LAS VEGAS – Much has been said and written about Manny Pacquiao the boxing superstar, public servant, basketball playing-coach, part-time TV personality, pastor, and philanthropist.
Yet, there remains a side of the man which the public doesn’t know, trivial matters which only people close and known to him are aware of.
With the curtain is about to fall on the great career of one of the most fearful southpaws in boxing history, SPIN.ph talked to longtime friends and confidante of the 37-year-old Pacquiao to gather five interesting facts about him.
Here they are:
1.While Pacquiao is widely-known as a lefty – his left hook being the most devastating weapon in his arsenal – he uses his right hand when eating and signing autographs for fans.
“Nung bata raw kasi sila sinanay sila sa bahay na kumain at magsulat sa kanang kamay kasi nga bihira sa atin yung kaliwete,” shared Abante sports editor Virgie Romano, whose friendship with Pacquiao dates back to the time he was still starting in the boxing TV program ‘Blow By Blow.’
“At tsaka sa probinsya daw noong araw, may paniwala na kapag kaliwa ang ginagamit mo, malapit daw sa kasamaan.”
2. In as much as he loves to eat, Pacquiao is also a good cook. Longtime assistant trainer Nonoy Neri, who does most of the kitchen stuff whenever the boxing legend has a fight in the U.S. could attest to that.
“Magaling magluto yan. Tsaka sa pag-saing ng bigas gusto niyang kainin yung tulad ng luto niya,” said Neri. “In time, natutunan din namin 'yung formula niya.”
He said Pacquiao could cook dishes such as tinola, sinaing, sweet and sour, and even simple fares such as scramble egg.
And his favorite of all? Buttered chicken.
“Gusto ngang magluto kanina, kaso naubusan pala ng manok sa ref,” said Neri laughing.
3. Although he grew up in General Santos City and speaks the Cebuano dialect, he is also adept conversing in Ilonggo.
“Nagulat nga ako na marunong siya magsalita at nakakaintindi ng Ilonggo,” said Marvin Somodio, the trusted Filipino aide of multi-awarded trainer Freddie Roach.
Somodio hails from New Lucena, Iloilo.
“Hindi ko alam na marunong siyang mag-Ilonggo. Tapos minsan nag-kukuwentuhan kami ni Nonoy (a fellow Ilonggo), bigla siyang sumali na Ilonggo din ang salita,” he said, recalling the incident inside the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles while the Sarangani congressman was training.
It turned out Pacquiao once lived in Iloilo during the time he left his family as a teener.
“Tumira siya sa Guimba, Iloilo kaya natuto siya ng Ilonggo,” said Somodio.
The young trainer admitted Pacquiao is even more adept at speaking the dialect than him.
“Mas magaling pa siyang mag-Ilonggo sa akin,” said Somodio. “Yung Karay-a (a language spoken mainly in Antique and Iloilo) alam din niya.”
4. He’s not really afraid of cockroaches, but Pacquiao dreads seeing rats around him.
“Nandidiri yan sa daga,” shared former trainer Emil Romano, recalling once incident at the old L&M gym in Sampaloc when he was still the one in-charge of getting the Filipino southpaw in shape for a fight.
“Dati sa gym, kapag may daga nag-uutos agad si Manny (sa mga boxers) na itapon yun lalo na kapag patay na,” he added.
“Basta pag may nakita yan na daga, patay man o buhay,” gusto niya mawala agad.”
5. Pacquiao has a superb memory, according to Fernandez, his childhood pal and loyal aide.
“Si brod matalas ang memorya niyan,” said Buboy. “Halimbawa magkita kayo ngayon. Tapos after 15 years tsaka ka lang niya uli nakita, maaalala pa rin niya yung time na yun.”
“Pacquiao’s memory was sharper than expected,” wrote Sports Illustrated.com’s Greg Bishop in his beautifully written article in which he interviewed Pacquiao back in L.A. for the Bradley fight while he reflects on the beginning of his legendary career.
“On that random Wednesday, Pacquiao went fight by fight in that way,” read the story as the eight-time world division champion reminisced about every memories of his 25 fights in the U.S.
“He remembered all of them, all the moments that led here.”