By Marivir R. Montebon
Guess who came to the holiday party for the Fil-Am Press Club of New York tendered by Ambassador Mario de Leon Jr.? World boxing champ and Philippine congressman Manny Pacquiao!
We literally dropped our forks and knives to welcome Manny last Friday, January 16, at the residence of the Consul General of New York on Madison Avenue. He is here to promote his documentary film “Manny” and to judge the Miss Universe beauty pageant in Florida.
The documentary film is written and directed by neophyte Filipino-American director Ryan Moore who also came to the party. Interestingly, he financed his project all by himself, straddling the US and the Philippines to shoot with Manny, admitting that he often got broke along the way. But I wanted to pursue this dream, and I just had to, he said. Actor Liam Neeson graciously accepted his proposal to do the narration for the film.
During the brief press conference, Makilala TV’s Jen Furer asked Manny what would he advice a 13-year-old fan. Manny replied, “I am not going to advice him to be a boxer because it is tough. I don’t encourage my children to follow my footsteps.”
Manny however told the press that he is ready to sign a contract with Floyd Mayweather for a much anticipated fight this year.
The boxing champ did not linger for dinner but stretched his time with us and the Consular staff for pictorials and a lot of selfies.
Soon after he left, the party continued with the usual banter and laughter of press people. I shared the table with freelance journalist Sharon Adarlo, The FilAm editor Cristina DC Pastor, and Lenn Almadin-Thornhill of Rappler.
I enjoyed the Spanish-introduced Filipino cuisine sea food paella and lengua, and very little of lechon. But the dessert was tops…cheesecake with a lemony flare and buko pandan salad!
The night was fleeting in the midst of our frenzied conversations. Sharon talked about her ordeal and excitement over her first trimester pregnancy, while Crien and I shared lamentations on Manny’s absenteeism in Congress and his attitude towards it.
Ambassador de Leon’s message to us, which was to acknowledge the achievements and good deeds of Filipinos through the media resonates well. We are after all, getting more and more visible these days, being the second largest Asian population in the US.
Overall, it was great night to brrremember despite the cold. (Photos by Felix Manuel, Noel Pangilinan, and Sharon Adarlo)