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The epitome of Filipino excellence

Christopher M. Ferareza Christopher M. Ferareza

The epitome of Filipino excellence

Last week, Filipino boxing legend Sen. Manny Pacquiao proved to the whole world once again that self-discipline, hard work, and perseverance could lead to success.

He proved losing is never a reason to give up on one’s quest for greatness. Losing seven times in the ring only made him stronger and eager to continue his journey. He learned from every defeat. He kept improving himself which made him the only eight-division champion in the world today.

Pacquiao’s jolly personality, sportsmanship, humility, and respect for his opponents inside and outside the ring made him admired by many, even by his previous opponents, most of whom even became his friends. It’s remarkable how Filipinos from all walks of life pause just to see him fight.

Pacquiao is the epitome of Filipino excellence in sports. He exemplifies the great Filipino values of courage, self-discipline, humility, respect, and perseverance.

Everyone knows where he came from, how he started, and how tough the odds were during those early beginnings. Despite the turbulent and unforgiving path of life he had to traverse, he went on and courageously fought his way through to reach the pinnacle of success.

Did he ever get scared? I’m sure he did but, perhaps, it’s when he was scared that he discovered courage and conquered his fear. Otherwise, he may not have continued his journey and be where he’s now. As Napoleon Bonaparte puts it, “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you do not have strength.”

What about us? Do we have the courage to fight our own battles?

We all know that rampant corruption is the plague that continues to hamper our nation’s progress. As such, fighting corruption in this country should be the responsibility of every Filipino. But it seems that not everyone has the courage to do so, allowing the corrupt to continue to thrive while the poor remain poor.

According to internationally recognized architect Jun Palafox, “Fighting corruption in this country is helping the poor.” So, let us conquer our fears, be brave, and help rid this nation of its plague.

Courage alone isn’t enough to win battles in the ring. Pacquiao paired courage with self-discipline. His great physical condition during every fight is a clear manifestation of his self-discipline. Because of his self-discipline, coupled with his determination to win, he’s able to keep himself fit, making even bigger and tougher opponents succumb to his speed and punching power.

How about us? Do we have the self-discipline to keep ourselves abreast with the developments in our own fields or professions?

If you’re a lawyer, engineer, doctor, or certified public accountant like me, do you have the discipline to keep yourself updated, such that you remain knowledgeable and competent in your respective fields? At the very fast rate that technology is advancing, it’s likely that artificial intelligence will soon be able to do what professionals could do. Hence, professionals such as myself should continue to improve and evolve to overcome such threats.

For road users—professional drivers and private car owners—do you contribute to the smooth flow of traffic or make the traffic worse? Did you know that the lack of road discipline highly contributes to the worsening traffic in Metro Manila?

According to the Philippine office of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the worsening traffic in Metro Manila now costs P3.5 billion in lost opportunities per day. So, why not exercise a bit of self-discipline on the road to help reduce lost opportunities and contribute to our nation’s progress?

Pacquiao may be a billionaire now, known all over the world, and a superstar who’s soon to be a hall of famer in boxing, but he remains humble.

When did you ever hear him brag? What we would usually hear from him are praises to God and praises to his opponent for giving him a good fight and for acknowledging the other fighter’s skills and prowess in the ring.

I believe that Pacquiao’s humility is authentic. It’s one of the things that makes him great. It’s admirable and something that each one of us should also imbibe.

Let us examine ourselves. Do we exercise humility, or do we always seek recognition and acknowledgment for the things we do? Wouldn’t it be better and more fulfilling if, without proclaiming our good deeds, praises and recognition we deserve are given to us voluntarily?

According to Thomas Moore, “Humility is that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot.” Thus, only when one is humble could he truly achieve greatness.

Regardless of who he faces in the ring, Pacquiao gives his opponents the respect they deserve. Even if his opponent fights dirty, Pacquiao never resorts to fighting dirty to get even. Instead, he teaches them a lesson by playing fair.

How do we apply this in our daily encounters with others? In elevators for instance, do we observe silence so as not to disturb others? On escalators, do we occupy only the right side, even when we have companions such that others who might be in a hurry could pass?

These are very simple examples but, if everyone exercises respect in these situations, it would mean a lot to people at the receiving end.

Pacquiao’s humble beginnings tell us that nothing is impossible to anyone who perseveres. His persistence in the face of challenges made him great, and the same persistence continues to make him flourish in his career as a professional boxer.

How about us? Do we give up easily, or do we persevere to achieve what we want to achieve?

These are only five of the many lessons that we can learn from Pacquiao, the greatest Filipino boxer of his generation. If we could apply these five lessons—courage, self-discipline, humility, respect, and perseverance—it could change the way we see and do things. We, too, could become the epitome of excellence in our respective fields or professions.

Chris Ferareza is a partner of the Audit & Assurance Division and the in-charge of Training at P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading Audit, Tax, Advisory, and Outsourcing firms in the Philippines with 21 Partners and over 900 staff members. For your comments, please email or For more information about P&A Grant Thornton, visit our website


As published in The Manila Times, dated 25 July 2018