The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao comes home today to a nation proud of what he has achieved, being the greatest fighter of the era with record seven world titles in seven different weight classes.
Pacquiao boarded a Philippine Airlines plane that took off at the Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday evening (LA time) and should arrive in Manila at around 5 a.m.
Pacquiao traveled with his wife, Jinkee, and an entourage made up of family members and friends in politics and show business.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Harry Angping was tapped by President Arroyo to head the welcoming committee, and the former Manila congressman has made sure it’s something big.
From the airport, Pacquiao will be brought to the Renaissance Hotel for a brief rest. Then he proceeds to the Quiapo Church for a Thanksgiving Mass, then to the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) office to pay a courtesy call on the DENR Secretary Lito Atienza, whom he looks up to as his second father.
As a tradition, a hero’s motorcade will begin at 10 a.m. from the DENR that will go around Metro Manila’s major thoroughfares as a fitting tribute to Pacquiao whom Atienza says “has proven time and again that we, Filipinos, have what it takes to be on top.
GMA-7 has also lined up a victory party for the Filipino icon at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
At 3 p.m., Pacquiao will proceed to the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta where President Arroyo will confer another award to the 30-year-old boxer whose ring exploits have put the Philippines on the center of the map.
Angping said the Luneta event, dubbed “Parangal kay Manny sa Luneta,” is open to the public. He called on all Pacquiao fans to join in the celebration.
In the past, Pacquiao met the President in Malacañang on the day of his arrival, but Angping said holding it in Luneta will give the people the chance to be closer to the champion.
Angping hailed Pacquiao as the greatest living example of how athletes, and the Filipino people in general, should strive in search of glory.
“Pacquiao epitomizes resiliency, hardwork, discipline and dedication to overcome all difficulties in life,” said Angping, who recently arrived from an official trip abroad.
“The strong-willed character should be imbibed by every Filipino in order for us to also be a winner in everything we do,” he said, hoping that Pacquiao’s latest achievement could spark the RP bets to the Laos SEA Games in December.
“I’ve always told our national athletes to look at Manny Pacquiao. Who was Manny Pacquiao a few years ago and who is he now?” said the PSC chairman.
The motorcade route will kick off at the DENR central office and turn right to Quezon Ave, straight to España, right to Lacson, left to Pritil, right to Moriones, left to R10, straight to Roxas Blvd, left to Pedro Gil, right to Taft, left to Buendia, right to Ayala, left to Makati Ave, and end at the Pag-Ibig Building.