Wednesday, December 12, 2012


“It is in times of great tragedy when the true spirit of our wonderful country unites as one.” – American politician Jim Gerlach

“When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is written in two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” – John F. Kennedy


The Philippines just recently became a victim again of another calamity called “Pablo”. As of this writing, this “Act of God” has affected 5,408,900 persons or 486,554 families in 249 municipalities/37 cities in 30 provinces.

Sadly, so far, 714 persons are known to be dead; 1906 person injured; 890 missing; and 110 rescued.

A total of 114,583 houses were reported damaged – 70,591 partially and 43,902 totally. The cost of the damage amounts to PhP7, 118,388,040.07 and counting.

Fortunately and expectedly in times of great tragedy, assistance has come from the Philippine government agencies, foreign governments, Filipinos locally and abroad, the Philippine National Red Cross and other Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). Even the United Nations has set-up a fund to finance assistance and rehab efforts.

Laudable indeed are the deeds of men responding to an “Act of God”.


Not as tragic (not even close), but possibly as painful to the Filipino psyche especially to those not affected in the Pablo-stricken areas is the knockout defeat of Pacquiao by Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.

Judging from the number of Tweets on the bout, the devastating punch suffered by Pacquiao was seen by most Filipinos as “unexpected, unforeseen, and unavoidable” – a definition normally attributed to an act of somebody infinite.

Gone was the invincibility of the country’s boxing idol, Superman, actor, singer, Congressman, now Pastor, future Senator and even future President!

For a while, it seemed to be of crisis proportion. Many people saw more of the Chinese character that represents “danger”. Others saw more of the one representing “opportunity”.

Jinky and Dionisia, the wife and mother of Pacquiao respectively, are seeing the danger in more future fights.  So they want him to hang up his gloves.  So do the constituents of Pacquiao in Sarangani province who want more of the opportunity for Pacquiao to give them greater public service.

Opponents of boxing who see it as a “blood sport” are now finding an opportunity to express their opposition to a sport so glorified by celebrities such as Pacquiao, Ali, and Marquez.

Those who want Pacquiao to continue found a rationale – the knockout was a lucky punch. He was ahead in all counts – points, rounds, jabs, and power punches until the “unexpected, unforeseen and unavoidable” act of man, not of God.

What is luck? We heard it many times, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Marquez prepared his counter punching skill to respond to any aggressive but careless move by Pacquiao. The opportunity came and Marquez’s preparation paid off.

Preparation here is, practical training. Practical training is repetitively enacting a predetermined process until converting it to a smart habit. Then, perfecting the smart habit into an instinctive reaction. Such was Marquez’s preparation!

“Luck is not a matter of chance but a matter of choice. It is not to be awaited but to be achieved,” said a wise man.  In this case, Marquez chose to wait for the chance to fight Pacquiao with the goal to finally defeat him without any doubt. With patience and preparation, he achieved his goal.


“In prehistoric times, mankind often had only two choices in crisis situations: fight or flee. In modern times, humor offers a third alternative; fight, flee or laugh.” Robert Cohen

Should Pacquiao continue to fight? He is only 33 years old. Marquez is already 39 and still effectively, efficiently, and smartly fighting. Pacquiao showed his good boxing skills in his last fight. Marquez showed he was better prepared.

Should Pacquiao flee? He is a Congressman and could devote more time being a public servant. In fact, by 2016, he could run for the Senate. He could also help set-up a more aggressive training center for future Filipino boxing Olympic and professional champions. Like Oscar de la Joya, he could also promote the professional careers of Filipino boxers.

Joey Maynigo, a Medical Technologist turned Digital Immigrant (Techie) and a resident of San Diego, California, forwarded to me what he read on Facebook:

“It took JUAN to beat Pacquiao. But the number of Mexicans that Pacquiao has beaten? …MANNY.”

Joey is the only son of my late brother, Jose (Pepe). His mother, Rosie, currently lives with him in San Diego. He works for Scripps Medical Foundation and is also President of the Rosales (our hometown) Association of San Diego.

Almost similar to the joke above was my status update on Facebook:

“My barber's brief account of the Pacquiao-Marquez fight: Pacquiao's jabs and punches - Manny; Marquez' knockout punch - Juan. Juan counted more than Manny! :) Victory for Juan "Manny" Marquez!
Forgive his spelling! :)”

The truth is, when you put the Filipino in the middle of a crisis or a tragedy, enslave him for centuries or detain him under dictatorship, he knows that his choices are not limited to fighting or fleeing. Humor and rumor mongering would always be alternative options.

This is why in a survey conducted worldwide, the Philippines is dubbed the most emotional (laughing and smiling) country in the world.


The national calamity of Pablo displayed once again that Filipino Patriotism shown during battles and wars. The continued assistance is always a source of Pride.

Pacquiao was equally a source of Patriotism and Pride in all his championship fights. In fact, if even for a day during the fights, he was also a source of Peace.

Whatever he decides, he will always find support from the Filipinos. He said he would rise again. As a boxer, he will have to prepare and train in countering the counter punching skills of the likes of Marquez. As a legislator, he will have to prepare and hone his communication skills and the art of lawmaking. As a promoter, he must prepare and train in the art of deal making and negotiations.


Former Senator, Rhodes Scholar, and NBA All-Star Bill Bradley once said, “Sports is a metaphor for overcoming obstacles and achieving against great odds. Athletes, in times of difficulty, can be important role models.”

In life, there will always be Naysayers. If Pacquiao chooses to be a role model for this and future generations, the AYEs will be behind him!

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