Are Filipinos Relying Too Much on Pacquiao for Glory?

New America Media, Commentary, Rene P. Ciria-Cruz Posted: Nov 20, 2009


Seeing how Filipinos raved about Manny Pacquiao as a symbol of what, in the words of many a fan, “Filipinos are capable of achieving,” a friend asked me, “Aren’t Filipinos relying too much on Pacquiao to build their national self-esteem? That’s too much of a burden for one man to bear.”

My friend is right; it’s too much. After all, Pacquiao is only a welterweight. My friend also can’t be blamed for getting the impression that Filipinos just seem to go crazy for their “Gloved One.”

Pacquiao’s every victory in the ring becomes a virtual national holiday in his homeland. “The National Fist,” we call him. Even Muslim secessionist guerrillas, who bristle at being called Filipinos, reportedly take a break from combat to watch his fights on satellite TV. Then, after Pacquiao TKO’d Miguel Cotto last Saturday to gain the welterweight crown, his compatriot horde in the arena just went wild. One Filipino fan even held a Philippine flag with the message “Pacquiao for President.”

But it must be said right here and now, to my friend and to anyone tsk-tsk-ing at our over-the-top adoration of the champ, we Filipinos haven’t lost sight of our priorities. Folks must be reminded that when Pacquiao, after a string of ring victories, ran for a congressional seat in the Philippines on May 14, 2007, he lost by a considerable margin to his little-known opponent. So my people know there are limits. But sometimes we forget and, like that fan who took it upon himself to nominate Pacquiao for president, we also sometimes get ahead of ourselves.

Yet there are compelling social and political reasons why Pacquiao is God to us right now. In a country where most of the people are impoverished, he’s the Filipino Everyman made good; Pacquiao was so poor he once had to sell cigarettes by the stick (ciggy smalls, it’s called here) to make a living. Now he’s one of the richest men in the Philippines and an international celebrity to boot--from rags to riches and fame, all through his own honest effort.

In a country where many of the rich and powerful got to their perch by lording over the powerless, or through corruption, inheritance or a combination thereof, who wouldn’t look up to the guy who made it to the top on sheer will power? The man deserves to be hailed as a model of perseverance.

Yes, give us Filipinos a break if we seem to go overboard with our hero worship of “Pacman” (we call his mother “Pacmom”). We’ve seen our country go from being the most economically promising among its Southeast Asian neighbors after World War II to being a perpetual economic basket case, thanks to a ruinously corrupt politico-economic elite. We’ve got Imelda Marcos’ shoes to live down, and no visible Cory Aquinos in the offing to at least break the mold. Every natural disaster gives the world a window into our people’s destitution. Millions of our compatriots have had to leave the homeland to work abroad. Their remittances have become a much-relied-upon source of national revenue, so much so that the government would probably collapse if they stopped sending money home all at once.

Without a Japanese, South Korean or Singaporean-style economic miracle to show for, we Filipinos have had to depend not on scientists or technological heavy hitters, but on our stars in the entertainment arena for international recognition. They’re all we’ve got right now, but we’ve got them. So thank goodness for Lea Salonga, the teen warbler Charice Pempengco, and even for every Filipina beauty pageant winner who gets 15 minutes on the world stage. Of course, a giant thank goodness for Manny Pacquiao.

But don’t jump to conclusions like my friend did. For every Filipino who yells “Pacquiao for President,” there’s another one who begs the champ on the Internet to stick to boxing and “not to waste your money on political ambition.” So, you see, we Filipinos have not lost sight of what’s truly important. We’ve still got our priorities straight. At least, until Pacquiao beats Floyd Mayweather.

Related Articles:

Pacquiao Wins Seventh World Title, His Fans Become Global

Pacquiao TKOs Cotto, Makes History

Manny Pacquiao: Concert King?

Pacquiao and Cotto Hold Final Fight Press Conference

Pacquiao Ready to Make Boxing History

Filipino Fans Cheer Manny Pacquiao's TKO Of Ricky Hatton

Fight Fans and 'Pacman' After the Dream Match

Beyond Pacquaio-De La Hoya, Two People’s Long-lost Ties

Pacquiao Buries De La Hoya

Against All Odds: Pacquiao TKOs De La Hoya




Page 1 of 1

Share/Save/Bookmark

User Comments


sarah on Nov 23, 2009 at 11:26:26 said:

okay guys, lets think of something constructive here now, what can we do to help Philippines right now.I think we should stop arguing each other and start civic duties any ideas, me I go home every year to visit Philippines with my parents, to continue the project which my parents started.We promote in our town tree planting,any trees, but mostly plant mahogany and fruit trees,we give our townmates seedlings to plant,all the idle land needs to be planted.It;s very expensive but my parents are very happy to do it,we started garbage pit in each backyard too.We inspired a lot of the people in our town, my friends,do medical mission every year.


mario costiniano of imus cavite on Nov 21, 2009 at 07:06:13 said:

Yes Filipino are very much proud for having a manny paquiao not only for his popularity as an icon in boxing but for his greatest compassion to his homeland , His helping hand was always be there to save us, He bring us into one , he is genius of captiving the heart of the people at intire nations, His every fight was always dedecated to us, Absolutely God is sending Emmanuel to us [Which is written in the bible] to show to whole world How great the Filipinos hospitability upon dealing to every nation, Our nation has been attact by corruption but there is one man who save us to restore our country in a decent way of living, Manny you are the greatest in my life, Just keep on faith in God always.


marlon on Nov 21, 2009 at 06:31:39 said:

The answer is no! but Pacquiaos victory is something that is worth celebrating otherwise you will not write about it.Filipino workers are world class workers due to their hardwork dedication and most importantly love for god and family.


noypi23 on Nov 20, 2009 at 22:30:41 said:

In sense of national pride it is really something for every Filipino when one us is up there raising our flag, Manny Pacquiao is one of them but not the only one, We still have the greatest of them in two sports that start with letter B the same for Boxing, In case you still didnt know that we have Efren "Bata" Reyes for billiards and Paeng Nepomuceno for bowling, Although they didnt get the same hype Manny is getting right now they are still consider as heroes of our generations, You've done a great article but I want to set the record straignt, Manny Pacquiao now is the Pinoy's biggest star but not the only star, We have a lot of boxing champions right now, Nonito Donaire- Donnie Nietes - Brian Villoria- Marvin Sonsona - just to name a few, and many more rising stars, And a lot of inspiration in different frontiers, As manny says " YOU KNOW "


armando on Nov 20, 2009 at 22:13:59 said:

Because of this article from Rene which in my opinion only wanted to express the reality of our present economic situation doesn't mean that he is not a Filipino. Be open minded to those people who thought this article is about degrading our country and its people. Yes please read again. So because of this i might continue my dream to run for President in the future. I am just an ordinary citizen of this country but I have an ultimate goal and that goal is to make it happen. Let us all think and dream Big! As Sir Richard Branson said in his latest book. Screw it Lets do it.

Let me just share this if you want to be a Millionaire you have to dream and aim to be a Billionaire so when you fail you will fall and become only a Millionaire but if you want to be a Billionaire then you have to aim higher than that so when you fail you will only become a Billionaire which you want to be.

Lastly failures is the reason why there are lots of successful people here on earth because they learned from it so we can say the more failures we have the more success we will have in the future. Just be an open minded person. Everytime you fall just get up and continue to live. Life must go on but I wish you all the best in the future and do not stop losing hope if you want to attain something in life. Peace to all!!!


Drol Rotciv on Nov 20, 2009 at 21:52:59 said:

Great article. I like your open mindedness and opinion. Thanks to Manny Pacquiao and the rest of our Filipino talents who have worked hard and done their best for our country. You guys made us proud to be Filipinos. To Manny, I respect your decision if you choose to run for 2010 politics. That is your choice. My opinion is don't go for it...why? because you already had made a strong statmentfor your country. No need to join politics to help our kababayans. Just donate some of your earnings :-) View Manny Pacquiao You Tube Clips here: www.mannypacquiaoyoutubeclips.blogspot.com


Mexifornian on Nov 20, 2009 at 21:14:44 said:

Manny Pacquiao is Filipino. Ask any Mexican and they will tell you that Manny is Mexican. We love him and we claim him as ours. He could fill (108,000) Azteca Stadium, in Mexico or he could fill (97,000) Los Angeles Coliseum. We love you Manny.


ElVIvo on Nov 20, 2009 at 19:49:47 said:

Very Nice Article! Coming from a Filipino who lives here in the Philippines, I say your article has a lot of sense. Don't mind Pinoys who did not understand what they read. Same with you I go tsk tsk tsk upon reading idiotic replies to your article! Good Job!


ElVIvo on Nov 20, 2009 at 19:45:36 said:

Very Nice Article! Coming from a Filipino who lives here in the Philippines, I say your article has a lot of sense. Don't mind Pinoys who did not understand what they read. Same with you I go tsk tsk tsk upon reading idiotic replies to your article! Good Job!


baybayleyte on Nov 20, 2009 at 16:49:29 said:

what's with these people attacking the writer, no reading comprehension whatsoever. there is nothing in the article that is degrading. the writer merely stating the present situation. GO MANNY!!!


baybayleyte on Nov 20, 2009 at 16:37:51 said:

what's with these people attacking the writer, no reading comprehension whatsoever. there is nothing in the article that is degrading. the writer merely stating the present situation. GO MANNY!!!


Supreme on Nov 20, 2009 at 16:07:04 said:

Rene, since you took the very same words out of my mouth, I can only say ...

GREAT ARTICLE!


jo berm on Nov 20, 2009 at 16:01:20 said:

Pacquiao for President is not bad at all because he is surely retired in boxing when he qualifies for candidacy as President at 54 yrs old. Filipinos don't need lawyers or any professionals who steal from the people. People dedicated to his country like Pacquiao is what the Filipinos need.


dale on Nov 20, 2009 at 15:38:21 said:

wtf are u talking about? ur all morons! this guys article is defending US filipinos. I D I O T S!


darrell on Nov 20, 2009 at 14:43:19 said:

All of you people who are writing negative things about this article need to learn how to read. Ciria-Cruz is simply praising the Philippines and Pacquiao while acknowledging the problems that the Philippines and it's people experience. Read more closely before you post your comments.


Mexicutioner on Nov 20, 2009 at 14:30:48 said:

It's called national pride. Doesn't matter about the economic situation that the country is in. Filipinos love being Filipino and that's what really matters, it has nothing to do with what status we might be put in compared to the rest of the world economically. We have pride in our country regardless of anything. Screw you with your negative mind, maybe if you had something to be proud of then you will know what it's like, but until then you can just keep writing useless critical articles like these.


william on Nov 20, 2009 at 14:21:36 said:

Rene P. Ciria-Cruz, it looks like you have a problem when you were a kid? Maybe a filipino gay have touched you. hmmm..


john denver on Nov 20, 2009 at 14:14:41 said:

If you are a Filipino feel free to check out this latest video on Pacquiaos fight and his naysayers:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceYwbnoPGpM


Paruparu Bukid on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:20:19 said:

Philippines is in a sorry state right that the people are looking for someone to lead them out of their misery and give them a better future. It doesn't matter who the bringer of the new day is, as long as that one will do something.
Sadly this will not happen, the country will keep on dying because of most of the inhabitants' corrupted and selfish way of thinking. No matter how hard you try if what you are saving is garbage, the end will still be garbage.

What we need is to RESET the country. Remove everything and start a new.
Get a bomb, BOOM! Clean the mess. Start a new government. Educate the new people. In 10 years, because of Phil.'s natural resources, it will be one of the most progressive country in the world!


Paruparu Bukid on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:18:27 said:

Philippines is in a sorry state right that the people are looking for someone to lead them out of their misery and give them a better future. It doesn't matter who the bringer of the new day is, as long as that one will do something.
Sadly this will not happen, the country will keep on dying because of most of the inhabitants' corrupted and selfish way of thinking. No matter how hard you try if what you are saving is garbage, the end will still be garbage.

What we need is to RESET the country. Remove everything and start a new.
Get a bomb, BOOM! Clean the mess. Start a new government. Educate the new people. In 10 years, because of Phil.'s natural resources, it will be one of the most progressive country in the world!


refd on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:15:28 said:

Manny Pacquiao being the best in boxing definitely gives us Filipino's something to be proud about. Who wouldn't be proud of that? He is bringing people of all ages and races to boxing. Nothing wrong with that. You also forgot to mention that the millions he wins from fights, he donates and creates charities to help the poor Filipinos, which is much more than what you can ever say about helping your own people.


sbanasan on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:58:42 said:

Calm down, and read the article once more.... All he is stating is that filipinos should be extremely proud of our hero... yet at the same time not forget the philippines' problems.... he even admits himself to praising the pacman.


sarah on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:25:00 said:

I am Filipino American, I have a lot of friends from different ethnic backgrounds from rich or very poor country, but never heard saying bad about their country, you don't love your roots where you came from, if you are really are one like us.Would you please think and o something that will help PHILIPPINES if you have one.Sostop writing negative just for the sake to be known too okay?


sarah on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:19:06 said:

Are you a Filipino who wrote this column?Or just pretending to be so you can say something degrading.You know, all Filipinos around the world knows that we are in that situation right now, so please stop writing something negative about Filipinos and their country, but instead, if you are really are one,Write something positive that will help uplift the spirit and economic situation of Filipinos.

-->




Advertisement


ADVERTISEMENT


Just Posted

NAM Coverage

Arts & Entertainment

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisements on our website do not necessarily reflect the views or mission of New America Media, our affiliates or our funders.