MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte exchanged his usual leather shoes or sneakers for furry slippers as he attended the blessing of his official Manila residence, Bahay Pangarap, on Tuesday, July 12.
In photos sent by Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher "Bong" Go, Duterte is flanked by his staff members as he holds a candle while facing a priest saying the blessing.
His staff greeted him at Bahay Pangarap with a large welcome banner.
Duterte was still at the house blessing when Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr delivered the government's statement on the historic decision of a United Nations-backed arbitral court on the Philippines' case against China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). The Philippines, as widely anticipated, received a favorable ruling.
After the blessing, Duterte was set to head to Malacañang Palace to preside over a Cabinet meeting where the West Philippine Sea ruling would be discussed. (READ: Duterte to get 'complete interpretation' of Hague ruling in 5 days)
The Philippine president has spent at least one night in Bahay Pangarap, which is located across the Pasig River from the main Palace building.
Photo from Special Assistant to the President Bong Go
Duterte found his stay there "sad" because he felt all alone in the house which he still finds too big for comfort, according to Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella.
Duterte earlier rejected the idea of staying in the main Palace building because he claimed it was "haunted."
With the Bahay Pangarap blessing done, perhaps Duterte will find it easier to spend a night in his new Manila home. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.