Binay, Obama share family stories at Palace dinner

Philippine's Vice President Binay gestures as he welcomes U.S. President Obama upon his arrival at an airport in Manila

MANILA, Philippines - What happens when the man who wants to become the Philippines' "first black President" sits for dinner with the first African-American President of the United States?

Vice President Jejomar Binay, called "Jojobama" in jokes comparing him to US President Barack Obama because of his dark complexion, exchanged personal stories with the visiting American leader on Monday night as they shared a table at the state dinner in MalacaƱang thrown by the Aquino administration in Obama's honour.

"[He is] a good listener. You can see his sincerity and genuine interest," Binay said in a statement released just before he left for a speaking engagement in Washington on Tuesday night, 11 hours after Obama flew home from the Philippines aboard Air Force One.

Binay was first called "Jojobama" in 2008 after the inspiring Obama was elected president of the United States. He was then mayor of Makati City but that early he declared his intent to eventually run for President.

He would be elected vice president less than two years later.

Childhood dream

Now he is preparing for the biggest campaign of his political career-a bid for the presidency in 2016 to fulfil a "childhood dream."

At dinner with Obama, Binay talked about family and law, both he and Obama being lawyers. He came to the state dinner with his wife, Elenita, but she was assigned a seat at a different table.

"During the state dinner, Vice President Binay and Obama were seatmates and they talked mainly about their parents and family.

Obama talked about his father, the Vice President about losing his mother (Lourdes) when he was 9 years old," Binay's spokesman Joey Salgado said.

Binay's mother died of pulmonary disease.

"He also talked about growing up alone and how he adores his 13 grandchildren," Salgado said.

Lawyers' talk

The conversation about law was natural. Obama practiced and taught law in Chicago before going into politics, while Binay was a human rights lawyer during the martial law years and went into public service after democracy was restored in 1986.

"They also talked about being lawyers: the Vice President about being a trial lawyer, Obama about being a community organizer and law professor. Obama told P-Noy (President Aquino), 'I'm hearing emotional stories from the Vice President,'" Salgado said.

Binay, who met Obama at Ninoy Aquino International Airport on his arrival on Monday, also sent off the US leader when he left Tuesday afternoon.

According to Binay, Obama expressed his gratitude and told him: "Give my regards to your family."

Before their encounter in the Philippines, Binay and Obama had officially met twice: At the nuclear summit in Seoul in 2012 and at the nuclear summit in The Hague, the Netherlands, in March. At the summit in The Hague, Binay's daughter Anne got the chance to take a "selfie" with the American president.

After bidding Obama farewell at the airport, Binay left for Washington at 10 p.m. to keynote a leadership forum of the Center for Strategic International Studies, a globally renowned international policy institution.

Washington business

In Washington, Binay will meet with US Vice President Joe Biden and key members of the United States House of Representatives, including Rep. Steve Chabot, chair of the foreign affairs committee's subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and Rep. Eliot Engel, a ranking member of the foreign affairs committee.

Binay is also scheduled to meet with members of the US Chamber of Commerce, the US-ASEAN Business Council and the US-Philippine Society.