HE happens to be the richest Filipino athlete ever - a billionaire and global boxing icon who, until recently, had a multi-million endorsement deal with apparel giant Nike.
That's the reason we found it quite odd that when Manny Pacquiao made his maiden PBA All-Star appearance a week back, the Mahindra playing coach wore old-model shoes that quite frankly looked out of place when ranged against the Jordans and Kobes worn by the other All Stars.
“May kuha pa kayo n'yan," Pacquiao said chuckling when shown a picture of the red 2014 Nike Hyperdunk shoes which he wore during the Stalwarts vs Greats game during the PBA All-Star Weekend - and still wears to games whenever he suits up for Mahindra.
So why these two-year-old shoes when he can buy the most expensive shoes in the world?
"Wala, gusto ko lang isuot 'yan kasi kumportable ako saka gamay ko na yan,” said Pacquiao. “'Yan ang lagi kong suot sa mga pick-up games, wala naman sa akin kahit ano ang isuot ko.”
Pacquiao, 37, bared that he personally bought the shoes when he accompanied his sons Jimwell and Michael to a shopping trip while taking a break from his training in the US.
The locally made socks are even older, Pacquiao revealed, estimating them to be around eight years old.
The young Senator’s close-in security, Julito Cagumay, bared Pacquiao was never picky when it comes to shoes or any personal belongings for that matter.
“Yung sapatos na 'yan, paborito ni boss. Ang dami niyang sapatos sa bahay pero hindi niya sinusuot, kung ano lang makita at makursundahan, isusuot nya. Wala siyang pakialam kung luma na,” said Cagumay.
“Kahit sa damit, iisipin mo na madami siyang signature clothes, pero pansinin mo, inuulit ulit niya yun. Wala sa kanya yun, minsan nga lumalabas yan may butas pa ang tshirt,” said the former Scout Ranger turned bodyguard.
Pacquiao relative and now head of security Caloy Homo said has never changed despite the fame and riches - a simple man with simple taste.
“Galing kasi sa hirap si boss, kaya hindi siya maselan sa ganyang bagay. Ang style nyan kung ano ang makita nya, basta malinis, isusuot niya,” said Homo.
So what happened to all the free apparel and expensive things he has purchased over the years?
“Ipinamimigay niya. Maraming pagkakataon na bibili kami ng Louis Vuitton na jacket, tapos may kaibigan o kamaganak na magsasabi ng, ‘Ang ganda nyan boss ah’. Ayun, ibibigay na niya agad 'yun, di na makakarating sa bahay,” said the longtime security head.
Homo bared that almost all of the boxing icon's staffers, both in the Senate and elsewhere, have benefited from the generosity of the former pound for pound champion.
Go ask Rene Casibang, the Senator’s media relations officer, who just recently received a chic pair of Christian Dior leather shoes from his boss.
“Nakakalat lang ito sa office nya sa Congress, tapos dinala dito ng mga staff, tapos nakita ni MP (Pacquiao), biglang inabot kay Kuya Rene,” said Ivan Pastolero, another member of the Senate staff.
“Nagulat nga si Kuya Rene kasi di nya akalain na ganun pala kamahal 'yung sapatos, ganun ka-giving si boss."