GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 December) – It is oft said that if you cannot make your first million before reaching the age of 35, you can kiss your millionaire dreams goodbye.
Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is no longer chasing that dream. He made his first million a decade ago, his first billion a couple of years ago or so. He realized his coveted dream of becoming a member of Congress last year. He is now plotting his political career towards occupying higher positions in government. And if his promoter Bob Arum will have his way, Pacquiao could end up in Malacanang as president a decade from now.
That is not wishful thinking.
Pacquiao turns 33 today, the age bracket when most men in history achieve their greatness.
Our very own Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio were barely in their 30s when they gave their lives for the First Philippine Revolution. Emilio Jacinto, the Revolution’s youngest general was not even in his 30s when he died in the Battle of Tirad Pass. He was 24.
The first president of the United States, George Washington, was already an accomplished general in the colonial army while just in his early 30s and became the head of state a decade later.
Napoleon Bonaparte became the emperor of France at 35.
Jesus Christ was crucified at the age of 32 or thereabouts.
At 33, Pacquiao already has all ordinary Filipino could ask for, nay, even ever dream of.
But young as he is, Pacquiao still has a long way to go “before he sleeps” to paraphrase his inaugural speech at the House of Representatives.
Boxing-wise, he still has one more opponent to conquer before he can finally say it is time to bid his favorite sports adieu.
There is virtually nothing he still can wish for on his birthday except a gift from chief rival Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather stole Pacquiao’s Christmas two years ago when, just as the fight deal was about to be signed, the flamboyant and egocentric American suddenly tried to impose his ludicrous will on the Filipino beak buster.
Mayweather virtually stole the candy out of Pacquiao Christmas socks, including mine.
Now, Pacquiao is again wishing Mayweather will finally gift him with the fight every sports lover around the globe would die to see.
How I wish Santa Claus will make Pacquiao’s wishes finally come true.
But I also have some wishes for Pacquiao.
I wish he will drop his ‘Ninong’ brand in his TV show Many Money Manny and just be the Manny Pacquiao that he was in 2002 when he started to dole out rice and canned good outside his old house in Labangal, General Santos City.
I wish he can still be the same Manny that had his house open to all visitors and comers.
I wish he will no longer be toting around more than a phalanx of overzealous armed burly bodyguards that made him inaccessible to ordinary fans and supporters.
I wish he drops people with shady characters around him.
I wish he finally and truly becomes a family man.
All things considered, happy birthday to him. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Edwin G. Espejo writes for the asiancorrespondent.com)