SO JANNELLE!: Business as usual for Pacquiao following red carpet hoopla

Pacquiao FaceTimes with wife and daughter: ‘Daddy, we’re reading the Bible!’ Photo by Jannelle So

Pacquiao FaceTimes with wife and daughter: ‘Daddy, we’re reading the Bible!’ Photo by Jannelle So

By Jannelle So

The morning after the March 11 red carpet press conference announcing his upcoming fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Manny Pacquiao was ‘business as usual.’

He jogged from his house to the Pan Pacific Park, doing two rounds; did his stretching and ab workout; and shot some hoops at a nearby court. He ran a little late, arriving at past 6 a.m. when in the past week he would at 5 a.m.

“Napagod siguro kahapon, parang 15 hours kami straight, puro interviews” said Edward Lura, one of the most trusted friends of Pacquiao, and a Team Pacquiao oldtimer. (He probably got tired from yesterday. We had a 15-hour day doing interviews.)

Before his 11 a.m. appearance on the red carpet, Pacquiao, accompanied by Lura and a small entourage, started their day at the ESPN building in L.A. Live.

“Manny went early to the ESPN office to guest in seven different program formats of the station, from news to feature programs, including the high-ratings show of Max Kellerman, ‘SportsNation,’” reported veteran news videographer Rene Casibang who has been covering Pacquiao’s fights since 2005.
He was able to shoot footages of Pacquiao before the press con. “In his comment to Kellerman’s question about him winning, Manny Pacquiao said, ‘You know in boxing, you cannot win if you’re always just on defense. Boxing is about punches, how you connect punches.’”

Outside the Nokia Theater, Pacquiao, who has long been a press favorite because of his accommodating nature and interesting quotes, gamely answered more questions from more than 700 credentialed media members who had been waiting in line to talk to him.

“A football field is 100 yards long. Our carpet was longer,” said Fred Sternburg from Pacquiao’s public relations team.

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao face off for the media. The FilAm Los Angeles photo by Tet Valdez

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao face off for the media. The FilAm Los Angeles photo by Tet Valdez

It took him more than two hours to finish the long press line which included popular Hollywood entertainment television outlets E! and TMZ. Not to be outdone is the Filipino media who came out in full force. Outlets from the Philippines who in the past only sent their coverage teams a week or two before the fight, positioned their own crews. Media giants ABS-CBN and GMA News both went live from the carpet, a dry run of sorts for when the two boxing behemoths finally face each other on May 2nd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“Kaka-iba talaga itong laban na ito. This is the biggest fight of my career, the fight of the century. Dapat ninyong abangan at hindi palampasin,” Pacquiao told us on the red carpet.

He was being whisked off for more live interviews at the end of the line; but graciously stopped to talk to us. (This is a different fight. You should watch out for this and not miss it.)

Inside the theater, understanding the massive hype that the fight is generating, Pacquiao, a devout Christian, took the opportunity to talk about his faith, starting his speech by thanking God for a good weather.

“The fight is on and we will do our best to make you happy,” he continued. “The most important thing is the name of the Lord and the name of the Lord will be glorified. I want to let the people know that there is God who can raise someone from nothing into something. That’s me, that’s me, I came from nothing into something. I owe everything to God. He gave me this blessing. It’s all praise to the Lord.”

At breakfast, the following day, Pacquiao went on with giving homage to God, even while icing his left leg due to cramps: “Everything has a purpose. Everything happens for a reason,” he said, smiling all the time.

The meal spread at the dining table inside his residence in Los Angeles consisted of lunch dishes – rice; ‘tinola’ or chicken ginger soup; ‘pinakbet,’ which is an Ilocano vegetable dish; and fried beef meat, or ‘tapa.’ Pacquiao ate a plateful of rice, soaked in ‘tinola’ broth and mixed with the beef meat. He capped off the carbohydrates-rich meal with banana.

But the meal even started, his phone rang. His wife, Vice Governor of Sarangani province Jinkee Pacquiao, and their daughter Queenie were on the other line, wanting to FaceTime.

“Daddy, we’re reading the Bible,” said 6-year old Queenie.

“What verse did you learn?” Pacquiao asked his daughter.

“I am your God who brought you out of Egypt,” Pacquiao’s fourth child quoted a verse from Exodus.

Pacquiao then told Jinkee to remind their sons Jimwell and Michael to read the Bible.

“That’s the only investment we can invest for them” he told his wife. “Teach them the Bible and about God.”

Jannelle So is credited for creating, hosting and producing America’s first and only locally-produced daily talk show for Filipinos, ‘Kababayan L.A.,’ that ran for 8 ½ years under her leadership, making it the longest-running Filipino talk show outside of the Philippines. On her spare time, she loves to travel. This new column will document her sojourns as she shares what she learns and discovers along the way. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; or email her at

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