Manila Vanilla

What it's like to be a U.S. Fulbright scholar, basketball player, journalist, and the whitest man in Metro Manila.

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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

New Yorker by birth, shipped across the globe to the world of malls, shanty-towns, patronage, corruption, basketball and a curious burnt-toast smell that wafts around at dusk

Friday, December 25, 2009

Manny W. Pacquiao?

The news earlier this week that Manny Pacquiao talked to God about the great power he'd one day be blessed with reminded me of the recurring kerfuffle during the Bush years whenever George W. Bush would claim that God instructed him to make certain decisions as commander in chief. One of them, it appears, was invading Iraq. God, would you like to own up to that blunder?

Anyway, now that Pacquiao is back on the campaign trail, albeit unofficially until the campaign period starts next March, his Holy tête-à-tête reminded me of Bush. Here's what Pacquiao told the 1500 lucky attendees at his 31st birthday bash in General Santos City:
In my 31 years here on Earth, God appeared to me once and told me to have unconditional faith in him. I was not yet very popular and world champion when our God appeared to me and assured me of strength and power.
Of course, the alarm bells don't sound quite as quickly in the Philippines when a politician says he's guided by God as they do here in the States. Many Americans were shocked by Bush's bald-faced Bible-thumping. We knew he was Born Again, but the idea that he would use his power in office do whatever his lord asked of him was disturbing to a country that has enshrined the separation of church and state in the bill of rights. Of course, I think the Philippines has some nominal devotion to this concept, but the inability to pass urgently-needed family planning and birth control legislation and the Comelec's ugly disqualification of the Gay Rights party list group Ang Ladlad on grounds of "sexual immorality" seem to indicate that Catholic doctrine is in many cases stronger than lofty democratic ideals.

I'm Christian and I'm looking forward to Christmas here in New York (sadly, there will be no queso de bola, no buko salad, no nothing at my noche buena this evening -- can you feel my inggit?), but I think important government decisions are better made by men and women who aren't driven by their unwavering faith in religious dogma that isn't necessarily shared by the citizens they serve.

In other Pacquiao news, Manny took the oath of the Nacionalista Party this week and made formal his alliance with presidential candidate Manny Villar, an event many people saw coming after Mr. Sipag at Tiyaga showed up at Pacquiao's Baguio City training camp to talk politics and showed up in HBO's Pacquiao/Cotto 24/7. I don't know if it matters which candidate Pacquiao sides with. There's something heartening about knowing he's officially out of PGMA's Lakas-Kampi pocket, although who knows what kind of nasty crud lies hidden in Senator Villar's deep pockets. I am impressed by the sheer gonzo nature of Villar's Nacionalista slate, which includes Bongbong Marcos, whose dictator dad imprisoned Junior's running mate, Satur Ocampo, as well as all-around lunatic Miriam Defensor Santiago and Mr. Resiklo, Bong Revilla. Which Nacionalista Party candidate will dominate this week's Metro Manila Film Festival? Wapakman or Ang Panday?


Blogger borg_queen said...

Should be Manny W. McKinley.

I'm from one of the towns of the distrito that Manny was running for in '07 and even some of my friends who belong to the masa were miffed. They've had enough of celebrities running for office.

But Pacman might just win this time. Saranggani is not exactly as progressive as South Cotabato. Mas madaling paikutin mga tao du'n. Bwahahaha!

3:10 AM  
Blogger ChetBelt said...

The thought that raced through my mind as I first read of Pacman's encounter with the Almighty (God the Father, no less it would seem) was: NO!!! What are you doing? Your ring persona was impeccable (and, as a humble, prayerful simpleton, quite endearing). Why tarnish it? Could it have been, I desperately hoped, nothing more than a facon de parler? Could the reporter simply have misunderstood?

Here's to hoping this eventually loses steam and fizzles out.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Marvib said...

@ Rafe, good book you are planning. Had this been published? or is in its formative years? I heard your book because of an former professor in UP.

Well it might help if you talk to the "experts of college ball". College ball is different from Pro (and college players are the source of pro players). And in recent times, college ball is more passionate. One thing is common though. MONEY :D

Experts in college ball:
Tony Atayde (La Salle)
Ricky Olivarez (Atenista and UP)

I have started a thread on on your book. Good luck. Nice book on the sports that we Filipinos love.

10:52 AM  
Blogger RafeBoogs said...

@Marvib: Thanks for your interest. The book is complete and will be published in June and in stores in both the U.S. and R.P. June 1. Don't worry, there's an entire chapter on college basketball! Please visit my new site for more recent blog posts and news on my writing elsewhere, as well as info about Pacific Rims.

2:58 AM  

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