President Rodrigo Duterte crooned a hit Filipino love song at a gala dinner for leaders from across Asia, explaining later that it was “on the orders of US President Donald Trump.”
The two leaders were among the 19 heads of state at the glittering gala at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Sunday night, ahead of the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.
At one point, Mr. Duterte took the microphone to sing “Ikaw” (You) with pop diva Pilita Corrales in an unscheduled number.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I sang uninvited a duet with Ms. Pilita Corrales upon the orders of the commander in chief of the United States,” he said, before throwing up his hands letting out a laugh, as seen in a video uploaded on Twitter by Public Works Undersecretary Karen Jimeno.
Trump and the other leaders were seen applauding Mr. Duterte after the song.
The US leader sat to Mr. Duterte’s right during the dinner and they shared a toast at the event. They were also seen chatting.
The two briefly met in Vietnam for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting during the weekend. They held a bilateral meeting in Manila on Monday.
At the glitzy dinner on Sunday, leaders of the 10-member Asean, China, Russia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand and the United States arrived one by one and were entertained by singers and dancers.
Each of the men sported a cream-colored barong Tagalog, the traditional Philippine shirt made of fiber from the pineapple plant, embroidered and worn untucked.
They were served ensaladang ubod at alugbati with tamarind vinaigrette dressing, sinigang na maya-maya sa miso, bistek sushi, grilled apahap fillet and Filipino caramel flan.
Trump also got to try out what had been dubbed the “Asean handshake” at the opening of this year’s summit on Monday.
The handshake is a cross-body exercise, during which each leader extends their right arm over their left and shakes the opposite hands of those next to him.
The announcer’s instructions briefly baffled Trump, who at first simply crossed his hands in front of him.
Then, looking around, he turned to the leaders and simply extended his arms outward, only to find that wasn’t quite right either.
Then he laughed, crossed his arms and reached to the correct sides.
Trump, considerably taller than the two leaders on each side of him, stretched to reach the hand of Mr. Duterte, who was on his left side, and the hand of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who was on his right side.
And then, with an exaggerated smile, he vigorously gripped the leaders’ hands.
At one point, he appeared to grimace as the handshake was going on.
The US president has been known for his lengthy, intense handshakes with world leaders.
He often pulls the other person toward him and pats or yanks in a sign meant to set a tone for the meeting ahead.
At one time, he pulled Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s hand toward him and then held onto it for a long time, prompting an eye roll from Abe as Trump looked away.
At another occasion, Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron engaged in a white-knuckle handshake.
For his part, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau short-circuited Trump’s attempt at dominance, using his left arm to hold onto Trump to prevent being pulled toward him. —With reports from the wires
China to hire Pinoys as helpers, English teachers