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Kudos to Vallacar!

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

I am writing this with a broken heart. But it was already broken before the end of the Pacquiao-Ugas fight, because Carla G. had informed me that she had gotten advanced information that Manny had lost the fight. All of a sudden past events flashed before my mind about the times Manny had fought in Las Vegas, and I was able to watch it in person because my friends and relatives in the U.S. always hosted me and ensured that I would be able to attend the Pacquiao bouts that I delighted so much writing about later.

***

Anyway, Manny is still my idol and I am sure Filipinos, all Filipinos all over the world, are still as proud of him as they had been when he made the Philippine Flag an “icon” after  every encounter that he won. And it was always Mayor Bing, a very close friend of his, whom he asked to carry the Philippine Flag into the stage where he fought. He was always very friendly to me and my former DAILY STAR staffers, now residents of the U.S., Mary Ann Bird (then Barcelona) and Elvie White. What a reunion  we always had! It was also  then that I became friends with Manny’s mother and aunt, with whom I still keep photos of our  times together.

***

I am not ashamed  to admit that I always felt very proud whenever  Manny had a fight and it was always Bacolod Mayor Bing Leonardia  he asked to carry the Philippine Flag when they marched  to the stage. He also treated us like family, and, would you believe, three of his children are all godchildren of Bing! I am sure I have written before about the story of that Flag, but, “for those who came in late”, as they say in the movies, there is also a funny story behind that Flag for which we often tease Bing about.

***

After one of the fights in Las Vegas  that Manny had won, Bing was taking the Flag with him on his way back to the hotel and set it down on a table to fix something when a man – an  American – grabbed it and ran off. But Bing gave him a chase, and  got it  back. If you go to his office at the Bacolod Government Center, you will see that flag there. I only hope Manny is not disappointed that Bing could not be there in Las Vegas this time. His duties here could not allow him to go, especially with the pandemic and all.

***

But my “spies” told me that a lot of  “presidentiables”, or wannabe candidates even  from Bacolod, were there, hoping, I guess, to be graced with the lucky charm of Manny’s  victory. I hope they did not turn their backs on him after  he missed the victory this time. Me, I suspect that it was not an even fight, note that Manny is already 43, and the guy he fought with must have been only in his twenties, or very early thirties. But we can all continue to be proud of him for being a very “clean fighter” who never showed a “sour grape” attitude.

***

Call me biased, if you will, but I think Manny’s opponent made some low blows during their encounter. But I know that, despite his personal possessions, the fight still  got him quite a lot of rewards that, I heard amounted to several millions,   and more from pay-per-view income later. One estimate said it could add up to some $35M, and who minds losing with that in your pocket? But Manny does not seem the type to who money means that much. That’s what makes him admirable.

***

What about the alleged presidential aspirants who flocked to Las Vegas, hoping to be noticed and remembered come election time? Will that ruse work, and can they convince  Manny to endorse them? By the way, I also heard talks that some politicians with plans of  their own, are trying to convince Manny to run for President. So they could get endorsements from him? If those people think that Pacquiao is easy to fool, they should have another “think”, pronto! He is not as simple-minded as they may think.

***

Meanwhile, let us all express our gratitude to Vallacar Transit, that runs the  buses serving people all over our province, for its generosity in lending Bacolod City  means of transporting the vaccination teams set up to go around to reach vaccination sites  and ensure that all Bacolodnons, especially those living in area not easily accessible and with no means  of  transport. If we have more business owners and organizations  with such concern for our residents, what a more livable and progressive  city  we can be!*

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