WATCH: Duterte courts Southern Leyte birthplace

Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte traces his roots in his city of birth and woos the 261,000 voters in Southern Leyte

Rappler.com

Published: 2:56 PM March 23, 2016

Updated: 2:56 PM March 23, 2016

The campaign trail takes presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte to his birthplace – Maasin City, Southern Leyte. His homecoming is short but sweet, graced by friends, old and new.

Pia Ranada reports.

PIA RANADA, REPORTING: Maasin City in Southern Leyte welcomes back one of its more illustrious sons. Presidential candidate Rody Duterte was born here and spent his childhood playing in these streets. Today he returns to Maasin vying for the highest position in the land.

It’s a special kind of homecoming for Duterte.

He is here not just to trace his roots but to get the support of his fellow Maasinhons.

Bishop Precioso Cantillas shows Duterte his baptismal certificate.

Southern Leyte Governor Roger Mercado expresses his support for Duterte’s candidacy despite being from the Liberal Party of Mar Roxas.

ROGER MERCADO, SOUTHERN LEYTE GOVERNOR: Southern Leyte has always been looking for ways that we can be heard and known throughout the Philippines. Here is a person who claims and who is very proud to claim he was born in Maasin, Southern Leyte. Who are we to say no to him? Mayor, we are proud of you, as a Southern Leyteño and born in Maasin, we are proud of you. And we will pray hard that you will become the president of this country. 

Duterte shares his fondest memory of his birthplace.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I remember we were riding in a cargo truck, nandoon kami sa itaas, and I could still smell the coconut, yung mga copra. It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Dumadaan kami ng mga niyogan. I can still remember the chemistry.

On stage, Duterte captivates an audience of thousands.

The audience includes his old grade school classmates and relatives.

The crowd greets him in advance for his birthday on March 28.

Though Duterte may want to linger in this special city, the time comes for him to wave good-bye. 

The campaign trail calls.

Pia Ranada, Rappler, Maasin City. – Rappler.com