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I know a man - Manny Pacquiao; He’s a Filipino

Way back 2006, I would not forget that day, Pacquiao knocked down Erik Morales twice and defeated the latter via TKO in the tenth round of that heated boxing match. I am with my friends in our rented apartment, which is near the company I used to work, watching the brawl in both excitement and suspense. That was yet another history made, taking his revenge to a Mexican boxer who once stole the glory from a Filipino champion. Like any other Filipino, I shouted, cheered, and celebrated that very moment of winning. The afternoon news is all about that big story of Manny Pacquiao - hailed as the People’s Champ. That was the year I started to get more fascinated about Pacquiao.



“All those who are around me are the bridge to my success, so they are all important.” – Manny Pacquiao


The Pambansang Kamao
Manny Pacquiao is dubbed as the “Pambansang Kamao” (National Fist). I am not going to tell his story as a boxer as that story has been there online for quite some time. What I want to share in this post is what has been Manny’s greatest influence to the Filipino people over the past years, and why it matters big.

As they describe it, “tumigil ang mundo ng mga Pilipino” (the Filipino world stopped spinning). Almost everybody’s eyes is on Manny. The city streets of Manila and nearby places are nearly empty. In gymnasiums, theaters, living rooms, restaurant, canteens, and almost anywhere where there is TV or projector setup are where people are gathered in crowd, focused on witnessing their champ exchanging punches with Morales. Young, old, man, woman, PWD, senior citizen, students, office workers, drivers, everybody; they want to see Pacquiao hitting his opponent and claiming the championship belt. That victory celebration is truly one of a kind. It’s a joy in the heart of millions, felt across a nation of islands and islets.


When your idol is winning and you felt the adrenaline boost, imagine the whole nation in that situation. Oh my goodness!

That victory against Morales was just one of the biggest story that literally shook the Philippines nation, and more likely, the whole world. It was only the start of many more celebrations, triumph, and glorious days of Philippine boxing. People of the Philippines are proud of Manny, and deep inside of them, their so proud of being a Filipino.



As of this writing, Manny once again regained the championship belt in his latest fight with the Argentine Lucas Matthysse for the World Boxing Association (WBA) regular welterweight division. Like the typical Filipinos, my world stopped spinning for a while, again. My eyes are on the boxing fight aired on local TV channel GMA 7. My enthusiasm in 2006, I would say, have diminished a bit maybe because of those losing streaks Manny have had. But my cheers for Pacquiao, as a Filipino hero in his own, is still the same. I’m still a big fan of the now senator, a basketball player, a singer, an actor and a promoter of sports in the country. Hooray for the victory of the Philippine nation! This event is what inspired me to say to myself: It’s about time to write something great about Manny Pacquiao.


“Pacquiao Phenomenon”
Locally, whenever Manny is in the boxing ring for a fist fight, police authorities are claiming that the crime rate is getting low, even zero in some cities known for crimes and violence. This is not impossible, or should I say not at all a false claim. Local news even prove the same, as they reports nearly zero incidence of crimes on the streets and villages. Well, that time of the day when majority of the Filipino people are on TV screens inside their homes, on bars, and gymnasiums, the streets of the Philippines is indeed a calm peaceful place. I saw it, I experienced it. Obviously, traffic is way low in EDSA. I could prove that jeepney, bus, taxi, and tricycle drivers are not on their wheels, but on TV screens. This “Pacquiao Phenomenon” is literally changing the way of life of the people in the Philippines, at least for a few hours of the day. And it is fun to see people losing their minds out of joy, screaming and shouting for their boxing idol. It’s the noisiest crowd ever!





A Believer of God
Interestingly, what Manny shows inside and outside the ring is something we Filipinos are proud of in certain ways. Do you notice Manny kneeling down on the ring corner uttering a short prayer before his every fight? This is not something unique or overreacting, but this gesture is something that portrays Filipino culture. We are a Christian nation and we used to pray to the Almighty whenever we engage in battles, competitions, or when we face life challenges. We believe in God and so is Manny. Manny’s religious routine is also visible when he conducts Bible sessions or worship sessions before and after the fight, win or lose.



From his own words:


“I want to let people know that there is God who can raise someone from nothing into something. And that’s me. I came from nothing into something and I owe everything to God. He gave me this blessing. It’s all credit to the Lord.”


A Political Leader, a Promoter of True Sports
As a senator, Manny is a good statesman. I am not inclined to following his deeds as a political personality in the country, but it is fair enough to say that Manny is a man of action. As one best example to prove that, he is the founder of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), a promising league for the not-so-popular basketball players all over the country. You may not know it yet, but Philippines is a “hoop nation”. I can guarantee you that you can see a basketball court (concrete or dusty) on every barangay, town or city in the country. We have the Gilas Pilipinas team fighting for the ball, no matter what it takes.

Photo courtesy of Google Search results. Not intended for commercial purpose. Keyword: senator manny pacquiao

In a way, this is Manny, and his political will, understanding the needs or hunger of Filipino athletes to step-up their skills and at the same time earn a decent living. Manny, by the way, was a former congressman or member of the house of representatives. He represented the people of Sarangani province in Mindanao, Philippines. If we would imagine, a Filipino boxer turning into politics straight to the national level is something beyond the ordinary. To serve the people more than he inspires them in the ring, this is what Manny had just proved and keep on proving.


Boxing as a Means to Survive
Needless to say, Manny is from a poor family. Out of extreme poverty, he chose boxing as an outlet to rise up and survive the tough times. Millions of Filipinos are like Manny. Denied of education, stolen of liberty to play as a child, and separated from the family at an early age - these are what characterized Manny’s early life. You may wonder, there are countless names in the Filipino boxing arena today (in fact even before) that are conquering the international stage. That hunger for fame and prizes is because of the hardships Filipino youths are facing during their childhood years. Grass-roots of boxing can be seen on town fiestas where amateur competition is held. As young as ten, Filipino youth stood up to be punched and throw punches out. Borrowing a pair of boxing gloves, hitting a one-two combination, and slowly putting their names on the contender’s list in an amateur title fight, that’s how a Filipino teenager develops his boxing career. Probably, there is a hundred to a thousand Manny-like boxers in the Philippines over the last few decades, from the life-story perspective. It’s an escape plan. That’s what boxing is in the Philippine archipelago.



This is not about being bias. But I’ve seen and felt myself how physically strong Filipinos are, especially those coming from Visayas and Mindanao areas. I was ten years old then, my uncle decided to create a fun out of this mini-boxing match between me and a friend from Romblon. I did not last even for a minute. I got hit in the face and all I can remember is that I was crying. Strong muscles, never-say-die mentality at work, I’ve seen them on seaports, rice mills, and construction sites lifting things twice or thrice heavier than them. We have a saying here “Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda” (only the carabaos get older). It means that Filipinos will always stay strong no matter how old they are, because we need to live and survive the challenging reality of being a Filipino. For the Filipino boxes, this saying holds really true.


Manny’s Love of Country
Manny, like many of us, faced defeats, knockouts, controversies, failures, personal and family issues, and frustrations in his career. Manny is a human and his struggles and mistakes simply are part of the normal flow of life. But Manny is a symbol of patience and courage. He’s living a mission he wants to accomplish. Let me share to you this inspirational talk from Manny himself.

This is not about my comeback. My victory is a symbol of my people’s comeback from a natural disaster and a national tragedy.”

Manny loves his country. I can attest to that. It is true that Manny is winning millions from his fights, but Manny is also there to share some. While I cannot fully confirm the exact details, it was mentioned in the news that Pacquiao donated funding for about 1,500 new homes and fleet of new boats for low-income constituents in his province of Sarangani and nearby provinces of Mindanao. While we cannot dig out as much information about Manny’s philanthropic acts, as it could be his preference to remain quiet if its about his kind deeds, what is sure is that he’s pouring money to the Philippine economy and that in a way is helping the Filipinos. Like an OFW who’s keen in remitting money to their families, Manny is equally the same. He’s also creating opportunities to many by creating jobs and businesses.



The positive impacts that a champion Filipino boxer could bring to a nation of un-wealthy citizens is big. Perhaps, imagine the contributions of other Filipino icons like Efren “Bata” Reyes (billiard champion), Hidilyn Diaz (Olympic Silver medalist in weightlifting), Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (Miss Universe 2015), Willie Revillame (entertainment host), Philippines’ current president Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and who would forget, Jose Rizal (our national hero). They did their part of at least introducing the Filipino to the world, that we are existing and we have the talents and skills to share. If not in sports, entertainment, or politics, the presence of Filipino workers, known as Overseas Filipino Workers, in almost all countries around the world is a living proof of our nationalism. We work for our family, our country.


An Inspiration
We mainly excel in the professional-level of competitions, where there is an obvious money to claim. That is my observation. For we want that source of income first next to fame, we take pride to compete and be out there overseas. We are not afraid to lose, to be away from home, for we know there is a rewarding prize ahead. Manny Pacquiao is truly an inspiration, an epitome of the Filipino people. He’s a sign that we will be there, a Philippine nation that is united, progressive, and not poor ever again.



“I’m doing this for my family and my country.” – Manny Pacquiao

I know Manny Pacquiao as a Filipino boxer with a big heart. Thank you Manny for becoming a Filipino, the same race where I belong. Congratulations!


Note: Photos courtesy of GMA 7.


About this Blog Site
Project Pilipinas is a blog campaign for a change, a positive change for the Philippines. It aims to promote unity, progress, peace and education among the Filipino people. Each blog post is presented in a balanced way, citing both the negative and positive aspects, and offer solutions or recommendations in the end. This site is created not to induce harm, violence, hatred, oppression, or any act that violates anyone's right. Please feel to comment should you have any reaction to this post. Thanks for reading this blog. Knowriel.com is the group supporting ProjectPilipinas.com's cause.

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