IT will henceforth be called and celebrated as the Golden Era of Manny Pacquiao.
Once upon a time, there ruled a warrior fondly called the Pacific Storm. He established a noble dynasty by capturing world boxing crowns in a total of eight exacting divisions.
The greatness of this warrior was vast and vivid as his kindness and generosity were boundless.
He fought and won his biggest, fiercest battles with the love of God and genuine concern for countrymen at heart.
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He provided inspiration, mainly for the hungry and the homeless.
The son of a runaway father, he knew keenly how it was to be hungry.
He spent his boyhood in extreme poverty, and had to sleep on the cold, bare floor, a tragedy suffered by his countless countrymen today.
The social analyst was right: There was no denying that Filipino faith in Pacquiao grew stronger by the day because they saw in him their own resilience and ability to move up from the dirt floor.
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Unlike movie stars and entertainment icons—as noted in a first book written about him locally—he emerged from real blood-and-guts battles.
He was one genuine hero, not a product of fantasy—no borrowed courage, no artificial toughness, no rented heroics, etc.
He did not have to steal the adulation of gullible Filipinos by starring in shallow blockbuster movies.
He did not usher in abundance.
But his heroism, inscribed in Truth and Time, was noble, very rich in relevance.
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He was hailed, adored and has become the receptacle of his people’s hope.
Emmanuel Dapiran Pacquiao, 33, was secure in his legend when he was stopped by a grim Mexican rival.
Juan Manuel Marquez, 39, blasted Pacquiao to the canvas with one bludgeon swing to the uncovered chin.
The tragedy happened on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8, 2012, in Las Vegas, capital of Pacquiao’s reign for nearly a decade, during which he also carried boxing on his shoulders.
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Pain and shock were generally felt all over his country when Pacquiao lost to Marquez by knockout.
There was gloom and crying bereavement among his countrymen.
The tragedy felt as dreadful as on the day Ninoy Aquino was assassinated on Aug. 21, 1983.
Just like Ninoy, Pacquiao refused to yield and grimly stood his ground until the final moment.
Pacquiao got hit hard but, in the end, he was conquered by Father Time after it turned out he could no longer take a solid punch.
It was noted that the national treasure, the Kamao ng Bayan, no longer had his rosary with him on the final day of his reign.
The Pacquiao era ended but his saga lives on.
Pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary reward us with another of his noble kind.