MANILA, Philippines – Amid debates about how his change in faith has affected his performance inside the ring, eight-division boxing champion and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao made it clear that he is sticking with his religious decision.
The boxer celebrated his 34th birthday in General Santos City on Monday, which featured praise and worship numbers and usherettes dressed like angels.
The theme of his party showed his commitment to his faith, and it was attended by his close friends within and outside showbiz and politics -- most of them fellow born-again Christians.
Hosted by actor Cesar Montano, the party was a star-studded bash with Christian singers Kuh Ledesma, Gary Valenciano and his son Gab performing a number of popular worship songs.
Ledesma sang Casting Crown’s “Who Am I” and Michael Smith’s “Above All,” while the Valencianos performed “Shout For Joy.”
Valenciano also sang his inspirational hit, “Warrior is a Child.”
“You have proven yourself not just on the ring but more so outside of the ring. May God bless you more Congressman. The only problem would be where to store the blessings that He has for you,” Valenciano told Pacquiao.
Also present was balladeer Richard Poon, who performed a number of Christmas songs.
International singer David Pomeranz also took the stage and sang his hit single “Got to Believe in Magic.”
|Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano singing "Warior Is A Child" during Manny Pacquiaos 34th birthday.
No dancing from Mommy D
Unlike in previous celebrations, Pacquiao’s mother Dionesia, or Mommy D to many, did not perform a number, saying she cannot do it anymore.
“Ayaw ko mag-dance. Bawal sa akin. Mataas ang uric acid ko. Mahihilo ako. Iniingatan ko ang katawan ko, malapit na ang concert namin ni Imelda (Papin),” she explained.
She, however, joined Pacquiao’s family despite being very vocal about her disapproval of her son’s decision to change his religion.
Apart from his celebrity buddies, Pacquiao’s children also did not let the night pass without offering something for their father.
His kids Jimuel, Michael, Princess, and Queenie also performed some Christian numbers which they dedicated to their dad.
A grateful Pacquiao
Meanwhile, Pacquiao became a little emotional as he thanked those who came out to attend his party.
“Maraming maraming salamat po sa patuloy na pagsuporta niyo sa akin. Nag-uumapaw ang aking pasasalamat sa pagdalo niyo sa aking kaarawan ngayon,” he siad.
|Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao speaks during his 34th birthday celebration.
Pacquiao said he is extremely happy to be surrounded by those who matter to him on his special day, especially after his shocking loss to Mexican boxer Juan Manuel Marquez.
“Pinatunayan ninyo na kahit ano pa man ang kinahinatnan ng aking laban, hindi niyo ako iniwan. Gusto ko malaman niyo na kayo rin ang aking inspirasyon. Kaya nagiging emotional din ako minsan kapag nakikita ko kayong malungkot. Masakit na masakit sa puso ko iyon pero I have to accept it kasi God has a plan,” he said.
Despite his two losses this year inside the ring, the boxing icon said he is overwhelmed by the many blessings that have been coming his way.