A blooming bromance? Duterte gushes over Putin

A bromance seems to have bloomed between President Rodrigo Duterte and his hero Russian President Vladimir Putin - at least judging by the way the former waxed poetic about their first meeting.

Sounding like a starstruck schoolboy who just met his idol, the Philippine leader gushed about his initial interactions with Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit here.

“It was like we have known each other for a long time and even [by] the way we pat each other’s hand in a handshake,” Duterte said of his first bilateral meeting with the Russian strongman.

At one of the side events with the Apec leaders, he recalled having a conversation with a Vietnam official who thanked him for the release of Vietnamese fishermen apprehended in Philippine waters.

“When I finally sat down, I found out that President Putin was on my left side, so we shook hands,” he said.

“And then after I shook his hands again and I finally said ‘I [will] go ahead.’

He gestured to me, ‘don’t forget to visit Russia,’” Duterte recalled.

Like with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the only other leader he had a bilateral meeting with, he said he had become “fast friends” with the Russian president.

He joked that the moment Putin entered the room, the latter went up to him and told him ‘pare (buddy), don’t tell this to the media of the Philippines, but [in stage whisper] don’t mind America…”

“It’s like… The way…It’s something that you feel.

Because his laugh is big. He has a wide laugh. His laugh is wide,” he said, uncharacteristically at a loss for words.

Duterte said his impression of Putin was different from what he watched or read about in the news.

“The news would say that he never laughs. But he was smiling all along.

He said, ‘don’t forget to visit Russia because I have something for you there… I reserved something for you.’

‘Is that true?’ ‘Gun.’ He’s obsessed with guns,” he said of Putin.

Duterte said Putin, like himself, had a passion for hunting big game like moose. “That’s as big as [actually bigger than] a carabao.”

He added that Putin invited him to visit Russia “maybe about four times already.”

“And maybe I will go. Maybe I shall…What’s the right word? ‘Shall’ or ‘will?’ I shall go someday,” Duterte said. “But not on a wintry night. I can’t stand the cold. It’s hard to adjust to the cold,” he added.

What APEC leaders wore through years for that obligatory 'family' photo

  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his fellow leaders sported long, brown shawls draped over their shoulders in 2016. They were made from the coveted wool of the vicuna, a llama-like animal.
  • In this 1994 file photo taken in Bogor, Indonesia, the Apec leaders are togged out in dignified batik shirts. The different prints offer variety as well as a unifying theme.
  • For the family photo in 1997, taken outside the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Canada, the choice was leather bomber jackets. It was uniform, and boring, if weather appropriate.
  • In 2004, host Chile offered leaders colourful reversible ponchos handwoven with silk thread and wool, decorated with traditional motifs like barley, wheat and pansies.
  • The choice was traditional for Korea in 2005, where leaders were offered durumagi, a traditional silk overcoat, in various shares of gold, brown, silver, dark blue and light green. The two women leaders - Philippine President Gloria Arroyo and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark - had the additional options of pink and purple.
  • In Vietnam (2006), the women were stuck in a bright Barbie pink outfit and hat which were not very flattering, to say the least. The men got away with more muted shades of blue, red, yellow and green for their ao dai.
  • The dowdy raincoats for the 2007 Sydney shoot must rank at the bottom of the style stakes. Even the 1997 bomber jackets had a bit of swashbuckle to them.
  • In Singapore in 2009, the Apec leaders were togged out in snazzy Peranakan-inspired outfits thanks to home-grown designer Wykidd Song.
  • In 2014, host China went with the safe choice: Chinese jacket for the men, and cheongsam with long jacket in a matching shade for the women.
  • When it was the Philippines' turn to host the summit in 2015, leaders trooped on stage for the photo-op togged out in a fashionable national garment: the barong tagalog.
  • Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shakes hands with Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski as he arrives at the Lima Convention Centre for the APEC Leaders' Retreat on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima on November 20, 2016.
  • PM Lee Hsien Loong speaks to the Singapore media after the Apec summit in Lima, Peru, on 20 Nov 2016.
  • PM Lee Hsien Loong speaks to the Singapore media after the Apec summit in Lima, Peru, on 20 Nov 2016.
  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe(C) and Argentina's President Mauricio Macri arrive for a press conference at Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires on November 21, 2016.
  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Argentina's President Mauricio Macri (R) shake hands before a meeting at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires on November 21, 2016.
  • China's President Xi Jinping arrives at the Peruvian congress for a ceremony in Lima on November 21, 2016 during an official visit ensueing the APEC Summit
  • Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (R) and China's President Xi Jinping shakes hands at the Lima Convention Centre for the APEC Leaders' Retreat on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima on November 20, 2016.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with his Philippines' counterpart Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) in Lima on November 19, 2016
  • Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (R) shaking hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) in Lima.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama holds a press conference at the conclusion of the APEC Summit in Lima, Peru November 20, 2016.
  • US President Barack Obama speaks at a press conference on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima on November 20, 2016.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama meets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the APEC Summit in Lima, Peru November 20, 2016.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah arrive for a family photo during the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit in Lima, Peru, November 20, 2016.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull meet during the APEC Summit in Lima, Peru November 20, 2016.
  • Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski greets Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, on the final day of the Apec Summit in Lima, Peru, 20 Nov 2016
  • After sparking ridicule several years ago by dressing world leaders in baggy ponchos, Peru toned it down Sunday by getting dignitaries at a major summit to wear shawls made from the fine wool of a mountain-dwelling creature called the vicuna.
  • From Chinese tunics to Philippine pineapple shirts, the APEC group has a decades-old tradition of getting presidents and prime ministers to don traditional garments of the host country for their annual get-together.
  • In Peru, leaders appeared for the traditional "family photo" with long, brown shawls made from the coveted wool of the vicuna - a llama-like animal - draped over their shoulders.
  • The global power players, among them US President Barack Obama, China's Xi Jinping and Japan's Shinzo Abe, looked relaxed, smiling and waving as they lined up in alphabetical order according to their countries.
  • The wool of the vicuna, an animal found in the Andes mountains, is among the rarest natural fibers in the world, making it extremely costly and prized by fashion designers.
  • This year's was a relatively modest APEC fashion parade compared to previous editions, which have sometimes led to awkward moments.
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is attending the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in Lima, Peru.
  • At the summit, leaders of 21 economies are expected to discuss the future of free trade amid rising anti-globalisation sentiments worldwide.
  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be on the agenda as leaders of the pact's 12 signatory countries, including United States President Barack Obama, meet to find a way forward after the US election.
  • The landmark trade deal now hangs in the balance as it can come into force only if it is approved by six countries that account for at least 85 per cent of the group's economic output. This means ratification by the US, given the giant size of its economy, is crucial.
  • PM Lee said that a United States that detaches itself from the world's economy will risk unsettling the global trading system that it has helped nurture and foster over the decades.
  • If the US turns inwards, growth can be pursued in Europe and Asia "but you're missing out on a huge opportunity if America is not part of the story", PM Lee said on Friday.
  • PM Lee said that Singapore will amend legislation to bring the TPP into effect and aims to do so by early next year.
  • PM Lee with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and US president Barack Obama. Mr Lee thanked President Obama for personally leading the TPP.
  • Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg looks at Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski trying a virtual reality headset while visiting the Facebook exhibition booth during the Apec Summit.
  • Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte arrives at a hotel to attend a bilateral meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
  • The APEC summit is being held in Lima, Peru.