Philippine boxing champ Manny Pacquiao (with cap) waves to fans during a parade in Tondo district of Manila on May 11, 2009.

“Manny Pacquiao: The People’s Champ”

Manny Pacquiao after winning against Brandon Rios on Nov. 24, 2013. (Photo Credits: CNN)
Manny Pacquiao after winning against Brandon Rios on Nov. 24, 2013. (Photo Credits: CNN)

Filipinos used to laugh at him whenever he’d speak. Stand-up comedians would mimic his accent which, in turn, produced helpless chortles from the audience.

Nevertheless, he is also the iconic boxer, staunchly supported by hordes of Filipinos as he takes on numerous boxing challenges here and overseas.

Humble Beginnings

Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao, a native of Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines, now 40 years old, was born in a humble home. The fourth of six children, Manny, or “Pac-Man”, as he is fondly called by his fans, was in the sixth grade when his parents separated.

The family did not have enough. Hence, he struggled to help make ends meet by doing odd jobs while simultaneously training for boxing. He became a professional boxer at the young age of 16.

A young Manny Pacquiao. (Photo Credits: Youtube, uploaded by PowerUpBoxing)
A young Manny Pacquiao. (Photo Credits: Youtube, uploaded by PowerUpBoxing)

Making Headlines

The world came to recognize Pacquiao when he became the first ever boxer to win world title belts in eight weight divisions. In his heavily decorated pay-per-view events, he faced other well-known boxers such as Floyd Mayweather, Marco Antonio Barerra, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Oscar de la Hoya.

Manny Pacquiao connects with a right to the head of Oscar De La Hoya. (Photo Credits: Getty Images)
Manny Pacquiao connects with a right to the head of Oscar De La Hoya. (Photo Credits: Getty Images)

Main Event For Everyone

How the world would hold its breath, each time Pacquiao was scheduled to fight. National TV as well as radio and the internet would be peppered with updates long before one of his matches would go live.

All over the Philippines, the rich and poor alike would delay chores in order to spend a few hours in front of the TV. There, they would cheer for Pacquiao as he pummeled his enemies, blow by blow by blow.

Filipino fans watch the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez taking place in Las Vegas at Marikina town on November 13, 2011 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
Filipino fans watch the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez taking place in Las Vegas at Marikina town on November 13, 2011 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)

Zero Traffic, Zero Crime

The usual, heavy traffic in the streets of Manila and other major cities would be replaced by silence as supporters flocked to the nearest watering holes (bars with TV, specifically) in order to watch him.

Those who could pay would get the real-time version while the average fan would simply make do with the delayed, advertisement-wrought variant made available by local media networks for free. Out would come the gin and the brandy–typical mainstays of impromptu Filipino gatherings.

Mind you, the crime rate would practically shoot down because wrongdoers–and the police force–would join the excited masses awaiting Pacquiao’s nerve-wracking duel.

Fans watching the live telecast of the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. on a giant TV in Manila. (Photo Credits: TODAYonline)
Fans watching the live telecast of the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. on a giant TV in Manila. (Photo Credits: TODAYonline)

Even LGUs (Local Government Units) are known to proclaim some time out from work and provide spacious areas (large gymnasiums) to allow more people to witness each match.

Of course, a lot would also heave out their rosaries as they prayed for another victory for the champ. Pacquiao, after all, is widely known in the Philippines as the People’s Champ.

People’s Champ

Indeed, Pacquiao is an inspiration to most. Not only is he admired by his kababayans but also by a lot of foreigners all over the world.

From his modest beginnings to being one of the most sought-after athletes worldwide, his story is another classic proof of Filipino resilience and self-actualization.

Manny Pacquiao, right, and Keith Thurman fight on July 20, 2019 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Manny Pacquiao, right, and Keith Thurman fight on July 20, 2019 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Helping Others

As his success increases tenfold, Pacquiao insists on helping the less fortunate. News reports attest to his willingness to share his hard-earned prosperity as lengthy queues of people would appear outside his home. Holding a thick wad of cash, he would patiently hand over money to each hopeful recipient. He does this, personally, with a benevolent smile gracing his face.

Manny Pacquiao hands cash to Filipino kids on July 2017. Photo Credits: TMZ
Manny Pacquiao hands cash to Filipino kids on July 2017. Photo Credits: TMZ

Politics And Beyond

It’s no wonder, then, that Pacquiao remains one of the most loved Filipino legends of our time. During the 2016 National Elections, he ran for the Senate under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) where he garnered a total of more than 16 million votes. He is currently a senator of the Republic of the Philippines.

Senator Manny Pacquiao. (Photo Credits: Philippine News Agency)
Senator Manny Pacquiao. (Photo Credits: Philippine News Agency)

Pursuing Higher Education

Nowadays, Pacquiao would appear on the news, interviewed by various media outfits. What’s clearly discernible is the fact that he continued to improve himself especially education-wise. Gone is the halting English of old as he articulately discusses whatever is at hand, shattering previous prejudices en masse.

Manny Pacquiao reading the Bible. (Photo Credits: Nairaland.com)
Manny Pacquiao reading the Bible. (Photo Credits: Nairaland.com)

Continued Blessings

Pacquiao is a rare example of the classic rags-to-riches wonder. Despite his overwhelming achievements, he makes it a point to aid his nation in whichever way possible.

A blessing not only in the boxing arena, his earnest desire to be of service to others makes him one of our modern-day heroes. Whether on or off cam, his generosity is but one of his many traits that drives Filipinos to loyally support him in whatever endeavor he attempts.

Manny Pacquiao, center, during a motorcade in Manila after defeating Ricky Hatton in the second round. (Photo Credits: Alanah Torralba/EPA)
Manny Pacquiao, center, during a motorcade in Manila after defeating Ricky Hatton in the second round. (Photo Credits: Alanah Torralba/EPA)
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