LOOK: Duterte is most traveled PH president in first year of office

Editor’s Note: Starting June 25, the Inquirer will run on its print, online, and social media platforms a series of stories, reports and commentaries on the socioeconomic impact – positive and negative – that President Duterte has made in his first year in office. The articles will focus on how the former Davao City mayor has coped with the challenges of the presidency in five major areas that Filipinos consider most important in their lives: peace and order, traffic, economy, governance and foreign policy. This evaluation of the administration’s achievements and shortcomings will take into account what Mr. Duterte had promised to do during last year’s presidential campaign, his June 30 inaugural speech and his July 25 State of the Nation Address.

From Davao to Malacañang and to the world.


In just a year, President Duterte, the first president from Mindanao, has made 19 foreign trips and, by Inquirer Research estimation, has chalked over 77,542 miles, making him the most-traveled President in his first year of office.

These visits did not include the stopover in Bangkok, Thailand, on his way to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and in Auckland, New Zealand, from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Lima, Peru, both in November.


Before the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, President Diosdado Macapagal, who made four trips, had the most number of foreign trips by a President in his first year of office.

After Edsa, President Cory Aquino also had four trips; President Fidel Ramos, President Joseph Estrada and President Benigno Aquino III had 8 each; and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had 11.

President Duterte made his debut on the international stage during his September trip to Laos, where he attended the 28th-29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summits, and accepted the country’s chairmanship of the Asean for 2017.

Duterte met with all other Asean leaders and he also held a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who told him: “Mr. President, (you are) quite a famous figure also in Japan and I’m very excited to see you in person.”

In all, in his first year in office, Duterte had the remarkable feat of making seven state visits and attending four summits and leaders forum, where he met more than 20 heads of state and of government.

1. VIENTIANE, LAOS: September 5 to 8, 2016

9 weeks and 3 days total in office
4,992 miles in distance traveled (Davao-Laos-Indonesia-Davao)

ASEAN leaders from left at the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits in Vientiane, Laos, on Sept. 7, 2016; Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, China’s Premier Li Keqiang, Laos’ Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte, Brunei’s Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak. AP PHOTO

In his debut on the international stage, President Duterte attended the 28th-29th Asean Summits and accepted the country’s chairmanship of the Asean for 2017.

The regional bloc meeting also signed and adopted several documents, including the “Asean Declaration on One Asean, One Response: Asean Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region.”


2. JAKARTA, INDONESIA: September 8 to 9, 2016

9 weeks and 6 days total in office

Duterte Travels Indonesia

President Rodrigo Duterte accepts a toast from Indonesian President Joko Widodo during a state banquet at Istana Negara in Jakarta on Sept. 9, 2016. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo signed a joint declaration of cooperation ensuring maritime security in the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas. They also discussed trade of illegal drugs, air and sea connectivity, and measures to enhance people-to-people exchanges between their countries.

The President also brought up the case of convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso, whose execution has been indefinitely postponed.

3. HANOI, VIETNAM: September 28 to 29, 2016

10 weeks total in office
3,279.40 miles in distance traveled (Davao-Vietnam-Davao)

Duterte Travels Vietnam

President Duterte meets the Filipino community at Intercontinental Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang agreed to increase the exchanges between officials and peoples, establish a six-year action plan starting 2017, increase volume of trade and strengthen the existing maritime cooperation mechanisms.

4. BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, BRUNEI: October 16 to 18, 2016

15 weeks and 2 days total in office
5,497.50 miles in distance traveled (Davao-Brunei-China-Davao)

Duterte Travels Brunei

President Duterte meets with Brunei Darussalam Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’zzaddin Waddaulah before the State Banquet at the Istana Nurul Iman on Oct. 17, 2016. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah discussed various issues including the fight against transnational crime and the war against illegal drugs. They also had talks on cooperation in the energy sector and the development of halal products.

5. BEIJING, CHINA: October 18 to 21, 2016

16 weeks total in office

Duterte Travels China

President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands prior to their bilateral meetings at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 20, 2016. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte talked with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who during their meeting, said that China and the Philippines were brothers and that the two sides could “appropriately handle disputes.” The trip bagged investment and credit line pledges amounting to $24 billion. Duterte announced a “separation from the United States.”

6. TOKYO, JAPAN: October 25 to 27, 2016

16 weeks and 4 days total in office
4,003.40 miles in distance traveled (Manila-Japan-Davao)

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shares a light moment with Mr. Duterte on Oct. 26, 2016. AFP

President Duterte, in his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said he would seek a peaceful resolution South China Sea dispute in accordance with international law. The Philippines received offers of investments and loans totaling $19 billion.

7. PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA: November 9 to 10, 2016

19 weeks total in office
3,784 miles in distance traveled (Manila-Thailand-Malaysia-Davao)

Duterte Travels Malaysia

President Rodrigo Duterte is welcomed by Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Sri Haji Mohammad Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak at the Prime Minister’s Office in Perdana Square, Putrajaya, Malaysia, on Nov. 10, 2016. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak talked about revitalizing economic cooperation, such as pushing forward the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area cooperation efforts. They also discussed transnational crimes most especially in areas surrounding the Sulu Sea.

Before he headed for Malaysia, President Duterte stopped briefly in Bangkok, Thailand, on November 9 to condole with the Thais on the death of King Bhumibol the Great.

8. LIMA, PERU: November 19 to 20, 2016

20 weeks and 1 day total in office
21,807.40 miles in distance traveled (Davao-Peru-Davao)

Duterte Travels Peru

President Rodrigo Duterte is welcomed by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski upon his arrival at the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Lima, Peru, on Nov. 19, 2016. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte attended the Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting. He only met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Duterte missed the gala dinner for Apec leaders and the traditional photo session, sending a message to the Peruvian hosts that he was sick.

9. PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: December 13 to 14, 2016

23 weeks and 4 days total in office
3,393.50 miles in distance traveled (Manila-Cambodia-Singapore-Davao)

Duterte Travels Cambodia

President Rodrigo Duterte and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen take a selfie before the start of the State Banquet at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on December 14, 2016. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte discussed with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ways to work together to deal with illegal drugs and crime, and also tackled defense cooperation. The Philippines and Cambodia signed agreements on transnational crime, sports cooperation, tourism and labor cooperation.

10. SINGAPORE: December 15 to 16, 2016

23 weeks and 6 days total in office

Duterte Travels Singapore

President Duterte and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong share a light moment during their meeting at the Istana in Singapore on Dec. 15, 2016. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long discussed ways on how to boost economic cooperation between the Philippines and Singapore.

11. NAY PYI TAW, MYANMAR (BURMA): March 19 to 20, 2017

37 weeks and 2 days total in office
4,031.30 miles in distance traveled (Davao-Myanmar-Thailand-Manila)

Duterte Travels Myanmar

President Rodrigo Duterte hands a check worth $300,000 to Myanmar Minister for Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi following a bilateral meeting in the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on March 20, 2017. The President’s grant is intended to aid the humanitarian efforts in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

On his first state visit for 2017, President Duterte and Burmese President Htin Kyaw witnessed signing of memorandum of understanding on food security and agricultural cooperation. The Philippines made a $300,000 donation for humanitarian efforts in Rakhine State.

12. BANGKOK, THAILAND: March 20 to 22, 2017

37 weeks and 3 days total in office

duterte prayut birthday

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Thailand Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-chan hold a toast during the state dinner at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand on March 21, 2017. RICHARD MADELO/Presidential Photo

President Duterte and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed to strengthen defense and security ties to stop the narcotics trade, terrorism and other cross-border crimes in the region. They witnessed the signing of the agreements in the fields of science and technology, tourism and agriculture.

13. RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA: April 10 to 12, 2017

40 weeks and 3 days total in office
10,230.90 miles in distance traveled (Davao-Saudi Arabia-Bahrain-Qatar-Manila)

Duterte Travels Saudi Arabia

President Rodrigo Duterte is given a tour by King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of Two Holy Mosques, at His Majesty’s private residence in Rawdhat Khuraim on April 11, 2017. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met and discussed possible intelligence sharing and the return of overseas Filipino workers.

14. MANAMA, BAHRAIN: April 12 to 14, 2017

40 weeks and 5 days total in office

Duterte Travels Bahrain

President Rodrigo Duterte and His Royal Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa in a conversation prior to the signing of agreements between the Philippines and Bahrain at the Sakhir Palace in Bahrain on April 13, 2017. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte met King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and they witnessed the signing of agreements related to air service, taxation and training and information-sharing of diplomats from both countries.

15. DOHA, QATAR: April 14 to 16, 2017

41 weeks total in office

Rodrigo Duterte Qatar

President Duterte is accompanied by Minister of Energy and Industry Mohammed Bin Saleh-Al Sada and Airport Chief of Protocol Abdullah Bin Ali Alsaleti before boarding Philippine Airlines Flight PR001 at Hamad International Airport to end his three-day state visit in Qatar on April 16, 2017. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

President Duterte and Qatar Emir Al Thani witnessed the signing of agreements aimed at improving collaboration in areas of health, culture and technical vocational education and training.

16. PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: May 10 to 12, 2017

44 weeks and 5 days total in office
5,286.40 miles in distance traveled (Manila-Cambodia-Hong Kong-China-Davao)

Duterte Travels Cambodia 2

In his speech during the plenary session, President Duterte, the chair of the ASEAN this year, points out the different goals that the regional organization aims to accomplish for the next 50 years, which include the promotion of ‘Inclusive, Innovation-led Growth’; extensive support for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs); the pursuance of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025; and investment on human capital and youth empowerment. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

As Asean chair, President Duterte participated in World Economic Forum (WEF) on Asean 2017. He also launched on the international stage his administration’s infrastructure program dubbed “Build, Build, Build.” This trip also marks the second time the President visited Cambodia.

17. HONG KONG: May 12 to 14, 2017

45 weeks total in office

Duterte Travels Hong Kong

The President’s common-law-wife Honeylet and daughter Veronica tour Cambodia’s tourist sights, including the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum and the Royal Palace. They also accompanied the President in Hong Kong. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

Right after attending WEF, President Duterte flew to Hong Kong to meet hundreds of Filipinos working in the country, an opportunity for him to personally hear their concerns and ensure that their rights and welfare are protected and promoted.

18. BEIJING, CHINA: May 14 to 15, 2017

45 weeks and 1 day total in office

Duterte Travels China 2

President Rodrigo Duterte is accompanied by his partner Honeylet Avanceña as they pose for a photo with People’s Republic of China President Xi Jin Ping prior to the start of the welcome dinner of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 14, 2017. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

On his second visit to China, President Duterte attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. He also reiterated that the Philippines would seek a peaceful resolution of its territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

19. RUSSIAN FEDERATION: May 22 to 23, 2017

46 weeks and 3 days total in office
10,894.50 miles in distance traveled (Davao-Russia-Manila)

Duterte Travels Russia

President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with President Vladimir Putin during their brief meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on May 23, 2017. President Duterte opted to skip his scheduled engagements and cut short his five-day official visit to the Russian Federation in order to attend to some pressing matters in the Philippines. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

In a hastily arranged meeting with Putin, President Duterte again asked the Russian leader to visit the Philippines. He also asked Putin if Russia could provide a soft loan payable in so many years because he is from poor country, to which Putin responded, “Where’s your list?” President Duterte’s trip was also cut short due to the ongoing crisis in Marawi City.

20. BANGKOK, THAILAND: Nov. 9, 2016

Stopover before Putrajaya, Malaysia

President Duterte, on his way to Malaysia, paid his last respects to the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

21. AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: Nov. 22, 2016

Stopover after Lima, Peru

President Duterte paid a courtesy call to New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully.

Compiled by Minerva Generalao, Bea Ponce, Rafael Antonio, Ana Roa, Marielle Medina and Kathleen de Villa, Inquirer Research; and Sara Isabelle Pacia, Inquirer NewsLab/rga

Source: INQUIRER Archives, Official Gazette and RTVM

Duterte Year 1

Explore on our special anniversary site the Inquirer series of multiplatform reports and commentaries on the gains and challenges during President Duterte's first year in office. Daily content begins June 25 till July 24.

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