Now a senator, Pacquiao wants to give back to society's less fortunate so they don't have to endure the bad times his family of seven had to.
Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino professional boxer, has won 12 major world titles and several other awards in the past. But now, the future Hall of Fame boxer is winning hearts with his generous and kind deeds. Pacquiao, who is still considered to be nearly unbeatable in the ring, has been soaring high but his feet are still deeply rooted to the ground. This has to do a lot with the humble background that the sportsman comes from, in fact, he had to fight his way through to get where he is today. Pacquiao grew up in an extremely impoverished family in the Sarangani Province in The Philippines and had to drop out of school when he was just 10.
Contrary to his life today, Pacquiao would often go to sleep hungry with nothing but water to fill his stomach throughout the day, reports USA Today. Eating to their stomach's fill was a privilege. Thus, after he became a senator in the Philippines, Pacquiao was determined to help society's less fortunate by keeping them from enduring what he had to when his family of seven lived in a cardboard shack. "I feel what they're feeling because I've been there," said the pro boxer, who was wanted to give back to others. "I've slept in the street. That was my life before. So hard. That's why I feel what they're feeling right now."
He decided to provide the homeless shelter by building 1,000 houses in his hometown Sarangani Province. What's more, he did not take a dime of the taxpayer's money but chose to pay for the project himself. Pacquiao had won $1.5 million after winning a fight against Floyd Mayweather Junior in 2015 and he chose to use the hefty amount for a charitable cause. The plan was to build houses for the homeless and the decision seemed natural to Pacquiao who used to live in a cardboard shack. His promoter, Bob Arum, shared the boxer's philanthropic nature recalling how thousands of people would line up in front of Pacquiao's Philippines home to collect money that Pacquiao had chosen to distribute from the millions he earned during his fights in the U.S.
"He sits in front of his house giving money away to people; they go for blocks," recalled Arum in 2010. "I've seen it. Food and money. He believes that's part of the higher purpose, because once he gives it away, he believes God will replenish it." When the Senator was just 14, his single mother could no longer afford to provide for her family. Pacquiao left the house to support them and after struggling on the streets of Manila for a few years, he became a professional boxer. "I became a fighter because I had to survive. I had nothing. I had no one to depend on except myself. I realized that boxing was something I was good at, and I trained hard so that I could keep myself and my family alive," he said according to China Daily.
Today when people hear his name, they recognize him as one of the greatest boxers of all time. But Pacquiao does not hesitate to remind everyone of the harsh journey he has had to make to get where he is today. "Many of you know me as a legendary boxer, and I'm proud of that," Pacquiao told China Daily. "However, that journey was not always easy. When I was younger, I became a fighter because I had to survive. I had nothing. I had no one to depend on except myself. I realized that boxing was something I was good at, and I trained hard so that I could keep myself and my family alive."
After making a place among world-class boxers, Pacquiao realized that he could make a difference in the lives of others. "As I went around my country, I realized there were so many people who need help, who look up to me for inspiration," he said, adding, "That was when I took on the bigger fight, the bigger challenge of becoming a public servant. And because of their trust and confidence, I now represent my people's interests as a senator." Per USA Today, he continued, "In boxing, the fight is in the ring is for the enjoyment of the fans. In the Senate, the fight is for improving the quality of life of the Philippine citizens. Being a senator is inspiring work. I have spent more than 100 million pesos (more than $2 million) on building houses for the less fortunate."