MANNY Pacquiao arrived in Manila early on Wednesday to a warm welcome from countrymen who felt for him after the most devastating loss of his career and hang on to his word that, "We will rise again."
Back in the country three days after his stunning sixth-round knockout defeat at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas, boxing's only eight-division champion arrived at dawn in a Philippine Airlines flight in the company of wife Jinkee and several relatives and friends.
Pacquiao was met at the airport by Vice-President Jejomar Binay and was greeted by confetti, balloons, and a choir as he made his way inside Midas Hotel, the ring hero's first stopover after his arrival.
Before hundreds of supporters that cheered his every word, Pacquiao reiterated his desire to get back in the ring and face his Mexican foe again.
“Gusto ko kasi mapasaya ko lagi mga kababayan natin. Kaya nung nakita ko nag-iyakan sila, doon din ako nasakatan,” Pacquiao said, speaking before media inside the airport. “Talagang ganun ang buhay natin. Don’t worry. We will rise again.”
Among his first acts upon his arrival was pledge P10 million to the relief efforts for victims of super typhoon 'Pablo.'
“Maraming salamat sa pagtanggap sa amin. Para sa akin, treasure ko ’tong moment na to. Mahalaga sa amin na nandito pa rin kayo nagmamahal sa amin,” Jinkee said.
“Maraming salamat sambayanang Pilipino. Tatanawin naming malaking utang na loob ito,” added Manny, who turns 34 on December 17, as he received an early birthday cake from the hotel staff.
From Midas hotel, the Pacquiaos proceeded to their house in Laguna to celebrate the birthday of one of their sons, Michael. The boxing superstar was set to attend a televised tribute by home network GMA 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena later in the day.
Pacquiao, however, dispensed with tradition and skipped his usual visit to the Quiapo church in Manila where he used to attend a thanksgiving mass each time he arrives from a fight overseas.