Pacquiao’s Bora paradise in troubled waters
When he dropped by the Boracay Convention Center during the PBA All-Stars to invite friends from Manila to dinner, businessman Crisostomo “Cris” Aquino seemed to have no inkling that the Mayor’s office in Boracay was planning to close his plush beach resort.
Cris used to be a regular fixture in the PBA, especially during Purefoods games, but that was years before he became a full-time member of Team Pacquiao. His major task was to carry the Philippine flag before a Pacquiao fight.
For sure you’ve seen this chubby, jolly-looking fellow on television at one time or another.
Years ago, when Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codiñera were still playing, Cris never missed a Purefoods game. He was a die-hard fan of the Tender Juicy Hotdogs and always wore a fun cap with a huge hotdog on it.
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On the first day of the PBA All-Star weekend in Boracay last month, Cris stopped by the convention center, the venue of the festivities, to invite friends to his Boracay West Cove Resort, which he reportedly co-owns with Pacquiao.
I can’t recall who asked him why we no longer see him carry the Philippine flag during Pacquiao fights.
Cris seemed to be avoiding the subject, or maybe he didn’t hear the remark because he neither reacted nor responded to the query.
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A big entourage of PBA officials, staff and players headed by league commissioner Chito Salud were wined and dined by Cris the following night at his sprawling beach resort.
Warned of the hilly terrain, I decided to skip the dinner, all to the good of Cris who was spared some questions which might have been difficult to answer.
I really wanted to see the place, thinking that it was also the property of the boxing’s pound-for-pound king. (Very recently, though, Pacquiao denied on national TV that he co-owns the resort.)
Less than a month after Cris hosted that dinner, Mayor John Yap ordered the closure of the Boracay West Cove Resort on the ground that it operated without a permit.
Yap plans to eventually demolish the resort, because he said it was built illegally.
Cris explained that he has been trying to secure a permit from the mayor’s office, but has been continually ignored.
A colleague speculated that the Boracay West Cove is what Pacquiao intends to present to hotel heiress Paris Hilton when she comes to the country next month to look for possible business ventures.
Paris intends to put up a beach club here.
My colleague said Boracay property owners and investors close to Yap, scared of the possible stiff competition, must have talked the mayor into nipping the big project in the bud.
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Although he recently purchased a P388-million property at Forbes Park, Manny Pacquiao was reportedly refused membership at the Manila Golf Club, which is located inside the exclusive village.
Even if you’re in the Forbes list of 40 richest Filipinos, you may not be accepted into the ultra-conservative, super exclusive sports club, according to colleague Al Mendoza.
Star entertainment editor Ricky Lo also wrote in his column that Willie Revillame and no less than ABS-CBN’s top honcho, Gabby Lopez, suffered the same fate as Pacquiao.
“Nora Aunor was denied [membership] at the height of her stardom, and even Vice President Jojo Binay, then the mayor of Makati, was refused lunch there because he was not a member,” Al said.
“Sometimes it takes only one member to object, without explanation, to stop the entry of an applicant,” said Popoy Juico, president of the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
“Every club has its own set of rules and policies.”