Monday, November 20, 2006

Brought to you by San Miguel

My mom's from the Philippines. Even though I'm but a half-blood Pinoy who was born and raised in the states, I take a certain amount of pride in seeing Filipino people excel in any given field. I celebrate Rufio's entire catalogue, root for the cute but woefully talentless Cassie, tip my cap to DJ Babu and so forth. But I'm convinced that, when we're talking Filipino superstars/proletariat galvanizers, no one can come even remotely close to the roving, ridiculous living legend that is Manny "Pacman"* Pacquiao.

The super featherweight brawler
pretty much ended Erik Morales' career on Saturday night. They'd met twice in the past two years; Morales won the first match, Manny the second. Watch the third (and final) round of the latest fight here. Kinda reminds me of the TKO call ("meek-make-mo") when you knocked down Don Flamenco, Great Tiger or whoever three times in Punch-Out. Fighting prowess aside, the guy's a freaking agenerational sensation, and Filipino mothers probably chuck their daughters at him when he walks down the street. Dude can certainly fight, and he's marketable to boot. But, in my opinion, his fists and footwork aren't what make him so fascinating.

Filipino culture works off a unique amalgam of Hispanic and Asian traditions. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the culture's gender relations, both in the motherland and within Filipino-American families. Ostensibly, the Philippines is a patriarchal society comparable to many Asian cultures: men run the show and love the fact that they do, basking in the glory of victory and sulking in the humilation--essentially, emasculation--of defeat. For everyday proof of this, try going out to dinner with a group of older Filipino men. The macho bickering over who will pay the bill will last well past dessert.

The one major caveat to this dynamic is that it's completely, utterly erroneous. Everyone--and I mean everyone--knows that women truly run the show. It's understood by all, but rarely spoken. It's here that one can draw many parallels between Filipino culture and Mexican culture--men can often come off brash, cocksure and languid, while women (mothers) are perhaps the biggest reason people view both countries as strongly family-centric. Now's a good time to point out that two of the last four Filipino presidents have been women. (The
last man to hold the office was impeached.)

Pacquiao's fighting style is more or less a character study of Filipino masculinity--he's undersized but freakin' relentless, a headstrong, balls-to-the-wall risktaker fond of throwing endless strings of all-over-the-place punches without much regard for his own wellbeing. He's how I'd imagine Ron Artest to be if he was a, uh, boxer. Maybe that's not a good example. Scratch Artest for Bruce Bowen. Anyways, he's also known as a hardcore partier and a rumored womanizer who has been criticized for valuing the limelight over glory on the canvas. Of course, since he's 43-3-2, no one really gives a fuck.

I'm not suggesting that all Filipino (or Mexican) men are boorish, misogynistic assholes who undervalue the contributions females make to society. All I'm saying is I can completely understand why Pacquiao is such a unbridled sensation. Cliche alert: he's more than just a boxer. He represents all the things that many Filipino men hold in high regard, but are often unable to achieve due to a number of forces: fame, bravado, success, domination over all comers. He's a lighter-skinned Jack Johnson, a darker-skinned James J. Braddock. Now that people finally feel comfortable calling him one of the best in the world, pound for pound, I don't really see anything changing for better or worse. Just trust that he'll continue to encapsulate the quirks and qualms that make the Philippines the Philippines.

Then again, maybe I'm just overthinking all this. Go 'head, Manny. We're fucking proud of you. Keep the hits coming.

* No apologies to Adam "Pacman" Jones.


In typical Filipino fashion, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo laid the melodrama on thick with her statement after Pacquiao's victory. "My heart beats with extreme joy with another victory for the Philippines ... we all gathered around in our homes and places of work, in the streets and farms to pray for Manny. Manny will always be our hero, the bearer of the Filipino dream of winning the good fight in all fields of human endeavour. He will always be the people's champ*."

* Apologies to Paul Wall.


A few ridiculous tidbits gleaned from
Pacquiao's Wiki page:

THE UNDERTAKER was part of his entourage during his 2005 fight against Hector Velazquez.
- He qualified for the final stages of the Philippine 9-Ball Open.

- He owns the PacMan Gensan basketball team, and has even played in a few games for them.

- He totally drinks 10-K.* That's not actually on there, but it pretty much has to be true, what with all his athletic endeavors.

Batista is half Filipino? Whaaaaaa?

* If anyone can find an online version of that old 10-K commercial where that alpha-kid plays 10 games (10 different sports) in one day and dominates all of them, please let me know.


rahulv said...

Asian Games 2006, Doha

The showcase event for Asian athletes, the Asian Games are back. Held every four years, Asian Games 2006 is coming up in Doha, a beautiful city in Qatar.

Since the year 2000, Qatar has been vying for this prestigious quadrennial event, trying to surpass other Asian cities. Finally, Doha gets to host the 2006 Asian Games from 1st to 15th of December.

The history of Asian Games reveals that Qatar is only the second country in West Asia to hold this event since 1974, when Iran were the proud hosts.

The Asian Games 2006, Doha will be the 15th Asian Games since the inception of the event way back in 1951. The first Asian Games were held in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

Qatar is a small country spread over 11,437 square kilometers. For a progressive economy like Qatar, the Asian Games is a massive event, something that'll augment the nation's development.

Read More

Drew said...

I actually put some thought and effort into a post for a change, and the only comment I get is some spam type shit about the Asian Games in Qatar? You're breaking my heart, rahulv.

Anonymous said...

What no mention of Ernie Reyes, Jr.?!

Drew said...

Ha! This must be the Final Fu. No strikes to the face.