Father's Day for Manny Pacquiao meant spending time away from his family - and in the company of his flood-stricken constituents in the province of Sarangani.
Boxing’s only eight-time world champion had his hands full on Sunday as he personally monitored the devastation wrought by last week’s deadly flash floods in his adopted province, and led in distributing relief goods to families hit by the calamity.
The 33-year-old boxer, who’s the lone representative of Sarangani in Congress, arrived in the province with hardly any fanfare after declining elaborate plans by officials to hold a hero’s welcome.
The Philippine pride arrived in a private plane and was in the province as early as 10 a.m. He was welcomed at the General Santos airport by his mother Dionisia, sister Liza, General Santos City Mayor Darlene Custodio, Gensan First District Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. and other local officials.
Toting a Bible, Pacquiao said his prayer first before answering questions from the local media during a short press conference.
The billionaire athlete said he had to cut short his US vacation with wife Jinkee and children Michael, Jimuel, Princess, and Queen Elizabeth to personally extend his help to those affected by the flash floods.
Pacquiao added being away from his children and loved ones especially on Father’s Day saddened him, but at the same time stressed that he also has a job to do as father of the entire Sarangani province.
“Kahit malayo ka sa pamilya mo, kailangan mong tiisin dahil kailangan ko rin naman gampanan ang pagiging ama ko ng Sarangani,” said Pacquiao, who arrived in the country on Saturday fresh from a stunning loss via split decision to American Timothy Bradley.
After the presscon, Pacquiao visited the town of Glan, the hardest hit by the raging floods which has been put under a state of calamity, and conferred with Mayor Victor James Yap about the extent of the damage.
Barangay Cross in the town of Glan suffered the most casualties, with around 250 families affected by the calamity.
Pacquiao is expected to return to the US this week and resume his short vacation with his family.
Part of his itinerary when he goes back to Los Angeles is shooting scenes for the Hollywood movie Brass Knuckles starring Fil-Am actor Rob Schneider. A trip to the Holy Land by the whole Pacquiao family is also being arranged by Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who labels the tour as equal to a 'state visit.’