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Manny’s bad dreams

By: Jobers R. Bersales May 07,2015 - 01:10 PM

I am tempted to visit the great Manny Pacquiao in Los Angeles as we go about launching the book “Pagsulay: Churches of Bohol Before and After the Earthquake of 2013,” published by the University of San Carlos Press last year. I left with a team composed of the president of the University of San Carlos, Fr. Dionisio M. Miranda, SVD and USC’s vice president for finance, Fr. Jun Rebayla, SVD, who also collaborated on the photography of the churches that were damaged or destroyed by the tremor in 2013.

After the launch, we hope to proceed to Los Angeles to meet with USC Alumni, the same place where Manny Pacquiao will undergo surgery  to repair the damage to his right shoulder.

While I harbor no pretensions that we will ever meet—and we’ve never even met before anyway—I have been imagining what would happen if indeed Manny gets to the presidency of the Philippines.

For one, he would have added another first to his list of accomplishments, that of being the first from Mindanao to become the country’s president.

On his first day in office, therefore, I am pretty certain Mindanao would be first on his mind. I can even grant that his first order of business would be to issue Administrative Order No. 1, which would necessarily have to do with developing Mindanao, never mind if he puts his wife, Jinkee, or his mother, Aling Dionisia, at the helm of this noble goal.

Alas also on his first day in office, Manny would also have to contend with a loss of billions of his hard-earned money in a grueling campaign that would pit him against Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas and another Mindanaoan, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City. He must soon wonder whether it was worth the risk of spending the billions he earned from being punched left and right while, of course, punching the puncher, also left and right. Like all other Filipino politicians before him, he must soon wonder how he will ever get his money back.

And then, from morning till dusk, he will soon get all kinds of visitors begging for all kinds of help, people who will wow him with stories of how they protected his ballots and made him win in their precincts. Alas, the day is not yet over for him. For late at night come the tempters, people dangling all kinds of projects, tempting him to approve them with the promise of gradually recouping his lost billions.

Pretty soon, Manny will be in a dilemma: whether to save the nation first, or first get back his spent billions and then save the nation if there is still time left. On one side, he sees starving millions looking for jobs, begging for him to fulfill his campaign promise to end poverty; on the other, are the billions in cash that are within his reach, if only he gives up on his principles.

Fortunately for Manny, it is all just a bad dream. He wakes up the following day and the pain in his shoulder is gone. The operation has been a sweet success. And now he can fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. once again and earn more and more billions. But first, the taxwoman, Kim Henares, ax in hand, beckons. Is this another bad dream?

* * *

For the past month, I have been in contact with Fr. Arnold Zamora, a priest from Bohol now based in San Francisco, to fulfill a promise made last year to bring the Pagsulay book to the US.

Fr. Arnold was referred to me by another Boholano priest, also based in San Francisco, Fr. Eugene Tungol who would have wanted to help launch the book but had to be in Tagbilaran for a much-needed vacation.  Fr. Arnold contacted Dianne Sarmago, the cultural affairs officer of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco and voilà! Within days, the consulate was happy to announce that it would host the launch on Friday,  May 8, at the Philippine Center in San Francisco.

This will hopefully be a good start in a series of book launches and photo exhibits about the churches of Bohol that were damaged by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake. The next launch will be in Pittsburgh on May 16 and 17 at various churches, courtesy of Dr. Aurora Miranda, together with Rodel and Becky Quemado.

Then the Philippine Consulate in New York will also host the launch there on the 22nd at 6 p.m. – an event ably handled by my good friend Marivir Montebon. The following day, another launch will then ensue at the famous Payag Restaurant in Queens owned by Rena Avendula. Thank you to Rufo Escabarte, by the way, who will fetch us in Newark, New Jersey for the New York launch.
If you are in any of these cities during these dates, please join us and buy copies of the book as a form of donation to help rebuild churches in Bohol. If you are a Carolinian alumna or alumnus, I also urge you to be with us on these events so we can plan out future alumni meetings, projects and ventures.

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TAGS: Bisaya, Manny Pacquiao, Pacman

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