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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.