Inside the indulgent, dysfunctional, fantasy-like world of Manny P.

picture courtesy of GQ

“He is in the car. I am in the car. Physically we are, both of us, in the car. Still, I wonder.

It’s now January.

In December, I spent a week traversing the Philippine archipelago in a vain attempt to speak with this man. Though it is difficult to arrive at an exact number, it is safe to say that during that week, slightly less than half the national population of 90 million people assured me with a wink that they would get me “in the car” with Manny Pacquiao. But there had been no car. No Manny Pacquiao. (Pronounced like a comic-book sound effect: pack-ee-ow!) I did spend the afternoon of the man’s thirty-first birthday in his living room, playing a series of increasingly aggressive Christmas carols on his Yamaha grand piano in a last-ditch effort to flush him from his bedroom. (It was five in the afternoon. He had risen for the day an hour earlier.) But there was no Manny. At 6 p.m., in a single brisk movement, he descended from the balcony—eerily reminiscent of the one on which Al Pacino dies after screaming, “Say hello to my lee-tle frien’!” in Scarface—and out to a waiting caravan. He brushed my shoulder without looking at me as he passed. Or did he?

Later, I could not shake my suspicion that the shoulder brush, the whole trip, was a dream. A vivid dream, of a place where every soul and every thing was lit from within by the still, small voice of Manny Pacquiao—Manny… Emmanuel…Hebrew for “God is with us”— but where Manny Pacquiao himself was nowhere to be seen…”

— Andrew Corsello, “The Biggest Little Man in the World”
GQ, April 2010

The piece by Corsello about the current Greatest Boxer of All Time reads like a Dickesian-novel. While reading it, I had to go back and look at the GQ masthead to ensure that what I was reading is not a warped-up fiction but an article recounting life with the great Manny Pacquiao.

And the bit about the usual hangers-on, led by former Ilocos Governor Chavit Singson, was simply too crazy for words. Yeah, things like that (penis being hammered on, tigers dying of cardiac arrest due to too much f*ck*ng) really happens in the Philippines.

It’s a strange, hypnotic world — and in it, Manny Pacquiao was God, and you’re just one of the pond scums.

Read the rest of the GQ article here

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