Baguio City—He may be the country’s top official, but President Duterte wasn’t about to give up the folksy comfort of sleeping under his favorite “kulambo” (mosquito net) at the historic presidential Mansion here on Friday night.
The President attended the annual alumni homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy at Fort Del Pilar here on Saturday.
Because of Mr. Duterte’s expressed preference to spend more time in Malacañang and his hometown, Davao City, some government officials did not expect him to set foot inside the 109-year-old official summer residence of the country’s President in this mountain city.
In January, Mr. Duterte gave visiting Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a tour of his two-story house, showing him the kulambo, or the mosquito net he sleeps under on most weekends.
Writing about the tour on his Facebook post, presidential assistant Christopher Go said the President, the son of a former governor, “enjoys the comfort of his own bed, including his old and favorite mosquito net.”
US colonial government
The Mansion was one of the early structures built before 1910 in Baguio, a city designed and constructed by the American colonial government. In 2008, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines declared the property a national historic structure.
The Mansion’s landscaped grounds “had a maze, garden paths, and a wide grazing field for horses” when it was planned and designed by William Cameron Forbes, an American investment banker who became one of its first occupants when he was appointed governor general from 1909 to 1913. The official residence retains its lush gardens.
‘Early, vibrant community’
Forbes employed Japanese gardeners who worked on Topside, his private residence here, and on the Baguio Country Club grounds.
The Filipino and Japanese laborers who helped build the Mansion soon became Baguio’s “early and vibrant community.” Among postwar presidents, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now Pampanga representative, spent the longest time at the Mansion.
Arroyo, who was President from 2001 to 2010, also stayed at the Mansion when her father, Diosdado Macapagal, was President from 1961 to 1965.