Manny Pacquiao, full name Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao, was born and raised in Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines.
Pacquiao is a devout Catholic. This is no surprise considering that Catholicism is the dominant religion of The Philippines. But this wasn’t always the case. As one of the most successful boxers of all time, Pacquiao was lured into that hedonistic lifestyle that comes so easily to the rich and famous.
At one point, Pacquiao owned a casino in The Philippines and a large-scale cockfighting ring. He admits to having a gambling and a sex addiction as well.
But Pacquiao’s moral center kicked in, he grew weary of the high life and cheating on his wife, and he turned to God and the Bible. He says:
I learned how to obey and follow the manual of your life that is the Bible.
Now, Pacquiao’s faith seems to drive and affect every aspect of his life. He calls himself a “God-fearing, Bible-toting and quoting” man and frequently says during interviews:
When I die, I know where I’m going.
That would be heaven, I assume?
Pacquiao’s celebrity in The Philippines is such that before he even entered politics, he was making a powerful positive difference in his country. The Philippines has a long history of violent conflict between the Catholic majority and the Muslim minority. But when a Pacquiao fight was on, none of this mattered. It has been reported that during any Pacquiao boxing match, violence in The Philippines came to a standstill and the crime rate dropped to zero.
It’s truly a beautiful thing that a man that can unite such disparate groups would go into politics and Pacquaio has shown a real passion for his people and his country. He once said:
I believe this world needs new heroes. The biggest fight in my life is not in boxing but it is now to end poverty in my country.
Socially and politically, Pacquiao is a liberal. His first (and failed) bid for public office was as a member of the Filipino Liberal Party. He ran again in a different district in 2010, but this time as a member of the Nacionalista Party. However, the Nacionalista is generally considered the Filipino Liberal Party’s rival and is comparable to the American Republican Party.
Still, Pacquiao seems rather liberal and might have only run on the Nacionalista ticket out of necessity. He has weighed in on American politics, always endorsing liberal Democrats like California governor Jerry Brown and Nevada Senator Harry Reid.