Friday, October 19, 2007

mighty steps to follow, big shoes to fill

Last October 6, I drove through a seemingly deserted city to join my family for Sunday brunch at the new Bonifacio High Street shopping strip. When I arrived at our meeting place, I noticed that it was similarly empty, save for one big restaurant which was packed like a German pub during an Oktoberfest. It was the place where we decided to eat.

You see, it was the day of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Marco Antonio Barrera World Boxing Championship Rematch. Everyone at the restaurant was glued to the big TV screen where the fight was telecast. Meanwhile, the rest of the country stayed at home to watch, unwilling to miss the bout of the year even for a minute.

Will Mexican challenger Barrera, badly beaten during the first encounter, finally find the strength to defeat Filipino titleholder Pacquiao?

What an exciting lunch it was! We were treated to red-sauce rigatoni, crisp pizza, fresh whole wheat sourdough, blended cheeses, meaty stews... and an overwhelming show of Filipino power, agility, endurance and fighting spirit. Swear, I was teary-eyed for a brief moment – in between punches and pizza bites.

Manny Pacquiao. Filipino. Champion.

Later, as we were walking back to our cars, I spotted a billboard of Pacquiao (left) on the facade of the Nike Flagship Store. I immediately brought out my Canon IXUS 950 and took a shot. Below his image was a line from the Philippine national anthem which read: "Ang mamatay nang dahil sa 'yo." In English, it meant, "To die for you."

For a nation in search of a hero, it was one glorious day.

(Top) The Treadbear Bearbrick is part of the 2003 Bearforce One Series, a group of ten (10) Be@rbricks designed by Nike.