Monday, May 18, 2009

And now, it's Pac-Mom

Along with her son's rise to ultimate stardom, Aling Dionisia has recently acquired celebrity status - undeniably.

For those who are not exactly Philippine-based, yes, you read it right - Dionisia Pacquiao, Manny Pacquiao's mother, and better known as Aling Dionisia, is now a celebrity on this side of the planet. We may have seen her before, occasionally featured when Manny has an upcoming boxing event, but we all have to admit that she has never been this famous. Her star is shining as bright as ever, that it is almost a threat to her son's popularity. But of course, that is just to nail the point that the mother has become famous as the son. Behind every man's success is a woman, and in Manny's case, it's his mother. (Yes, Jinkee too, alright...and probably, hmmm...never mind.)

In case you have been living in a cave, or got a sudden bout of amnesia, Manny "PacMan" Pacquiao is currently the IBO and Ring Magazine Light Welterweight champion and is rated by the Ring Magazine as the Number 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world. He is also the first boxer to win the lineal championship ("the man who beat the man") in four different weight classes. His professional boxing record: 49 wins (37 knock-outs, 12 decisions), 3 losses, 2 draws. He recently put Britain's pride, Rikki "The Hitman" Hatton (and his boxing career, more likely) to deep sleep on the boxing ring in Mandalay Bay, in Las Vegas, last May 3, blowing up his net worth to a whooping USD 50M, an amount of money most of us will not even get to hold in our lifetime.

Back to Aling Dionisia, during the evening of May 15, every news program in the country featured her dream birthday bash, like there's no tomorrow, almost like the way members of the media do when they air out blow-by-blow accounts of his son's fights. Her birthday bash, which was held in General Santos City, revolved on a debutante's theme, and was entitled, Sweet 60. The debutante (let's give Nanay a chance), wore no less than five expensive gowns which she brought during her shopping spree in the United States. Everybody was dying to find out whether she will wear her Php. 300,000.00 Rolex wristwatch which is a gift from equally famous daughter-in-law Jinkee, or whether she will show off her new Louis Vitton handbag worth Php. 150,000.00.

Suddenly, everyone is aching to get a look at or know the price tag of everything that Aling Dionisia owns. If money talks, popularity and power would be its official language, both of which Aling Dionisia now has in her hands. Secretly, every personality, both coming from the political arena and from the world of show business, is probably wanting to be on the list of guests who are invited to the party.

For the politically-inclined, it would be useful to be seen around Aling Dionisia. A little exposure of being seen with someone like her (who would probably be the last person they would ever think of had it not been for her son's status) would do some good, especially that the 2010 elections is just around the corner.

For those in showbiz, for whatever it's worth, going to Pac-Mom's birthday bash will give a boost to their careers or may breathe life to a showbiz career which is badly needing some resuscitation.

I read on a national daily that no less than Imelda Marcos is among those who are invited to the party. Wow - I thought - not because I was starstrucked or shocked but because I was amused with the way destiny plays its way in this game called life.

Let's travel back through time.

1970's. Imelda Marcos is a household name. Elegant, beautiful, powerful, rich. She is seen all around television, whether she is busying herself seeing her projects to completion or dancing with almost every diplomat who comes to visit the country. She waddles in money, owning precious and flawless jewelry, a number of Philippine ternos, and her famous collection of shoes, roughly 3,000+ pairs of them, some of which haven't even touched the tip of her toenails. Everybody, including the most powerful man in the country, is at her beck and call. She's everything a man/woman/child wants to be. She is a god.

Still in the 70's, from the north, let's move to the south. Meet Aling Dionisia, a poor, ordinary, prayerful street vendor in General Santos City. She sells kakanin (the Filipino term for street foods) in front of a public school here. At the end of the day, if all her goods don't get sold, Aling Dionisia walks around the neighborhood, just so she could sell all her kakanin.

She was abandoned by her husbands - there were two of them - and left her with a number of mouths to feed including that of the Pambansang Kamao (National Fist), Manny's. Probably, the word dirt-poor is Aling Dionisia personified. She's every poor man's ugly reality. Nobody wants to be her.

Fast-forward to the future, which is actually the present. Aling Dionisia is seen all over the television without the slightest hint of the kakanin vendor that she was. You would think that was her past life, literally. I imagine every cameraman would be yelled at by his anchor in case he misses to capture Aling Dionisia on video as she shows off her own boxing moves. You could tell, by the way she throws her punches in the air, "May pinagmanahan talaga 'tong si Manny" (Manny indeed got his boxing prowess from his mother.) On the other hand, you wonder and ask, and slap yourself at the same time, "Am I really looking at Aling Dionisia, or is this just Manny sporting a longer hair?"

Every cameraman would probably be scolded at if he didn't catch Aling Dionisia praying fervently like there's no tomorrow, while her son is in the boxing ring. Video clips featuring Manny Pacquiao would never be complete unless they include scenes showing his mother in deep prayer all throughout the fight. I saw one where she just collapsed without warning when in the middle of her prayers, someone approached her and whispered in her ear that the boxing fight was over and that Manny won. She was on her knees, in front of the altar, and she suddenly lost her consciousness and I quivered because to me it looked like she was about to have some kind of an episode. Good for her she has a lot of kasambahay (housemates) to catch her and cradle her head on their palms to keep it from hitting the concrete floor.

The loss of consciousness didn't last very long, probably it lasted for only a few seconds. I gave out a sigh of relief as she regained consciousness as fast as she lost it , without rolling her eyeballs and with no foamy white liquid coming out from her mouth. But the next time I looked, Aling Dionisia was already jumping because of happiness. She was jumping and shouting, jumping and shouting, shouting and jumping - both her hands held tightly by the kasambahay as if to keep her from hitting her head on the ceiling in case she jumps so high enough. By that time, I was really hoping I was not witnessing some kind of an episode.

I imagine every cameraman would get some nagging if he missed Aling Dionisia while she is applying powder on her face, or while she is applying lipstick (Hey, i saw that on national television! I'm not kidding!) or while she is showing off what she learned in her ballroom dancing classes. Truly, Aling Dionisia has become a scoop.

As for Imelda, uhmm..who? She may still be famous but probably not as famous as she was before. She is rarely in the news, and these days, everybody is not as interested with what she does, what she owns, who she's with, what she wears, and maybe even where she's at. She has become a victim of what most Filipinos are good at - forgetting. You decide whether that worked to her advantage or not but after all that she's been through -and more importantly, after what the Filipino people had been through because of her (and her husband), probably the only thing we (all want to) remember her by is the word Imeldific.

Before Nanay Dionesia's - uhmm, I mean Nanay Dionisia's party began, (she strictly clarified that she is Dionisia with an I and not Dionesia with an E) no word had been sent from the former first lady's camp whether she was going to Aling Dionisia's party or not. That was the least of Pac-Mom's worries, actually, since she had somebody to take charge of the invitations. (Ganyan ka-sosyal ang lola, mo, te!) Whether those who came were celebrities, political bigwigs - all has- beens and wannabes - or not, Aling Dionisia didn't seem to care at all. During her interviews before the party, she talked mostly about the gowns she would be wearing and her dance numbers. It was crystal clear that Aling Dionisia just wanted to enjoy her party and dance the night away with abandon. She couldn't worry less about who's coming or not, because she has done her share of worrying before. Besides, her life now is probably and relatively worry-free compared when it was a few years back. What else can one expect, she has acquired (almost-) Imeldific status. But hey, - we all know, she deserves a better word than that.


  1. this is professional-caliber writing doc! way to go... )

  2. True, True, how the world turns... Aling Dionesia deserves her time in the limelight. I don't resent her eccentricity. Everyone is entitled to it. :-)


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