In faraway Sibutu, they have yet to watch Manny’s fight

SIBUTU, Tawi-tawi (MindaNews/13 November)  — Manny Pacquiao’s victory in his fight against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez may have earned jeers more than cheers but not for majority of the residents of this island town who have yet to watch the 12-round match because electricity here is only from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Susan Cocjin Indin, 46, an Ilongga married to a native of Sibutu, said “problema talaga pag walang koryente, hindi tayo makapanood nga laban ni Manny. Kung nandito lang yan si Congressman Nur Jaafar, may koryente yan.” (It’s a problem if there’s no electricity because we can’t watch the fight of Manny). “If Congressman Nur Jaafar were here, there would be electricity even at daytime,” she said.

Majority of the residents here learned about Pacquiao’s victory through text message from friends in the capital town of Bongao and from a few residents who own generators and who managed to watch the fight, with their neighbors watching as well.

Indin said they are hoping the boxing match would be replayed Sunday evening when the  Tawi-tawi Electric Cooperative (Tawelco) switches on the generator at 6 p.m. The generator is shut down by 11 p.m.

Sibutu, a four-year old town carved out of Sitangkai, is a three-hour ride on a small boat from Bongao. There is only one trip per day.

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Elsewhere in Mindanao, restaurant owners cashed in on the Pacquiao-Marquez fight through special offers. Politicians from across the island also took advantage of the fight by sponsoring free viewing, some offering even free meals.

In Malaybalay City, Malaybalay City cashed in on the third of the Pacqiao-Marquez trilogy.

Those who did not go to the free live screening viewed it in restaurants and even in eateries.

Mindy’s Restaurant charged P100 with free beer and peanuts.

Sir Edward’s KTV charged P100 for entrance to the main viewing hall.  The smaller halls cost P150 per person.

The management offered private rooms for P2,000 consumables but  later changed the terms as there were no takers.

In the restaurant, all seats for the P175 package of  viewing and lunch, were sold out.

An eatery in Sumpong charged P20 to P75 per head for entrance fee.

But for most who did not go to the free and paid public viewing sites, they waited for the free television coverage of the fight, where Pacquiao was declared winner close to 4 p.m.,. more than two hours after Pacquiao was declared winner.

In Cagayan de Oro City, Barangay Lapasan offered free viewing in the covered court, courtesy of  a business entity.

An estimated 4,000 gathered at the court to watch and receive free burgers with “Pambansang Kamao” ring band.

“It’s the first time I encounter a free (viewing) with burger and Pacquiao ring band,” said Jake Gonzales, a resident of the barangay.

Hand fans were also distributed prior to the fight.

Other basrangays offered free viewing. So did the city government in the public markets in Cogon and Carmen.

In Xavier University Gymnasium, some 5,000 Cagayanons came to watch.

Outside, enterprising residents looked after the parked motorcycles, charging P10 each. (Jules Benitez with reports from Walter Balane and James Frias)