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And so we found him, the creator of Duterte Holding Things on Tumblr. He’s a 31-year-old advertising/marketing professional who’d like to be addressed as @marocharim.

According to @marocharim, there’s no political agenda whatsoever for this Tumblr project. “It’s just all fun, and in places where political discussions are turning rather pedantic and toxic, I think fun is something we need,” he explains matter-of-factly on email.


Many people may think this is not the time to chill but man, it’s the weekend. Surely, you can use some laughs, too?

There’s a long battle up ahead (lol, Monday but also, President Duterte has only been in office for five months) so perhaps it’s best to take a little rest before we resume fighting for what we believe in.

Can you tell us about that instant that sparked the project?
I saw a Tweet that mentioned that Duterte was carrying an invisible handbag of sorts. And when you look closely or let your imagination run wild, it really looks like he’s carrying something! I don’t remember whose Tweet that was but Duterte’s gestures, like his statements during his late-night press conferences, lend all too well to interpretation.

I would post the #DuterteHoldingThings pictures on my Facebook and many of my friends kept sharing them, but my settings don’t really allow sharing [so I opened a Tumblr account].

Do you have an objective to this?
Honestly? I think it’s just Duterte carrying things. There is a blog somewhere about Kim Jong-Un looking at things [Ed: There is also the hilarious Texts from Hilary Clinton on Tumblr] and Duterte in photos is kinda obvious. So the objective was basically just to put things in Duterte’s hand. And quite a few people liked it.

With all the trolling going around, it’s very brave of you to open it to submissions.
At first, I was hesitant because it’s not the first time I found myself in the bad side of Duterte’s most fervent and ardent supporters. But I figured, ‘what the heck, let’s just do this.’ Besides at that point, I was already running out of ideas and there are a lot of people out there who have better skills and crazier imaginations. So I put it out there.

Received anything super unexpected yet?
Almost every submission is! I got a submission from someone who made it look like Duterte was holding a puppy, and another clever one where Duterte was crowning Bato dela Rosa with a hotdog. There’s a bunch of really funny ones in the queue, and I’m sure that a lot more people can think of things that Duterte can hold. Or maybe photographers can take a picture of Duterte that will let the imagination fly.

When we saw your Tumblr, we heaved a sigh of relief. Finally, a peaceful and funny way to deal with current events!
It’s not really intentional, ha ha. I do agree that a lot of the news today can really rile people up, positively or negatively. Some people really despise the president and others would swim across oceans for him. It just shows how much we really care for the country and our future. But Duterte Holding Things isn’t about that. It’s just Duterte holding things. And if you watch him on TV or see his pictures on the paper or online, there seems to be a lot of things he can hold.

So this isn’t a thinly veiled protest either.
No, ha ha. The way I see it, Duterte Holding Things can reflect opinions critical or supportive of the President. He can hold good things, or he can hold bad things. Then again, him holding the most absurd things are the most fun of them all.

Like, if he was holding a giant marshmallow or a loofah, I don’t think there’s anything overtly political about that. It’s just all fun. And in places where political discussions are turning rather pedantic and toxic, I think fun is something we need. I think this is where the president’s human side can emerge, too.

Besides, Duterte looks like a man who can hold a lot of things. And I’d like to enjoin everyone to try looking at it that way, and maybe add their own things for him to hold. (Though I do hope that includes getting a hold of EJK and his foreign policy directions among other things, but that’s another story).

[Photo: Duterte Holding Things | Tumblr]


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