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frank stea

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Nations are defined by a community of people who share a common territory and government; and who often share a common language, race, descent, and/or history. Athletes and celebrities very often single-handily define a country the way Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao has done for his.



The Republic of the Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. It has an estimated population of about 92 million people. Within those 92 million residents, there are some athletes such as Paulino Alcantara, Ramon Fernandez, Carlos Loyzaga, and Francisco Guilledo that are idolized and highly recognized for their accomplishments in the country. None of which are remotely comparable to the impact that Manny Pacquaio has inflicted on the world.



Coming from a predominately Italian neighborhood in South Philadelphia, interactions with anyone who was from “The Land of Pacquiao”, were few and far between. At that time, my only knowledge of the country was a 24 year old professional boxer who had just mutilated a Mexican legend by the name of Marco Antonio Barrera on November 15th, 2003. If it wasn’t for the commentators, I wouldn’t have known how to pronounce his last name. That man today is considered by many the best pound for pound and most popular fighter in the world.


In the spring of 2005, I moved out to Las Vegas with my family. Almost instantly, my interactions with someone from the “The Land of Pacquaio” went up a rate of 1000%. One of my closest friends today who is of Filipino/Pacquaioian nationality, have had countless discussions about the Icon from General Santos City. As a matter of fact, the first time him and I spoke to one another, the name Manny Pacquaio dominated our discussion.


Currently, about 4 million Filipino’s reside in the United States. I am proud to say that I have become friends with a small fraction of that 4 million. I’ve been to numerous Filipino parties and gatherings over the past five years (most of them which happen to be Manny Pacquaio fight nights). I had some of the best experiences at those parties for the reason of soaking in their tremendous family values and cultures. In a way, I envy those values compared to where I came from. One thing was for sure, I didn’t feel out of place being the only Italian American in the house of about 100 Filipino’s. The reason for that was I had a good topic of conversation to break the ice with...Manny Pacquaio. The house would erupt for their admiration of their champion. Hearing comments and even getting demonstrations on Manny’s fighting style from a four year boy all the way up to eldest woman in the family. It showed how much he meant to them.


Growing up, I admired American boxers such as Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Larry Holmes . They didn’t define the United States. Mentioning any of those great athletes anywhere, never really had any association of their country except for maybe competing in the Olympics. Each is a mega-star on their own but I’m bold enough to say that Manny Pacquaio may be surpassing their stardom from a global standpoint.


I’ve recently asked a number of Filipino’s what Manny Pacquaio means to them and to the Philippines?


“Manny is our warrior. He is our General. He inspires me to do my best as at what I do for a living. My country is a relatively poorer country in certain areas but makes our people feel rich” said Daniel Munoz, 28, of Fresno, CA.


“Filipinos are prouder and braver people because of what Manny Pacquaio has done. He is the best boxer. Nobody is better” said Rowena Alsay, 20, of Quezon City, Philippines.


“Pacquaio is more powerful and popular than our president. He is the number one Filipino. Many people didn’t know much about Filipino’s before Manny became champion. There will be many more champions from the Philippines now. He is much bigger in our country compared to Ali in America” said Mike Balantakbo, 57, of Manila, Philippines.



“He can beat anybody. Mayweather is a scared b*tch. That just proves he(Manny) is better. Manny put us on the map. Pinoy Pride! said Ryan Reyes, 19, Las Vegas, NV.


“Pacquaio can do it all. He can box, he is a politician, he sings, and acts. He has done so much for our people and country. Not just by winning fights but by what he does for the people. He does so much charity. He has funded many schools and hospitals. He also gave relief to the victims of the typhoons that have hit the Philippines. He is the Pride of the Philippines. All Filipino’s of every age look up to him” said Dr. Maria Tascata


“Manny is the true resemblance of the face of the Philippines. He is for the people. He’s an inspiration not just because of boxing but for the effort he puts fourth for the country. For one, he’s a congressman. It’s a tough job from being a congressman to making the transition and be a boxer at the same time. I’m not living in the Philippines but a lot of my family is. Basically whether you live there or not, when he fights, he fights for the Filipino people.” said Randy Solis, 29, Union City, CA.


“He’s a perfect example of a person who chased his dream. He was a mere cigarette vender who watched fights and sold cigarettes ringside. Somehow he knew he would be a great fighter. He had no education and look how many championships he has now? There is a lot of poor people in my country. He sets an example. If you have the talent, just stick to it and make good with it. Never stop dreaming and someday you can be successful just like him. When he fights he gives 110% and that is what you need to succeed.” said Alejandro Lopez, 42, Cavite, Philippines.


“A true rags to riches story, he went on to show if you want something you keep fighting... And one way or another you'll get there.” said Jeff Buenviaje, 23, Oakland, CA.


“Manny Pacquiao is someone who brings the people from the Philippines an extra holiday to celebrate once a year, maybe even twice a year if we’re lucky. He gives us something to look forward every time he fights” said Niko Barretto, 20, Las Vegas, NV.


The revolution is already in progress. Welcome to “The Land of Pacquaio”.

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