The name is Emmanuel. To the boxing world, he is Pacman. To his adoring fans, he is Our Manny. To the boxing pundits, analysts, enthusiasts, commentators, not excluding politician-hangers on, he is Pacquiao. To the millions of starving Filipinos, hungry for heroes, who feed on political bickering breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks in between, he is the Pambansang Kamao (National Fist).

The PK is the Filipino’s national pride, the Filipino boxing jewel. He has done the country proud. A jewel indeed to be treasured and flaunted. He is of humble beginnings. From his home in General Santos City, somewhere south of the Philippines, the Boy PK earned his and his family’s keep even at a tender, young age. PK sold donuts in town and brought home coconuts which he in turn sold to neighbors. PK’s story has the stuff that John Gokongwei’s, Henry Sy’s and Lucio Tan’s million bucks success stories are made of. There’s a difference, however, a huge difference. The Filipino-Chinese Taipans’ idea of a punch is limited to the beverage.

The PK discovered by recruiters for amateur boxing. This led to his now legendary career and stellar status in boxing. When he loses in a fight, the Filipino nation is not convinced. An icon is not supposed to lose. There may have been some human errors in the judges’ scoring, anything but, certainly not in anyway due to the PK’s human limitations, slight imperfections. When the PK was badly bruised in a fight and still made it to the 12th round standing, during his first encounter with El Terrible, the nation was still euphoric and welcomed him home like they would welcome him in victory. The idol is never fallen in the eyes of his countrymen.

He is a son, brother, husband, father, friend, Mr. Everyman, and PK. He is as human as any one and as Filipino as every Filipino born and bred. During his fights, his wife would always be at the ringside and his mother would always be kneeling in front of their home’s altar holding on to her rosary beads. His two young boys would watch their father’s fight on satellite TV, but no other fan is as privileged as these two who get to sleep, sip and dine with the PK. He is the home grown boy who made good, he is fantastic media copy, a much sought after product endorser, whose material blessings he shares through his charities.

It has been a long time since the traffic-heavy streets of Manila was for once empty when people chose to stay home to watch a delayed boxing telecast and longer still since the time when Filipinos were swept in a united adulation, all because of Manny Pacquiao, the People’s Champion

Bienvenido David is an active contributor of the free Music Guide. He is also an online retailer of Magic Sing [] karaoke microphones and Magazine Subscriptions [].

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