Of all prominent figures we read about today, Manny Pacquiao’s story embodies the Filipino dream the best.
The road to greatness was never paved smoothly for this man. His rags-to-riches life story is truly remarkable and unique–a testament to how one can persevere in spite of adversity.
Pacquiao’s story defies the typical heartbreak endings we hear of forgotten athletes and former boxers, whose glories and fortunes have been wiped dry in their old age.
Whether or not you’re a boxing aficionado, the Pacquiao pheno-menon is an inescapable part of these times. For indeed, in a sport where bravado and haughtiness have always been the norm, Pacquiao is the contradiction.
In pre-fight conferences, you would often wonder at how Manny manages to keep his composure among boxers who brag about power, popularity and brawns. Trying to rile his feathers, Manny’s opponents would seemingly get more annoyed at him for wearing a smile. But, it is his inherent good-natured-ness, among other traits that endears this man to people not just in the Philippines but around the world.
Manny Pacquiao today is the symbol of the elusive dream for the man on the street. They revel in his victories as a vindication of poverty and as proof of the Filipino spirit.
For the man on the street, Pacquiao is as lucky as lucky gets. Despite his poverty, he has undoubtedly been blessed with rare talent, intelligence, opportunity and good fortune. And it has been the astute way he has used discipline that has led him to the successful life he now relishes.
In fact, taking the time to pursue a college education was an unexpected move on the man. And hopefully, he will make smart and incisive decisions about his future options in public or private life in the long run.
The one thing Manny also never seems to run out of is an uncanny sense of humor. In a recent interview, Dr. Phil asked why he still chooses to fight, to which he replied tongue-in-cheek, so he could win millions and millions and millions of dollars. This just shows how the champ can poke fun at himself even with celebrities.
Yet, what also endears Manny to many of his fans is his life outside the ring is one that portrays the boxer as a thriving family man. For sure, his children will have a life so vastly different from that of their father’s childhood. This is after all the Filipino dream, that one’s children will have a far better life than theirs.
Just as millions of Filipino overseas workers aspire for, Manny shows them all that hard work pays off if you see your children attending the best schools, traveling, and living in Beverly Hills.
But, frankly it must be Manny Pacquiao as a son that best completes the picture of him as a family man. He is the typical loving Filipino son who seems to in-dulge his mother’s wishes, whether it’s keeping her whim for ballroom dancing, buying her the most expensive branded bags, or letting her cast odd chants with hand gestures on his opponents in the ring. Like a kindhearted son, he forgivingly smiles and shrugs off these frivolities when asked about them.
Then too, Manny manifests religious faith and wears it like a badge. Whether in victory or defeat, he proudly prays at every fight, wearing faith like a tattoo for everyone to see.
For all these reasons, Manny Pacquiao is a persona so many admire. Fortunately, he has shown the world the self-effacing and good-natured side of Filipinos.
As the entire country awaits the big fight on Sunday, millions of Filipinos keep their fingers crossed for a victory. And come what may, this is one event that will again inspire and unite people behind one man.