A musical tribute for Manny Pacquiao

A Filipino hero amidst turbulent times, that’s Manny Pacquiao now the reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior featherweight world champion after defeating Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera in a championship fight in San Antonio, Texas last Nov. 16. For his win, the whole country is understandably in a euphoric mood these days for he has brought honor, pride and prestige to his country. His becoming the undisputed champion in the IBF junior featherweight division is the so far the greatest and most positive news about the Philippines in the eyes of the world.

Pacquiao came home to a hero’s welcome last Saturday and last Monday, he paid a courtesy call on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Malacañang. GMA gifted him with R1-million cash reward. Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, on the other hand, gave Pacquiao a house-and-lot at the Residencias de Manila in Pandacan. This is worth more than a million pesos.

Pacquiao was also paraded around Makati, Pasay and Manila and people showed up in the streets to root for him. To add to the merriment, Mayor Atienza and Solar Sports headed by William and Wilson Tieng, tendered a victory party complete with entertainment at the Plaza Raha Sulayman along Roxas Blvd. last Monday night for the unassuming champ.

And only for Pacquiao, the two rival networks, ABS-CBN and GMA 7 let their talents be part of the entertainment program, which was ably hosted by Willie Revillame and Pia Guanio. Stand-up comedian Rey Kilay initially emceed the show before the program proper started.

The G-Girls of “MTB” set the mood of the evening, followed by the Sex Bomb Dancers later in the night. The Salbakuta and Masculados (of Universal Records) followed. Then Geneva Cruz took centerstage in her sexy performance of “Annie Batungbakal” and “Manila.” Another performer who had the crowd wildly cheering was Andrew E who of course can’t do without a cap-throwing act.

Willie Revillame also did a number, a naughty song included in his album, with the G-Girls as back-up dancers.

The well-loved Parokya ni Edgar (of “Mr. Suave” fame) group, another Universal Records artist, provided the finale.

Interspersed with the musical and dance numbers was a video showing top celebrities, adoring fans all of Pacquiao, with their messages of love and pride. Among them were Sharon Cuneta, Cesar Montano, Joey de Leon, Vic Sotto, Dina Bonnevie, Jolina Magdangal, Dodot and Mikee Jaworski among others. Also in the video was Rod Nazario, Pacquiao’s manager who advised the champ to be prudent with his money (not to spend more than he earns), to be humble and not to put success in his head; and his beauteous wife Jinky, a beauty consultant, who talked lovingly about Manny as a husband and father.

Incidentally, Manny was born in General Santos City but it was in Manila where he showed interest in boxing. It was said that he was spotted by Mayor Atienza at a gym in Sampaloc. Mayor Atienza made Pacquiao “Adopted son of Manila” in 2000. Pacquiao was initially a tricycle driver.

The 24-year-old boxing champ expressed gratitude for the prayers and adoration of his fellowmen. His wish, he said, is for the country to have unity and peace.

26/11/2003

Bron : Manila Bulletin Online

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