw) na isda and bulad (dried fish).  ’Di sya maarte sa pagkain.  He eats his vegetables.”


Mr. Duterte takes delight in pouring “tsukwate”—a native chocolate drink—on his rice during a meal.


In Davao, the President’s meals are prepared by a kasambahay. Bahay Pangarap has a cook who once prepared chicken pochero and sinigang na salmon sa miso for him before a big event.


It is likely that nearly three months into his term, Mr. Duterte now feels more comfortable sleeping in Bahay Pangarap after once remarking he finds it “too big” compared to his long-time residence in Doña Luisa Subdivision (known to old-timers as Teachers’ Village) in Davao City.


“Nasanay siya sa masikip na bahay.  Low-cost housing ang Doña Luisa Subdivision where he continues to live when in Davao,” the source said.

His bed in Davao City is one of the things he misses most, the source added. Also his long-time hangout, the piano bar called After Dark, where Mr. Duterte can be himself. His favorite songs: “McArthur’s Park,” “You Raise Me Up” and Martin Nievera’s “Ikaw.” Favorite singer: Barbra Streisand.


“Hindi gaanong security nightmare kung sa Davao City siya lalabas.  Sa Manila kasi, the PSG has to check the area three hours before. Ang sabi nya, ayaw n’yang maging inconvenience sa ibang tao dahil sa security protocol,” the source pointed out.


Once presidential duties for the day are done, Mr. Duterte retreats to his room in Bahay Pangarap.


“Kakain, maliligo, read a few pages of books na nakakalat sa kuwarto… mostly biographies and nonfiction… He needs time to ‘rest’ before he can finally sleep.  Pababa muna ng adrenaline… then matutulog.”/rga


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