That is how President Duterte wants any of his personal events or get-togethers celebrated. He has always said that he was fine with one rice, one viand, and one soup. The same goes for his birthdays–as simple as it can be.
President Duterte will turn 76 on Sunday, March 28. This will be his second birthday while the country is under lockdown during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to Malacañang, President Duterte’s wish for his birthday was for the pandemic to end soon so the lives of Filipinos could finally return to normal.
Last year, instead of going back home to Davao City, President Duterte spent his birthday in isolation in Malacañang after being exposed to government officials who tested positive for COVID-19. He eventually tested negative.
His long-time aide Senator Bong Go shared a photo with reporters, showing Duterte sitting in front of a table, getting ready to eat fried fish and soup for breakfast in Malacañang’s Bahay Pagbabago.
But how was the President’s birthday pre-pandemic?
On his first birthday as the country’s president, Duterte woke up to his daughter Veronica and his grandchildren cuddling him.
Former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said President Duterte spent his birthday in the simple way in his Davao City home.
“It’s usually a very quiet affair with family and friends. Very simple, something that suits his personality,” he said.
For his birthday, Vice President Leni Robredo wished President Duterte good health and success in leading the country.
On the eve of his birthday, he met with former United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, former Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, and Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó.
President Duterte spent his 73rd birthday in Davao City in 2018. His guests? His grandchildren.
The night before his birthday, Duterte held a meeting with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) about the then proposed-Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed well-wishes to President Duterte for his birthday, saying the Philippines-China bilateral ties has improved, and reaped productive outcomes since Duterte assumed office.
Days after his birthday, his Malacañang family surprised the President with a cake during the 24th Cabinet meeting.
Days before his 74th birthday in 2019, President Duterte joked that he will spend it at home sleeping.
“I really do not want to celebrate. I just want to stay at home and sleep, and if there is somebody welcome to me, it’s my children and grandchildren,” he said.
Like the previous years, President Duterte celebrated his birthday in his hometown. He spent the eve of his 74th birthday with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and his aides.
Prior to his special day, the President met with Song Tao, head of the international department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, who paid a courtesy call on him at the Matina Enclaves
The President had a Philippine-flag-inspired birthday cake, and, later on, a boodle fight with his presidential guards.