For about a decade, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao captured the hearts of millions of Americans and people throughout the world. He became a household name for even the casual American boxing fan because of his electrifying punches, religious humility, and off-tune singing. Even fans of his opponents loved the guy for his rags-to-riches story. Manny Pacquiao becoming synonymous with the Philippines. And for a brief moment, everyone knew what a Filipino was.
For Filipino Americans, he represented a hope of self-becoming in a society that deemed us “invisible.” Pacquiao sparked a sense of nationalist fervor rarely seen in a community prone to “assimilate.” Filipino Americans from all walks of life – radical, conservative, Catholic, Protestant, Californian, Midwesterner – succumbed to Pacquiao fever. In many ways, Pacquiao’s entry into American national discourse told us about ourselves and our place in this world as much as it told us about a poor skinny kid from General Santos City.
The TFAL Crew discusses Manny Pacquiao’s meteoric rise to stardom and his fateful downfall. This episode is not so much an analysis of his boxing career, but rather an examination of his cultural impact on Filipino America. Nobody brought together Filipinos around the world as much as the Pacman. Love him or hate him, Manny Pacquiao is a significant part of our history.
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