Senator Manny Pacquiao’s Oxford University Speech

Transcript of the speech delivered by Senator Emmanuel D. Pacquiao before the Oxford Union in Great Britain on November 5th, 2018


President Horvath and the other esteemed officials of the University of Oxford; distinguished members of the Oxford Union, other dignitaries in attendance and ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

I am the only eight-division world boxing champion in history, having won 11 major world titles, ranging from Flyweight, which has an 8 stone limit, to Super Welterweight, which has an 11 stone limit. My tailor has been kept very busy throughout my career, adjusting the waistbands of my trunks.

I have fought some of the best fighters in history. And yet I have to admit, as I stand before you, I am intimidated when I think of the kind of main event headliners who faced you over the years:
• Sir Winston Churchill,
• American Presidents Reagan, Nixon and Carter,
• Mother Teresa,
• the Dalai Lama
• and Sir Elton John.

And here am I, Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, standing before you armed with just the equivalent of a sixth form education, an undisguised respect for what your group and your university represent and a pretty fair left hook.

If this give-and-take today were a “tale of the tape,” I would be a respectful underdog. But be careful. I am not that easy to floor.

When I received your gracious invitation, I asked myself, what could I talk about that could possibly interest you? What could Manny Pacquiao say that would be of any impact, much more utility, to the men and women who enjoy the highest standards of instruction at Oxford?

The answer came fast: I know what I should speak about, something very few among you can claim to know about: my education, certainly non-traditional, non-formal, largely unstructured. I will call it my education in the Open University of Life.

It is a matter of record that I only had traditional formal schooling until Secondary School, Grade 12.

It was only recently that I reached University level through the alternative education program.

We were dirt poor. I had to work since the age of five, to help my mother feed my three siblings and me. Many days, I was lucky to have one full meal. On days when we had no food, I would drink lots of water just to fill my stomach. But my mind and spirit were never hungry. I read anything I could get my hands on.

I even read the newspaper that my lunch or dinner came wrapped in. I read signs everywhere, even on moving vehicles. I learned measurements and weights by constantly reading the rates and tariffs at the warehouses where I worked as a stevedore, a docker in your parlance.

At night when I could not sleep because of the cold, I would read the labels on the carton boxes that served as my bed on the street pavement.

The movements of the clouds, the tint of the horizon, and the clarity of the stars taught me when morning was about to come.

And for me, the morning did come. Warm, bright, and simply amazing ——- a lesson in what can be achieved if you have determination … if you ignore the odds against you …and as you are taught here at this magnificent institution never, ever quit.

Think of David and Goliath. Look at me. I am not very big and I never had five smooth stones to throw at any obstacle, but determination Is a power tool. I won a lot of fights.

Since 2016, I have been a sitting member of the Philippine Senate, having received the direct vote of over 16 million Filipinos. As such, I participate in debates that result in the passage of legislation which determines the course of our country’s history and, indirectly, the world’s.

I do not fault anyone who views me as singularly ill-equipped for this role. Instead, I ask: is there anyone more knowledgeable than this humble civil servant about the hardships incident to the way of life of the majority of our people? Who among my colleagues has faced poverty face to face from birth? Whose life’s work has it been to battle illiteracy?

In crafting effective laws, there is no better guide than the pulse of the masses.

I may not have financial acuity. I may not be historically fluent. I may not even be socially adept. But I am philosophically rooted in my personal adversities, which morally bind me to the general struggle of our people.

I am a fighter, not just because it is my profession. I was a fighter long before I first set foot in a boxing ring. All my life I have fought to live. Every single day in my youth, I fought for survival. Now, I do it and get paid for it. Then, I was lucky to get a piece of bread for it.

But how are my struggles of any value to the Filipinos? It cannot feed or clothe all of them. No matter how much I give financially, hundreds of thousands more remain wanting.

In 2013, in the aftermath of Category 5 super typhoon Haiyan (locally remembered as Yolanda), the deadliest typhoon to devastate my country, leaving a record of more than 6,000 dead, I went to Tacloban and visited a nightmare.

The place was a virtual ghost town. Everyone had lost someone from their family; others, their entire family. No property was spared. There were bodies everywhere. There was no food, no water, no electricity. Each face I looked into bore the same expression: defeat. Not a single person there thought that they could ever recover from that tragedy.

I thought to myself, I can give millions, as have many other donors from all over the world, but no amount of money can give these people hope. I, too, fought against despair.

But then I had an idea. We set up a makeshift basketball court and I started shooting some hoops. Then one boy picked up the ball after one of my shots and tried a shot. Soon there were enough of us to have a five on five matches, and we did.

The smiles, the laughter, the whoops of joy of those boys during that game are memories forever etched in my heart. To have lost everything overnight, including parents, siblings, friends, but to still have the ability to rise above one’s personal loss and reach out to your fellow man, even just in play, to find joy together, there, at that point, in those victims’ eyes, I found hope.

Those boys, who had nothing left, gave me hope.

Four years later, I would see the same physical and societal devastation in Marawi. Our beautiful city of the South was reduced to ruins by civil strife. Death and destruction broke the hearts and backs of its residents. But not their spirit. One year later, Marawi is now under rehabilitation.

These and other experiences like this motivated me to answer the call of public service. I believe, in all humility, that my life is just a snapshot, it is a glorified blow-up of what millions of Filipinos live through on a day to day basis — the hardships, the challenges, the back-breaking, hope-extinguishing despair. Yet, through the ashes of destruction, the Filipino always manages to rise up and fight another day.

I believe that I was destined to serve as an inspiration for the average Filipino to fight, to rise above adversity, to conquer and defy, and to embrace life and all its difficulties. Manny Pacquiao is the best fairy tale every Filipino could tell and re-tell to all generations yet to come. Manny Pacquiao’s story is incredible but true.

Miracles do happen. Dreams do come true. Being poor does not mean one must die poor. Hard work and persistence will set you free from the shackles of poverty. But it is faith that will take you to the very top.

That is Manny Pacquiao’s story so I ask you — all of you — to never lose faith in what you can do as a human being, belief in the loyalty of family, and belief in the Almighty. It is not easy to believe in the power of one. But I ask you to look around you. Count the faces. Do the multiplication and suddenly we are a power of 50 or 100 or 1,000.

You, with your education, determination, and faith you can change the world.

Maraming Salamat!

Speech delivered by
Senator- Republic of the Philippines
before the Oxford Union, Frewin Court,
Oxford, OX1 3JB
Great Britain
On 05 November 2018


*UPDATE* – We recently published a podcast about PUA. I recommend you check it out here to better understand what PUA is


And then this Facebook Group Page basically just broke that very first rule of any secret society.

I plan to make a series of blog entries about this post. I want to make this my personal mission, to be honest.

I managed to visit this page before, and as one who has read Neil Strauss‘ The Game, I have to say that whoever established this PUA (Pick-up Artists) group here in the PH has no idea what he’s getting himself into.

Image result for the game neil strauss
Neil Strauss and his Best Selling novel. His masterpiece. Whod’ve thought that a guy like this, skinny, short, BALD, had brushed elbows, cried on, and made out with big hollywood celebrity names?

Firstly, Neil academically discussed the ‘rules’ in a very classy, professional manner like an excellent book writer that he is would. And he even gave the disclaimer that whatever you are going to learn from PUA is not to be used to look for the “it is” type of a woman – that one in your dreams, no. The book also expressively implies that this is for men who have not developed their self confidence. If you are familiar with the movie Hitch, its’ more like that, only that Hitch’s method are geared towards finding “The One.”

It’s more about becoming the Alpha male of the group.

Think of it this way : Imagine Ryan Gosling’s character in Crazy, Stupid, Love., teaching an old guy with a very low self esteem and has hit the rock bottom of his life, Steve Carell to get back up the saddle and move on with his life with unlimited supply of self confidence. (spoiler alert) You see, Ryan wasn’t at all that bad in the movie. Although He was hated by Steve, because he made Emma (Steve’s daughter) fall in love with a PUA like him. But This Ryan guy had his genuine, sincere intentions towards Emma, so Steve allowed them to happily become a couple at the end of the movie.

Second, the rules do not apply to the conservative female population in the PH. This is quite opposite to the more liberal, more open-minded and “willing to go on a one night stand” kind of girls in the US (as mentioned in the book). An attempt for you to carelessly do a PUA trick here can be suicidal for your social (/network) life.

Just an FYI, there is an underground community of males, (even with a few interested women) who are into the PUA shindig all over the globe. And a lot of them are mostly boys who have not really found their self confidence. Let’s not vilify all of them, because majority of them are just there to gain that confidence, and I am sure, being the nice guys that they are, won’t abuse the knowledge they have learned from the PUA. This even saved Neil and Style’s lives when they encountered off-duty soldiers in a bar somewhere in Europe – just by standing their ground (to exude confidence, you dig?).

Unless you’re really that presko/indecent guy, just looking for a hookup, then you don’t really need this.

There is an army of mentors, followers, blog subscribers and public contributors to add to the “tricks” and give their testimonies when they test one or two that are written in the book. And even before Strauss’ book was written, pioneers like “Style” have already flourished in that underground world. Much like the book from American Pie movie, hidden under the school lockers, or a library shelf.

Lastly, the impression of the general public towards PUA and those who know about this (I do, but I dare not practice), got so stained by amateur wanna-be’s like the men behind this FB page, at least here in the PH – but it has not really looked that bad internationally. For me, personally, I just enjoy watching all these men try to do it whenever they are given the chance, and test the plausibility of the theories written in the book. There is more to it than being “bastos” or “swabe” or “presko”. It’s more about building your public image, make you behave with class and even, actually, being a gentleman in the women’s eyes.

Here’s a profile photo of the infamous PUA Academy in the Philippines. I suggest the men behind this post better clean their own mess before the it rains shit on them.

So, go cast your judgment on whomsoever created this FB post. But everything else about the PUA exposed to the public is just the tip of the iceberg – because it’s not supposed to be exposed.

ON PEOPLE POWER : EDSA 1, 2 ,3 … whatever you wanna call it. This post can’t wait until Sept. 21st


While we’re at it, feel free to read about my last year’s post for September 21st’s National Day of Protest.

Anyone can have all the justiifications about their take on EDSA 1. You might know some people who became victims of the abuses, and some people who say they found the ML more beneficilal. Well, let’s leave the differences at that. It’s hard to reconcile to opposite versions of the fact.

The people voting for Duterte is a symptom of a social disease. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted: November 21, 2017 in Rhymes

Written January 4, 2010 at 12:44am

Summon all the Gloc-9 spirit in you and read this with fast paced tempo. This was a lousy effort to emulate his style. Whoever wants to rap this, go ahead and give me a message. Collaborations are welcome. 🙂

Note: This was written almost 8 years ago during the PGMA Administration. Hence the Tatlong Bangkang Papel reference.

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted: September 21, 2017 in Random

President Duterte Released Memorandum Circular No. 26, declaring the date September 21st as a National Day of Protest. Read the rest of this entry »

On “Tokhang”, Digong and the ordinary Filipinos


DISCLAIMER : This is a heavily opinionated blog entry. Some contents might trigger you, but you should not take everything you read here as absolute facts, but you can use them as basis for your critical thinking about the goings-on in our country right now. And if you have anything to say about any of those, I won’t suppress your right and freedom of expression. Or better yet, have it done on your own blog. Includes graphic images and languages.


A few months ago, I witnessed a dead body lying in front of our barangay chapel. It was noontime, when the neighborhood heard a couple of “BLAMs”… Read the rest of this entry »

No introduction needed. Here’s the Youtube video:

And here’s the full text of his speech straight from his Facebook Page. I wish you could pick out some lessons and inspiration from him. Read the rest of this entry »

Video  —  Posted: May 27, 2017 in Exceptional, Excerpts