For many years, people who send money to the Philippines were transferring funds to a country whose economic engine was largely represented by farmers. But as a recent article published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reveals, farmers in the country aren't nearly as prevalent as they once were.
According to the UN's news and analysis source IRIN, fewer Filipino people who are still in their younger ages or choosing to enter the agricultural market, opting instead to seek out education for jobs in the city, working in an office or in an industrial setting.
Asterio Saliot, director of the agriculture department at the Agricultural Training Institute, told the news source that the farming industry could be in a predicament over the next decade or so, mainly because so few Filipinos are choosing a career path of tending to the fields.
"The average age of the Filipino farmer is 57," said Saliot. "Assuming an average lifespan of 70, we might reach a critical [shortage] of farmers in just 15 years."
Kala Pulido-Constantino, who serves as the communications coordinator in the Philippines with the international confederation Oxfam, indicated that the dearth of farmers in the country may be a self-inflicted wound.
"We didn't pay enough attention to the agricultural sector because we thought that we could always import our food if we couldn't grow it ourselves," Pulido-Constantino told IRIN.
This may stem from the government putting fewer resources toward buoying the agricultural industry in the Philippines. IRIN points out that based on statistics from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, more than one-tenth of the Philippines' gross domestic product derives from farming. But in 2011, less than 5 percent of government investment went toward this sector.
Something else that's had an impact on the Philippines agricultural sector is the pace at which young people are leaving parts of the country where farming is common. IRIN notes that because certain industries bring in more money than others – such as commercial and industrial – some families are choosing to move to more urban locations where these opportunities are more available, such as in Manila.
Benefits of farming need to be emphasized
Jose Rene Gayo, president of the non-governmental organization Foundation for People Development, noted that what the Filipino people and the government need to do is make farming an industry worthy of pursuing.
"We must now change the mindset of the younger generation and make farming appealing for them," said Gayo.
This may come through promoting the fringe benefits of farm life, such as being able to work in the outdoors and generate a larger profit margin by advertising to businesses in need of fresh produce.
IRIN's report shouldn't necessarily suggest that farming is a dying industry in the Philippines. According to the Philippines' BAS, the agricultural sector expanded by nearly 3 percent in 2012, led by poultry, livestock and crop farmers. In addition, overall crop production increased by more than 4 percent last year, accounting for more than half of total agricultural yield. Some of the biggest crop yields were corn and palay producing 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, more than in 2011. Palay is what rice is before it's been husked.
In addition to palay, some of the main crops the Philippines produce for the country and for other parts of the world include corn, sugarcane, coconut, bananas, pineapple, coffee beans and mangoes.
When the Philippines' native son and boxing hero Manny Pacquiao is away from the ring, much of his time is devoted to family responsibilities as he and his wife, Maria Geraldine Jamora – otherwise known as "Jinkee" – have four children. And as many people would expect, given the amount of money he makes in boxing, his home may be best described as luxurious.
Recently, Yes! magazine published a feature story on Pacquiao's new home in General Santos City, featured on the front page of the February issue. The headline reads "Manny and Jinkee's White House."
The in-depth story, which is more than 30 pages in length, gives readers an up close and personal look into the home life of Pacquiao, along with the creature comforts of his new digs, which have been dubbed "Mansion 2." Not far from his new home is Mansion 1.
Outside of the home, Pacquiao can be found out working for the Filipino people, as since 2007, the Fighting Congressman has served as a representative of the 1st District of South Cotabato. And in a few short months, his constituents will go to the polls to decide whether they want to re-elect Pacquiao for a third term as their representative.
And with many observers projecting he'll win, Pacquiao may not be working alone. His wife is expected to run for office as well – a fact that may have escaped the attention of Filipinos working in the U.S. to send money to their native land.
Pacquiao's wife new to the world of politics
As reported by multiple Filipino news outlets and international news agencies at the time, Jinkee will run for the vice governorship of the Sarangani province. When asked why she intended to run in October, she said her husband was her inspiration.
"I will continue what Manny Pacquiao has started," she told Franklin Gacal, her attorney, who relayed the information to the press. Gacal further elaborated that while she at one time had no intention to run for public office, the ground swell of support from the Filipino people made her reconsider.
"Jinkee is a new face in Sarangani politics," said Gacal. "It will be public service above self. Governance without corruption."
Her constituents are the only ones who feel like she has the ability to win the seat; government leaders currently serving in Sarangani feel the same way.
The general election will take place on Tuesday, May 13.
Meanwhile, lots of people are talking about how Pacquiao has fared since losing to Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round on December 8 in Las Vegas. Freddie Roach, the 34-year-old's trainer, recently told the Los Angeles Times that he's doing fine.
"There are things I will be looking for in our next training camp," said Roach. "First, it is the footwork. I will be able to tell if he starts feeling for the canvas. I remember when I did."
There are some indications that he may call it a career, however. Roach told the newspaper that Pacquiao will listen to him if he feels as though it's time to hang up the boxing gloves.
"Manny told me that if I tell him it is time to stop, he will," said Roach.
In the meantime, ESPN reports that the Filipino fighter has been invited to compete in Dubai this in April, with the potential of earning $10 million.
Roach told Sport360, a UAE-based newspaper, that while the ultimate decision as to whether he competes will be that of Pacquiao and promoter Bob Arum, it would be an ideal location that would no doubt be seen worldwide.
When the temperatures are below freezing and the snow is falling, fun in the sun may not be on the typical American's list of things to do for the day. But it's at the top of to-do lists for many vacationing and native Filipinos, especially those who are particularly skilled at surfing the open waves.
On the first weekend in February, several surfing organizations launched the Philippines' first-ever "Single and Unattached Longboard Invitational," holding the event in the Ilocano province of La Union. Described as the "surfing capital of Northern Luzon," organizers said the event went off without a hitch and was a smashing success.
"As part of the traditional longboard resurgence that took place in California during the early 1990's, it's feels really great to be a part of a similar movement in the Philippines," said Carla Rowland, owner of The Surf Institute, one of the organizations that helped sponsor and fund what's expected to be a yearly event.
He added that individuals who are familiar with surfing were hopefully reminded of the glory days of past surfing success stories, such as Miki Dora, Lance Carson and Dewey Webber.
"The event was a blast," said Jay Sueno, an entrant in the contest who indicated he's been surfing for less than a year. "To be surrounded by surfers who embody the classic and cool style of single fin longboarding was inspiring and filled with good vibes."
Officials with the Single and Unattached Longboard Invitational say that all surfers were invited to compete, which included people from all corners of the earth, including California, Japan and Korea, but participation was dominated by Filipinos.
While the large waves and seasonable temperatures no doubt made the three-day competition eminently enjoyable, Rowland indicated that the best part was how many Filipinos embraced the event and made it their own.
"We are just so happy that Filipinos are falling in love with the classic style of traditional longboarding," said Rowland. "This year was a great success and we have high hopes that next year will be even bigger and better."
A worldwide leisure pursuit
While surfing may seem like a sport that only a select few take up as a hobby, it may be surprising just how many people ride the waves whenever they can, many of whom send money to their families so they can learn how it's done. According to the International Surfing Association, there are approximately 23 million surfers worldwide, 1.7 million living in the U.S.
If surfers are good enough, they may be able to make it a career. For example, professional surfer Kelly Slater made as much as $3 million in a single year in 2009, all of which derived from the proceeds he earned in competitions.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of surfing is being able to stay on the board for a long time. And the higher the wave is, the harder it can be. However, some have been able to stay on their boards for long periods. ISA data indicates that one surfer spent nearly 40 minutes riding a wave without losing his balance – the longest time ever recorded.
Surfers are similarly upping the ante on how large of a wave they can ride. Recently, professional surfer Garrett McNamara broke his own world record by successfully surfing a 100-foot wave off the coast of Portugal. His previous best was a 78-foot wave, which he conquered in 2011.
Notable Filipinos like boxing great Manny Pacquiao and veteran actor Lou Diamond Phillips have helped show that the Philippines produces some of the best talents the world has to offer. And increasingly, Filipinos’ footprint on the public stage is spreading into the musical arena.
According to a recent feature published in The New York Times, tens of thousands of Filipinos have left their native countries to pursue a career in music overseas, enabling them to send money to their families back home on occasion and at the same time establish themselves in the entertainment business. In fact, in 2002 and 2004, more than 40,000 Filipinos in each year went overseas searching for the break they needed to make it big, with most of these individuals moving to Japan.
U.S., Philippines musical preferences similar
Since then, Filipinos have been bringing the world the sounds that are favored by locals, including hard rock, reggae, jazz and the blues. Some have gone on to make it big, while others decided to walk away from their aspirations because they needed money quickly.
Domingo Mercado, Jr., told the paper that he was one of those people who may have been able to make it in the entertainment industry, but economic realities forced his hand, taking a job that paid him the money he needed to support his family.
“I resigned from the band and took a job in Korea,” Mercado told the Times. “I gave up on my dream.”
He added that he hasn’t given up on his musical career entirely, though, as he has performed in public settings for nearly 20 years, primarily in Asia.
As difficult as it may be for Americans to make it into the entertainment world, the same is true for Filipinos – whether they display their talents in distant corners of the earth or in the U.S. POEA notes that 1.6 million people left the Philippines in 2011 to live and work overseas, with most of those leaving pursuing careers in household services.
“A hotel might need many waiters, cooks and housekeepers,” Ceslo Hernandez, head of the POEA’s operation division, told The New York Times. “But they only need one or two musicians.”
A combination of luck and skill may help explain how some Filipinos have been able to successfully break into the entertainment business. People like Charice Pempengco. According to her official website, Pempengco got her break in 2007, after posting a variety of web videos of her singing. Her talent got her noticed almost immediately among the Hollywood elite, earning appearances on television talk shows like “Ellen” and “Oprah.”
“You are a force to be reckoned with,” Oprah once said of Pempengco. “That voice comes from something bigger than yourself.”
Then there’s Lea Salonga, a singer and actress that may be best known for her work in the Broadway musical “Miss Saigon” and for serving as the voice of Jasmine in the 1994 animated film Aladdin. Salonga recently released a studio-produced album, “The Journey So Far,” and her website is constantly updated with details on where she will be appearing next to sing or perform on-stage.
Prior to devoting much of their earnings to their families through an international transfer, there was a time in many Filipinos’ lives when they spent a lot of their money attending sporting events and purchasing gear representing their favorite teams. In a way, this was to give thanks to the professional athletes who performed at their peak and provided millions of Filipinos with entertainment and fun.
Today, the Filipino government is providing past sports heroes with their fellow countrymen’s appreciation in a more direct way.
According to the Philippines Inquirer, the senate has passed a piece of legislation - Senate Bill 3322 – that would provide government-sponsored health insurance benefits to professional Filipino athletes who have retired.
Aquilino Pimentel III, one of the main senators who supported the bill, indicated that many of today’s sports legends are facing serious health issues because of the sacrifices they made, stretching their physical exertion abilities to the limit.
“Many professional athletes have risked their health and sometimes their very lives for the nation,” said Pimentel III. “Their achievements have put the Philippines in the map. But our memories are short.”
He added that while these men and women were idolized when they were playing professionally, many have been forgotten since then and have few they can turn to for help when they need it most.
“This bill seeks to provide more than lip service to professional athletes who have dedicated their careers to the nation and who have brought prestige to our country,” he stated, according to the Inquirer.
Should SB 3322 gather enough votes to be signed into law, all Filipino professional athletes older than 50 years of age would be given a lifelong stipend that could be put toward healthcare services. Much of what they earn will depend on their level of achievement. For example, the paper notes that each member of a team that wins a championship after defeating another Filipino athletic team will get 10,000 pesos while championship team members will be awarded 15,000 pesos for winning an international crown.
2012 notable performances
Many of today’s Filipino coaches and athletes know what it’s like to be a champion. The Philippine Star recently put together a list of the world’s most-successful athletes, originating from the Philippines, who will long remember 2012.
Perhaps no athlete is better known among Filipinos – or more revered – than boxing champ Manny Pacquiao. The Fighting Congressman has experienced few losses and setbacks over his professional boxing career, but 2012 was not a year that will likely go down as one of his best. In June, Pacquiao lost in a split decision to Timothy Bradley, though many ringside experts as well as viewers watching from home thought Pac-Man had the better performance.
Six months later, Pacquiao return to the ring, only this time facing Juan Manuel Marquez. In a stunning upset, the 34-year-old was knocked out in the sixth round, giving Marquez the match and sending Pacquiao to his fifth defeat.
Faring better performance wise was Erik Spoelstra, head coach for the NBA Champion Miami Heat. Spoelstra led the Heat to their first NBA title since 2005 after defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in a best-of-seven series.
Another headliner cited by The Philippine Star was the entire Philippine Volcanoes Rugby Team. Their respective performances in the Philippine Rugby Football Union were so impressive, they earned the attention of some of the game’s most respected experts. Many say the Volcanoes are among the best in all of Asia.
When immigrants leave their native countries so they can pursue their careers in the U.S. – and in the process, send money back home to their loved ones – family is almost certainly the component of life they missed the most about the comforts of home.
But in the conversation for the joys of life that immigrants long for the most is home cooking, be it Mexican, Indian, Thai or Chinese.
While many of these options are available in the U.S., some are less popular than others, such as Filipino fare. But according to various news outlets, Filipino cuisine is all the rage in 2013.
As noted recently by the website The Food Channel, “Today” show contributor and Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern recently penned a blog posting about Filipino food becoming more commonplace in the U.S., both among individual consumers and in restaurants.
“It’s just starting,” said Zimmern. “I think it’s going to take another year and a half to get up to critical mass, but everybody loves Chinese food, Thai food, Japanese food, and it’s all been exploited. The Filipinos combined the best of all of that with Spanish technique.”
He added that between now and 2015, he wouldn’t be surprised if Filipino food earns the distinction as the country’s “next big thing.”
Filipinos attempt to make cuisine more easily recognizable
BBC News reports that there’s been a concerted effort among Filipinos, both in the U.S. and abroad, to make Filipino cuisine more mainstream.
Rolando Laudico, a chef based in Manila, told the international news source that he and his wife are determined to take food that’s typically only found in the Philippines to a wider audience.
“We base our flavors on traditional Philippine flavors, and we get inspired by them,” said Laudico. “We innovate, we do our own style, and we make it accessible for foreigners.”
He added that because Filipino food is among the most flavorful varieties of food in the world, clearly taste is not the reason it’s not more popular than it could be. He suggests that its unpopularity may derive from Filipinos not giving it the respect that it deserves. As such, dinner hosts should not apologize to their guests when dishes like adobo, sinigang, lumpia and pancit on the menu, which people have been given to do for many years.
Perhaps one of the best U.S. cities to frequent for fine Filipino cuisine is Chicago. Recently, USA Today did a feature on Filipino restaurants in the Windy City, which is increasingly becoming a major metropolitan area for residents native to the Philippines. Restaurants like Meral’s Kitchen, Isla Filipino Restaurant, Little Quiapo Restaurant and Ruby’s Fast Food are all located within the city’s borders and feature dishes that exemplify Filipino cooking, including empanadas, barbeque pork and various chicken dishes.
The paper further notes that the many of these dishes are extremely affordable. For instance, at one restaurant located near Chicago’s historic Lincoln Square, lunch plates are no more than $5.99 on weekdays during the traditional lunch-dining hours.
How quickly Filipino food becomes synonymous with Chinese food in terms of its pervasiveness is anyone’s guess, but if it bears any resemblance to the rate at which the Filipino population has increased in the U.S., it could be soon. According to the Census Bureau, Filipinos are the second-largest Asian group in the country, totaling 3.4 million people based on 2010 estimates.
Veteran actress, singer is known as the “Philippine Queen of Comedy”
SAN FRANCISCO, January 9, 2013 – Xoom Corporation, a global online money transfer provider, today has announced that Filipino star Ai Ai delas Alas has become a spokesperson for the company. Ai Ai is starring in two Xoom television commercials, “How Xoom Works” and “StatusTrak,” airing now on TFC, GMA and other channels.
“Ai Ai delas Alas is regarded as a top Filipino comedienne, known for her sharp wit, as well as her straightforward and approachable demeanor,” says Julian King, Xoom’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development. “She has many Filipino fans all over the world and especially in the U.S. Ai Ai is the perfect ambassador for Xoom and shares our enthusiasm for providing a great service for our kababayans.”
In the new Xoom.com commercials, Ai Ai touts Xoom.com as a convenient and safe way to send money to the Philippines and, with StatusTrak, Ai Ai reassures people that they will get peace of mind when their ‘padala’ has been received.
“I am very excited to be part of the Xoom family. When I need to send money from the U.S. to the Philippines, I use Xoom.com—it is the best,” says Ai Ai delas Alas. “With other ordinary money transfer companies, you really don’t know when your recipient will receive the money. Xoom.com is more convenient and very safe. Bongga, di ba?”
The veteran comedienne and actress rose to stardom in the blockbuster movie Ang Tanging Ina in 2003, inspiring the sequels Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat (2008) and Ang Tanging Ina Mo Last na ‘To! (2010). Ai Ai has garnered a number of acting awards in both television and film, and she continues to be one of the most popular and sought-after actresses in the Philippines. She has also appeared as a talent judge in all four seasons of Pilipinas Got Talent, based on the popular “Got Talent” franchise.
Xoom is a global online money transfer provider, focused on helping consumers send money in a secure, fast and cost-effective way using their mobile phone, tablet or computer. During the 12 months ended December 31, 2012, Xoom’s more than 750,000 active customers sent more than $3.2 billion to family and friends in 30 countries worldwide. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and can be found online at www.xoom.com.
With hours remaining before the fourth meeting between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, both fighters are expressing confidence that they'll be able to win the match.
During a recent conference call, Pacquiao explained that while he has no doubt of his abilities, he's at the same time eager to see if Marquez will deliver on his promise of being able to beat him. In each of their previous matches, Marquez has stated that he won handily, but the judges played favorites.
"I am giving him a chance to prove he can win the fight because he thought he has won all three and he keeps talking about it," said Pacquiao. "So it is very important to me, to win this fight, especially since Márquez really wanted this fight."
With each of the past three contests being decided by the judges, there's been a lot of focus on who will be scoring the bout this time around. Reports say that judges Adalaide Byrd, Steve Weisfeld and John Keane will be there to render their decision, three people that Marquez says he's very comfortable with.
"The only thing I am asking is for them to be fair and for them to qualify what is happening in the ring," said Marquez during the same conference call. "I am confident because I know it is a great selection of judges. They are very professional and I am very confident about them."
While both fighters have made clear that their top priority is to win the match, they have also focused on the uniqueness of this latest bout, as few boxers in history have faced off more than three times. Pacquiao is particularly pleased that this fourth go 'round is with Marquez, who he believes may someday be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Fourth match important, but not career-defining
"He is a legend, perhaps the best fighter Mexico has ever produced next to Julio César Chávez," Pacquiao said in a special for Fox Sports.
He added, however, that how this bout turns out will not define his career, as his competing in eight different weight divisions and knocking out the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Eric Morales will stand out every bit as much as those with Marquez.
Marquez, meanwhile, is all about setting his doubters' suspicions to rest. But like Pacquiao, he too is honored to be facing one opponent for the fourth time.
"There is something special about fighting the same opponent four times," Marquez told Fox Sports. "It tells me that the first three fights have been good and competitive enough to merit one more fight. When it is against an elite opponent such as Manny Pacquiao then it’s even more special and more meaningful."
Also similar to Pacquiao, Marquez says that his winning or losing will not make or break his career. He noted that he's participated in 61 fights and once they are all taken into consideration, only then can he determine where this fight ranks in importance.
As for what it will take for either side to win, brains and brawn will be needed. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, noted in last week's conference call that a lot depends on Pacquiao being aggressive from the get-go.
"The thing is Marquéz fought the fight at a slow pace the last time," said Roach. "We plan to fight the fight at a much faster pace this time like we did in the first fight. In the early rounds, that’s where we had the most success."
Marquez, meanwhile, says that his strength will see him through to victory, but not without implementing smart tactics that can only come through intelligent pacing and footwork.
Who will walk out of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday as the victor? Twelve rounds and 36 minutes minutes of boxing time hold the answer.
For a limited time, first-time customers of Xoom will be able to watch the pay-per-view contest in standard definition without cost to them (taxes may be extra). To take advantage of this exciting offer, send your first Xoom money transfer to Mexico or the Philippines between November 26 and December 8, 2012.
A damaging, powerful typhoon recently swept through the Philippines, causing untold amounts of damage and affecting families who will no doubt need an international wire transfer to help them cope with the wreckage.
According to multiple reports, in New Bataan, one of the country's most fertile farming communities and situated in the southern portion of the country, vast numbers of homeowners and farmers have been displaced after a violent typhoon came ashore in early December.
Reports indicate that as many as 310,000 people may now be homeless, as hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed by the high water levels.
Benigno Aquino III, the Philippines president, indicated in the aftermath that while he's well aware that environmental disasters can't be prevented, he's devastated by the loss of life and property, vowing to do whatever is needed to fix what's broken.
"I want to know how this tragedy happened and how to prevent a repeat," said Aquino during a recent visit to New Bataan.
The lost of life has been significant. According to the latest estimates, at least 500 people are confirmed to have died, with another 400 believed to be missing, according to reports from The Associated Press.
"Entire families may have been washed away," Mar Roxas, who serves as the government's interior secretary, recently stated.
Many people were witnesses to the typhoon's destruction. Local resident Dionisia Requinto told the AP that she considers herself one of the lucky ones, as the typhoon was enormous and came on quickly.
"The water rose so fast," said Requinto. "It was horrible. I thought it was going to be our end."
Much of world's banana supply grows in New Bataan
Some of the main staple crops that grow in New Bataan are bananas, rice, corn, coffee and coconuts. And for many farmers, all that they once had has been washed away.
Arturo Uy, governor of Compostella Valley – the province in which New Bataan is located – estimated that the damage will top at least $98 million, or the Filipino equivalent of 4 billion pesos. He also told Reuters that between 70 percent and 80 percent of plantations within the province have been destroyed, predominantly banana crops.
But New Bataan wasn't the only place that was hit by the typhoon's power. Davao Oriental, a coastal province, was the first to be affected, causing widespread property losses and leading to the untimely death of 115 people.
While many people throughout the world will be sure to send money to the Philippines to help survivors repair what's been damaged, relief agencies like the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says at least $5 million is needed right away. All of what's raised will go to the people most directly impacted by Typhoon Bopha.
Unlike the U.S., where typhoons are rare, the Philippines experiences the environmental catastrophe regularly. The Associated Press says that an average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, most of which affect the northern and central parts of the country. Forecasters say this storm will likely go down in history as a rarity, seeing as how the south is rarely impacted by them.
Weighing in at a rock solid 144 pounds, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is not exactly someone who's out of shape. Thus, one would think that he doesn't have to put in too many hours at the gym in preparation for his next bout.
But as the amount of time, dedication and commitment Pacquiao has put into his fourth contest with Juan Manuel Marquez indicates, the Filipino native doesn't want to leave anything to chance this time around.
Preparation began in September
On December 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Pacquiao will meet Marquez in what many believe will be the last fight between the international boxers. Pac-Man has put a tremendous amount of work in at the gym. In anticipation of the bout, he began his training regimen especially early, starting on September 19, meeting with trainer Buboy Fernandez at the General Santos City Sports Complex in his native Philippines.
Though the Fighting Pride of the Philippines is known for his work-ethic, the early start to his routine may stem from several recent contests that suggested to some that Pacquiao may be starting to feel the effects of age, turning 34 on December 17. The last time he met Marquez was in November 2011, and even though the Fighting Congressman was a heavy favorite, the bout was ultimately decided by the judges, all of whom said Pacquiao was the winner. In fact, in each of the contests, the ring judges were the ultimate determinants of who won.
In Pacquiao's most recent match, which took place June 9 at the MGM Grand versus Timothy Bradley, Pac-Man was on the wrong side of a decision. Even though most ring observers thought Pacquiao had the upperhand, two of the three judges thought differently, as Bradley was declared the winner by split decision. After a thorough review by five judges hired by the World Boxing Organization, however, the ruling was ultimately overturned and Pacquiao was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
Though the reversal gave Pacquiao his 54th win, it ultimately left many people with bad taste in their mouths, including Pac-Man himself. The disappointment of being robbed of the chance to celebrate in the ring with his fans and friends has served as another motivator to train his absolute hardest.
Pacquiao has trained eight-straight weeks in the U.S.
After several weeks with Fernandez in the Philippines, Pacquiao has since been preparing in the U.S. under the direction of his chief trainer, Freddie Roach, at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California.
"It was a good first day [of sparring]," Roach told an assembly of reporters back in October.
He added that the Filipino native gave him his assurance long ago that he would arrive at his gym in shape and raring to go.
"He told me he's been running and [playing basketball and volleyball]," said Roach. "He is ahead of schedule, per se. He's in pretty good shape."
Speed is key
The 52-year-old legendary trainer said that the biggest thing he wants Pacquiao to focus on headed into the December 8 contest is speed and agility. As such, he's had him work on the speed bag, double-end bag and skipping rope as frequently as possible.
"Speed is his asset," said Roach. "I don't want him standing in the pocket too long because [Marquez]is a slick, precise counterpuncher. If you're in there too long, you are playing his game."
With just days remaining before the pay-per-view boxing match airs, Pacquiao vows to earn the respect of his detractors and encourage his supporters by scoring a decisive victory – hopefully one that will be left out of the judges' hands.
For a limited time, first-time customers of Xoom will be able to watch the pay-per-view contest in standard definition without cost to them (taxes may be extra). To take advantage of this exciting offer, send your first Xoom money transfer to Mexico or the Philippines between November 26 and December 8, 2012.