The ‘Manny’ Event

Manny Pacquiao

I am not usually a big follower of boxing except when it comes to Manny Pacquiao.  I have not actually watched an entire fight live but have followed two or three on a Yahoo text feed.  The reason I root for the “Pac-man” is twofold.  One, he is a great athlete that is not interested in becoming extremely rich.  He wants to help the poor people in his country.  He has taken his fame and riches and is giving them back to the community where he was born.  To me, that is extremely admirable.  My second reason is my girlfriend who is Filipino and lives in the Philippines.  She is the most wonderful person I have known.  Maria and I met nine years ago on line and our communications have been nearly every day since that day in February 2002.

My Maria grew up in a neighborhood on the Montenegro farming plantation near Bais City in the Province of Negros Oriental.  These neighborhoods are called barangays and are the smallest political division in the Philippines.  The word is derived from the Spanish word barrio.  The people living in the barangay are the farm workers and their families.  The land belongs to the Montenegro family.  The houses are mostly nipa hut construction from bamboo and coconut palm leaves or concrete block or a combination of both.  Manny grew up in a similar neighborhood I imagine.  Maria is the sixth of eight children, the first four are older sisters, then a brother, and two younger brothers.  They lost their father when she was five years old and at that point everyone who could had to work to support the family.  However they made sure the younger children were to continue their education.

Maria has worked very hard all of her life, has always been very poor, life has been very difficult but yet she’s like one of the most naturally happy people that I have ever met.  She has persevered throughout her life and still has a positive, hopeful outlook.  Much like Manny Pacquiao when he fights, he perseveres to the end and seems to get even tougher and almost unbeatable.  I have come to admire these people greatly.  I am often surprised by the wisdom that Maria has when we are talking and I have been in a low mood.  She always comes up with something very wise to help me out.  Not only that but, her big smile and laugh always can bring me up. I love her dearly.

I think I have learned a lot from Maria and watching Manny.  No matter what life throws at you, you should never give up, be as positive as possible because you have been blessed with family or friends, be happy and smile.  I have been blessed with family and friends and with my special friend and love Maria.  She was an answer to my prayers, a miracle.  I have also been blessed with a longer life than expected from someone with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).  Maria and I are hoping for yet another miracle… to be together one day soon.  Everyone please pray that we are given that chance.  In the meantime, we will persevere and stay positive as we work through the obstacles that keep us apart.

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