In Cagayan de Oro, the city stood still, too, for Pacquiao

By Jaime A. Frias II/MindaNews contributor

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/14 November) – Like other cities in the country, this city also stood still as Manny Pacquiao pummeled his Mexican  opponent, Antonio Margarito, for the World Boxing Council super welterweight title in Texas Saturday night (Sunday noon in the Philippines).

The streets were empty as motorela, jeepney and taxi drivers stopped plying their route and joined the well-dressed middle class families at the malls, gyms, restaurants and barangay halls to watch the boxing fight.

Those who did not like to pay watched the fight on television in their houses or their neighbors’.

Some taxi drivers like Lito Torremocha plied the streets to take advantage of the lack of cabs.

“Naka-ginansya na hinoon ko kay gamay ra man namasahero,” (I earned much because only a few of us continued driving ),  he said.

A small crowd gathered at the Freedom Kiosk in Divisoria to watch the fight on the TV set provided by the City Government.

Many fans, however, went to the covered court in Barangay Macasandig where local officials placed five TV sets at the center. An estimated 5,000 residents crowded the court, many of them cheering for Pacquiao.

Never mind if the TV sets were not plasma or bigger than 24-inch sets. It did not matter, too, if the  sunlight blurred the screen.

“We really wanted to see the fight,” said a Macasandig resident.

Nemercia Neri, chair of the Macasandig Women’s  Development Council said their cooperative made a killing selling baked siopao to the spectators.

She said they sold 1,000 siopaos at P15 each in less than three hours.

The gym at Xavier University was also filled capacity by boxing fans, who paid P30 to watch the fight on giant screens. (Jaime A. Frias II is the chair of Barangay 23. Before his election, Frias was a sports reporter of Sunstar Cagayan de Oro and Sunstar Cebu.)