Light moments: ASEAN Summit 2017 Edition

By , on November 14, 2017


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the rest of the leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and dialogue partners do the traditional ASEAN handshake as they pose for a photo during the opening of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City on November 13, 2017. The dialogue partners include New Zealand, Timor-Leste, Republic of Korea, USA, Australia, India, China, and Japan. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the rest of the leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and dialogue partners do the traditional ASEAN handshake as they pose for a photo during the opening of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City on November 13, 2017. The dialogue partners include New Zealand, Timor-Leste, Republic of Korea, USA, Australia, India, China, and Japan. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit 2017 – a semi-annual gathering of world leaders in the Southeast Asia region, a prestigious event that aims to tackle cultural and economic issues. With the Philippines as chair and all the important political figures visiting the country, all formalities are expected – except that was not exactly the case.

As much as the ASEAN Summit presents itself as a formal and important gathering (which it really is), it is still amusing to see light-hearted scenes unfold during the leaders’ stay in the country this November 12-14, which reminds the people that government officials are not always those stiff political figures.

 

Duterte Duet

An unexpected turn happened during the gala dinner when a much lower voice entwined with Pilita Corrales’ as she sang “Ikaw (You).”

The veteran singer was on stage letting her voice blend with the melody, when President Rodrigo Duterte decided to join.

Surprised but amused, Corrales continued the number, momentarily asking where the voice was coming from. She gave some of the notes and lyrics to Duterte as the President was standing and singing.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I sang uninvited, a duet with Ms. Pilita Corrales upon the orders of the commander-in-chief of the United States,” Duterte immediately said after the song finished, earning laughter from the audience.

United States (US) President Donald Trump was seen laughing as well.

 

#APEChottie returns

Dubbed as an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) hottie with Mexican President Enrique Nieto, Canadian Prime Minister (PM) Justin Trudeau is back on catching the hearts of women.

Not only did he get an out-of-schedule order of a Pinoy favorite – Chickenjoy – but he also visited Likhaan – a center for women advocacy.

(Read: Trudeau visits Jollibee in Manila)

In an article by Rappler, the PM who is a known women’s rights advocate was also seen planting kisses on female entrepreneurs on Monday, during the Gender-Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women (GREAT Women) Project.

One was even kiddingly assuring that the cameras were ready to capture the moment. Trudeau kissed the entrepreneurs on the cheek as he welcomed them for a short hug.

A male fashion designer who was at the event, also received a kiss when Trudeau said, “You get a kiss too,” which got the crowd cheering and laughing.

 

Handshake chain

“And now for the ASEAN handshake… Right over left. In one, two, and three.” The ASEAN Summit attendees facing the audience with a smile, Trump was however seen in milliseconds of awkwardness as he broke the handshake chain in two.

The American President was caught reaching out to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc without crossing his arms, which got him momentarily confused, failing to grab Duterte’s. Realizing his mistake, he immediately got back on track and presented a big smile.

There was a bit of a struggle in the case of Trump as he adjusted to the relatively shorter leaders.

However, Trump was not alone in this, as Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also failed to cross his arms, except that he did not really disconnect the chain.

 

Caught on camera

On the subject of photos, these speak a thousand words they say. And photos of President Duterte smiling and laughing with his co-leaders do not need subtitles or dialogue as proof of the light air surrounding them.

Duterte was caught by his Presidential photographers through their cameras, exchanging chuckles with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Trump, who was most of the time by Duterte’s side was also seen chatting with the latter’s partner, Honeylet Avancena.

Presidential Secretary Martin Andanar had his own fair share. “Meeting him (Trump) in person, you can see that he really loves the Philippines. President Trump was game and allowed us to take selfies with him before the Gala dinner. He really took the time to talk to us,” he said.

Abe was also tweeting a photo of him, Trump, and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, sharing big smiles.

 

With the emergence of smartphones, turning on your front camera, getting the perfect angle with the proper shoulder-arm-hand coordination, and practicing the smile are skills to master. Even the perfect hashtags and captions are well-thought before pressing the share button. These world leaders are no exception as Turnbull actually showcased this through a tweet.

 

This was however during the APEC Summit in Vietnam just a few days ago.

Will more leaders actually take selfies and groufies the millennial way? Let the waiting game begin. After all ASEAN Summit is not yet over.