FOOTBALL fans around the world are celebrating Italy’s fourth World Cup crown with its emphatic 5-3 win today over France in a Final match that was decided by a penalty shoot-out, only the second time in the tournament’s history. Not football-crazy like the rest of the world though, most Filipinos seem to care less. But what they continue to be ecstatic about is Manny Pacquiao’s victory over Mexican challenger Oscar Larios via a 12-round unanimous decision a week ago.

The Pacquiao-Larios fight is still talk of the town, the Internet particularly abuzz with Pacmania — to borrow Krip Yuson’s Philippine Star column title today — heaping accolades on the Filipino boxing champion. Never mind if the Pacman, a knockout specialist, failed to put away a run-of-the-mill boxer within six rounds as his camp predicted.

As Yuson announced in his column, Inquirer sports columnist Recah Trinidad is even launching a book on Pacquiao middle of this week titled Pacific Storm: Dispatches on Pacquiao of the Philippines.

Of course, not to be outdone, Malacañang earlier conferred on Pacquiao the title of “Champion for Life” by awarding him the Order of Lakandula — curiously though, as Jojo Malig points out, is a recognition based on a wrong reading, if not ignorance, of the warrior’s place in history.

But one fan’s tribute stands out, if only because it elevates Pacquiao, the boxer-turned-product endorser who has given Kris Aquino and Sharon Cuneta a run for their money, to the pantheon of our national heroes — his image inscribed in the five-peso bill that used to carry the face of Andres Bonifacio, and later Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, now no longer in circulation.

Why the five-peso note? Probably, it’s a sort of homage to the Filipino boxing ring gladiator, a veteran of 46 professional fights with 41 victories (32 by knockout), whose fighting heart somehow echoes the fierceness in battle and heroism of the Katipunan Supremo and El General.

But as Manolo Quezon also explained in his comment on Expectorant‘s ruminations on the ten-peso coin last year, the logic of our currency is that the closer to the basic unit of one peso, which is reserved for the national hero (Dr. Jose Rizal), the more important the figure is.

In a way, Pacquiao does qualify in that regard too, towering over our pathetic national leaders no longer as a mere sports icon but a new “national hero” who makes his countrymen proud and gives them reason, if only momentarily, to be united as a people.

And to quote from Trinidad’s upcoming book, courtesy of Yuson’s column:

It was not what economic doctors had prescribed for the impoverished nation. But the expected happened. Pacquiao’s victory sent his poor nation tilting in ecstasy. He lit the bleary eyes of poor countrymen, thereby making it appear he had instantly knocked out poverty and assorted national aches with the Alaxan relief tablet he had been selling hard on television.

He had not.

Pacquiao did not usher in abundance. But his win-win feat was definitely noble, rich in relevance. Here was one genuine hero who was no product of fantasy — no borrowed courage, no artificial toughness, no rented heroics, no fake sideburns.

Unlike movie stars and entertainment icons that had freely stolen the adulation of gullible Filipinos, this big winner was emerging from a real blood-and-guts battle, no longer starring in a shallow blockbuster movie.

The social analyst was right. Filipino faith in Pacquiao appeared to have grown stronger because they saw in him their own resilience and ability to come back from defeat. As a result, Paquiao’s conquest also intoxicated his countrymen.

16 Responses to Pac-money, Pacmania and the search for Filipino heroes



July 10th, 2006 at 4:44 pm

What’s next, Pac-man for President?

Geez, Im dying to hear what my good friend, Benign0, will say ?



July 10th, 2006 at 4:53 pm

genuine hero? puede if yung earnings niya napupunta sa taong bayan. ala robin hood baga.



July 10th, 2006 at 8:24 pm

There are heroes and there are sports heroes. At the momnet that is where the Manny Pacquiao belongs, a sport hero extraordenaire..


Ambuot Saimo

July 10th, 2006 at 11:23 pm

Given the Pinoy mentality hindi malayo and iyong hinaga. We elected Ramon Revilla senator because of his agimat in Nardong Putik, his son Bong and Lito Lapid (and probably FPJ too) because they always triumph over the bad guys in the movies. But we cannot blame the Pinoys completely because they thought these people could also defeat bad guys in Philippine society given a chance.
But we know we utterly failed in that respect simply because movies and governance are two different animals.
While I admire Manny for his exploits in the ring, his elevation to a “hero” is bad because the world thinks Pinas cannot produce a champion such that when there is one it is a big deal. Duran’s record (fights 119: W-103 (tko 70); losses-16 mostly during his 5th decade when he gained weight), is more impressive but Panama did not make him a hero. Mexico has great champions but they do not make a heck out of it because it’s just an “ordinary” thing for them.

I remember when a New York City’s cab driver-frat-brod of a Phil. senator returned some jewelries left in his cab, the senator sponsored a Senate Resolution recognizing the cab driver’s honesty to which another senator (belongs to a rival frat) quipped, to this effect, ” why, they don’t have honest member anymore such that when there is one it’s a big deal already? ”




July 11th, 2006 at 2:14 am

“But as Manolo Quezon also explained in his comment on Expectorant’s ruminations on the ten-peso coin last year, the logic of our currency is that the closer to the basic unit of one peso, which is reserved for the national hero (Dr. Jose Rizal), the more important the figure is.”

And since Ninoy Aquino is printed on the P500 bill, that makes him less important than Rizal and Pacquiao?


“In a way, Pacquiao does qualify in that regard too, towering over our pathetic national leaders no longer as a mere sports icon but a new “national hero” who makes his countrymen proud and gives them reason, if only momentarily, to be united as a people.”

I’m a Pacquiao fan and more power to him, but I think he’s being sensationalized too much. Sure he’s successful and the people’s champion but let’s break it down. He literally had no future in the Philippines until a foreigner discovered him and cultivated his talent when our very own Filipinos did not pay attention to him because he was poor and uneducated to begin with. In the ring, he’s a fierce fighter but realistically, he’s savagely beating another person for money because it’s the only job he can do without a formal education that the government failed to provide.

Honestly, I think we Filipinos should nurture other future champions not just in boxing but also in gymnastics, diving, soccer, baseball, etc. Why are we so obsessed with freakin basketball or boxing? There are other sports that can bring honor to Filipinos internationally. So, let’s be wise and practical and participate in sports we know can bring glory to our country. I doubt that we’ll ever be basketball gold medalist at the Olympic Games.


Ambuot Saimo

July 11th, 2006 at 3:11 am

Kawawang Boni. He was twice “killed” by Agui…! First, during the Revolution and “killed” again, when Agui replaced him in the 5 peso bill. That’s what happen when you are unlettered (such as Boni while Agui a teacher) and has no “connections” in Pinas. But Boni got even when Agui was also “killed” by inflation. That bill is no longer in circulation.

But PacMan is different. He has the backing of the “king” in the Palace By the Pasig.


yeomans job

July 11th, 2006 at 10:58 am

IMO, it’s not a bad idea elevating Pacquiao to a heroes’ status. I believe national heroes can come in all shapes and sizes, in all walks of life, in all fields of interest as long as he has done extra-ordinary things concerning our country and people’s best interest. Manny Pacquiao is the latest and the greatest sports personality our country has ever had. He comes once in a lifetime.



July 11th, 2006 at 12:05 pm

11 July 2006

My friend, I ahve nothing against the pacman, he has given us pride, he brings glory to this divided country. But wait, how can we elevate his status as a filipino hero, yet, we forget the the woman who is fighting for the recognition of his son, she who wants nothing from the man except recognition. I have heard stories, that the case in court is a difficult battle for the woman. the little boy and their lawyer, accordingly, the pressure from malacanang is too much to handle, besides the finances that he receives from his sponsors, is too much to bear for the woman/ the little boy and their lawyer.

I will agree only if the pacman acknowledges that he fathered a son to these woman ( if proven true). Acknowledging it would make the pacman more of a man, and his followers will truly love him.




July 12th, 2006 at 1:37 am

…then maybe manny pacquiao really deserves the order of lakandula…

lakandula, cowardice personified as jojo malig blogs on and a cunning negotiator as abraham tan writes about…

(gloria macapagal claims to be a descendant of lakandula. small wonder why she’s dodgin’ the impeachment.)



July 12th, 2006 at 11:08 am

lest my friends in the women’s rights advocacy groups get offended by this, my apologies in advance…

with bated breath, i cannot wait to see Mimi Miyagi win Nevada’s gubernatorial race; for she would bring the country some honors too, never mind if in some uncanny ways, no?

struggles, not to mention honor, comes in different forms: Manny Pacquiao did his share amply on the ring, and if Mimi succeeds she did it too in her own ‘ring’ and much, much more, no?

heck!, if Manny’s face will see print in our 5-peso bill, surely Bangko Sentral, the Palace dullheads, the generous Congress won’t deny her the same accolades and consider her…well, you know what, in one of our paper bills, no?

the more interesting part , without doubt, is the flip side: Manny depicted while in a brawl, imagine Mimi; is she going to be portrayed in what she is good, at?


Filipino Librarian

July 14th, 2006 at 8:55 am

Pinoy Top Blogs: How to Rank Higher…

[…] It will, perhaps, be instructive to analyze how Pinoy Top Blogs (PTB) works in the context of what happens to this blog when Pacmania hits […]…


Alecks Pabico

July 14th, 2006 at 9:26 am


Indeed, acknowledging paternity is to me a more heroic act.



July 14th, 2006 at 9:48 am

Right on Alecks. I’m not passing judgement on Pacquiao’s love life, it’s none of my business, and we all make mistakes. But my respect for him went down ten notches when he disputed the boy to be his son when dozens of pictures taken at the boy’s baptism were made public to prove that he is his son’s Dad. I trust Freddie Roach has reminded him there is such a thing as DNA.



July 14th, 2006 at 12:17 pm

It seems that cowardice was not the only vice of Lakandula, whom President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo claims direct descendancy from.

After watching joint Spanish-Visayan forces slaughter Manila’s defenders, Gloria’s great-great-great lolo did no less than the unthinkable. He actually turned traitor. He merged his troops with the invaders and aided them in their full conquest of the Luzon.

One thousand five hundred friendly Indians from the islands of Zebu, Bohol, Leyte, and Panay, besides the many other Indians of service, for use as pioneers and boat-crews, accompanied the Spaniards…” Lacandola and his sons and relatives, besides two hundred Bissayans and many other Indians who were enrolled in Pangasinan, aided them. (José Rizal’s edition of Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas por el Doctor Antonio de Morga Paris, 1890)

Will Lakandula’s great-great-great apo-sa-tuhod please stand up in his defense?


Pacquiao. Champion of the monkeys. « Pinoy Stupid. A Multimedia Blog.

November 5th, 2006 at 6:05 pm

[…] A 5-Peso bill. Photo courtesy of PCIJ. […]


Pacquiao. Champion of the monkeys. « Pinoy Stupid. A Multimedia Blog.

November 7th, 2006 at 10:57 am

[…] The Malacañan Palace awarded him an Order of Lakandula and dubbed him Champion For Life. I wonder why he should be called champion outside of the boxing arena. He did not do anything beneficial for this country. He did not risk his neck going to war and fighting for whatever cause towards which the Philippines moves. He did not found any charitable institutions helping the homeless and the hopeless. He did not adopt an orphan from the African continent like Madonna did. Maybe if he wins his next match we’ll see this being circulated by the BSP: A 5-Peso bill with Pacquiao’s unsightly face on it. Photo courtesy of PCIJ. […]

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