DAVAO CITY, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – It’s a one hour and forty five-minute flight from Manila to Davao City. Manila is where the Philippine presidential palace is located, and Davao is where presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte lives.
Duterte likes to sleep in his own bed, so if he is elected president in the May elections, the Davao City mayor says he plans to go home to Davao City every day. He has no plans of staying in Malacanang, the presidential palace.
Now, before you say that Duterte’s plan is a crazy idea, think again.
With Metro Manila’s daily traffic gridlock, it can take up to four hours to commute from one part of the metropolis to another. So a daily commute from Manila to Davao doesn’t sound so bad.
Duterte added that his daily commute will not cost the government a single centavo. He says he would borrow the private jet of his friend, Davao religious leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, to spare the government the expected expense.
That’s assuming, of course, that the pastor will also pay for the fuel, and that the jet has room for the presidential security.
MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Time is running out for Philippine President NoyNoy Aquino and his Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya. The Filipinos are eagerly awaiting the day — on January 1, 2016 — when both men will have themselves run over by a train. It was a promise made by Aquino in 2013 if, by the end of 2015, the serious problems plaguing Metro Manila’s mass transportation, particularly the MRT (light railway) are not resolved.
In a desperate attempt for damage control, Aquino’s communications secretary Herminio Coloma came to the rescue today saying that none of the president’s statements should be taken literally.
“He was merely joking,” Coloma said, “just like when he makes statements and claims about the accomplishments of his administration.”
“When the president says something like ‘the Philippines is the New Darling of Asia,’ or ‘the Philippines will soon become a First World Country,’ we should not take him seriously.”
The statement from the presidential palace comes as a disappointment to many who were gearing up for a great, televised spectacle come January 1st.
Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – The 2016 Philippine pr
esidential election is still twenty months away but already, Vice President Jejomar Binay is laying out plans for when he is elected the next president.
Binay continues to lead in the polls as the most likely to succeed President NoyNoy Aquino. By law, Aquino cannot seek reelection beyond his current six-year term. Unless, of course, he and his allies in Congress decide to amend the constitution.
Binay surprised reporters today when he said that if elected president, he is not going to reside in Malacañang, the Philippine presidential palace. Instead, he wants to continue living in the Coconut Palace.
Also known as Tahanang Pilipino (Filipino Home), the Coconut Palace is a government
mansion commissioned in 1978 by former First Lady Imelda Marcos as a guest house for visiting royalty and dignitaries. During his 1981 visit to the Philippines, Pope John Paul II refused to stay there because it was too opulent given the level of poverty in the Philippines. It cost 37 million Philippine pesos to build it.
In 2011, it became the official residence and principal workplace of the Philippine Vice President.
“My family and I enjoy living in the Coconut Palace,” Binay said, “because it is much more comfortable — being situated by the scenic Manila Bay, as opposed to the filthy Pasig River.” The rear facade of Malacañang sits on the banks of the river.
The Coconut palace is shaped like an octagon while its roof is shaped like a traditional Filipino salakot or hat. Some of its highlights are the 101 coconut-shell chandelier, and the dining table made of 40,000 tiny pieces of inlaid coconut shells. Highlighted as one of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ most striking structures for its architecture and interiors, the palace celebrates the coconut as the ultimate “Tree of Life.” The palace’s design echoes all the elements of the coconut tree — from its roots and trunk to its bark, fruit, flower and shell.
The Coconut Palace has been a guesthouse for many guests, including Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, Brooke Shields and George Hamilton.
On the fifth season fifth season of the reality series The Amazing Race, the Coconut Palace served as the pit stop when the competing teams went to Manila.
Binay and his family are known for their passion for structures that cost tons of money. Binay and his son, Makati City Mayor Junjun, are the subject of controversy and investigation for the new, overpriced Makati City Hall which began construction when the older Binay was mayor of Makati.
According to complaints, the Makati City government allocated P2.7 billion for the construction of the project when it only declared P1.5 billion as the total cost of the project.
Binay said that being near Manila Bay would make it easier for me to flee the country in the event of another People’s Revolution, referring to the citizen movement that drove Ferdinand Marcos out of power and into exile. The Coconut Palace is located relatively close to the U.S. Embassy in Manila and that certainly accounts for something.