May 1, 2009

PFP:

Manny Pacquiao: face of a nation (Ron Borges, May 02. 2009, The National)

Manny Pacquiao has never forgotten from whence he came, because he really never left. The proof of that stands in front of the gates of his sprawling estate in General Santos City, only a few miles away from the broken street corners of Bukidnon where he once bought doughnuts for five pennies a piece and sold them for 10.

As a fleet of expensive cars and 4x4s pass in and out, staring at them as they pass with hard eyes are several bodyguards armed with semi-automatic weapons slung over their shoulders. They are men hired to protect the most popular face in the Philippines.

Pacquiao is a national treasure and the country’s greatest sportsman. He is a man beloved by the masses. He is also a target who lives in a place where poverty and gun play have long been staples of life. It is a hard life he has refused to move too far away from even now, at the height of his powers, but never more than a few miles or a few thoughts from where his life began.

“I never change in my life, even now that I have money and fame,’’ Pacquiao says of his decision to never forget his past or the people who came up the same hard way he did but lacked the blessings and the skills that have made him the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world. [...]

To boxing fans, Pacquiao is the personification of all they admire – resolute, powerful, fit and fearfully fast with both hands and mind – but to Filipinos he is much more. He is the embodiment of a dream, one only a few of them will ever live out but one they can hold in their minds whenever he triumphs. His victories, somehow, are theirs and for that he has been amply rewarded and heavily burdened.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 1, 2009 10:02 PM
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