BOXING hero Manny Pacquiao arrives on Fiday morning from Los Angeles without much fanfare as the nation observed Good Friday.
The 35-year-old Filipino ring great will be arriving on board Philippine Airlines flight 103 just before dawn at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2, almost a week since reclaiming the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title from Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
With him during the 13-hour straight flight are members of his immediate family including parents Mommy Dionisia and Rosalio Pacquiao, relatives, and friends.
The camp of the fighting congressman of Sarangani province initially thought of resetting Pacquiao’s arrival to Easter Sunday to give Filipinos the chance give the country’s sports icon a hero's welcome.
But it was the eight-time world champion himself who insisted the group carry on with its original departure plan as he already misses his family, including wife Jinkee who is scheduled to give birth in the final week of the month.
“Miss na miss ko na rin kasi ang pamilya ko,” said Pacquiao, who finally avenged his controversial split decision loss to Bradley two years ago when he inflicted the American his first career loss via unanimous decision on Saturday night (Sunday Manila time).
Pacquiao personally talked to Jinkee over the phone inside his dressing room shortly after the 56th win of his pro career.
“Nag-iiyakan nga sila sa bahay,” he said when asked how the scenario was in the Pacquiao household shortly following the payback win.
Prior to his departure for Manila, Pacquiao went on a last-minute shopping spree to buy presents for his family especially children Emmanuel, Jimwell, Princess, and Queen Elizabeth, before heading straight to the Los Angeles Tom Bradley International Airport for his 11 p.m. flight.
The Filipino made some buzz at the airport as fans sought out autographs and fotos of the future Hall of Famer.
But he failed to meet up with Olympic skater Michael Martinez, who is also on his way back to Manila following a successful campaign in Slovenia.
The 17-year-old figure skater instead, had his selfie taken with Manny's mother, the celebrated Mommy Dionisia.
Pacquiao will be staying in Manila for just a night and will be heading to General Santos City Saturday to be with his family.