The Fight of the Century may be taking America by storm, but in the Philippines it’s something else entirely.
It’s a national holiday as the country’s 100 million citizens root for their hero, Manny Pacquiao, in the fight against Floyd Mayweather, assuring that all activity in the country come to a standstill when the two square off Sunday morning (Philippines time).
The idea of a power outage is unthinkable so the national electric company, Palawan, is urging citizens to conserve energy.
And it’s even bigger than crime or warfare.
“Everything that has been documented about his popularity has not been exaggerated,” J.M. Siasat, a Filipino sports writer, told Mashable. “When he fights, the crime rate literally goes to zero. In the southern part of The Philippines, the war between the rebels and the military stops. Sometimes they even watch together, that’s how big it is.”
In the southern part of the country, where rebels and soldiers are clashing, both sides will be otherwise occupied. Agence France-Press reports:
The Muslim rebels and government forces will have separate free viewings of the Las Vegas clash, as the nation waits to see whether Pacquiao will triumph during the epic fight.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country’s largest Muslim armed group, will watch the fight on a widescreen TV at a compound in the southern province of Maguindanao on Sunday, said MILF vice-chairman Ghadzali Jaafar.
“They asked me if they could show it outside my office. I told them okay, I see no problem with that,” Jaafar told AFP.
Regional military spokeswoman Captain Joan Petinglay confirmed that the military forces in Maguindanao will also have their own showing of the fight in a gymnasium on Sunday.
In one city, there will be plenty of cake. A baker and his staff have put the finishing touches to a life-sized “Pa-cake-iao” (that frankly looks pretty delicious) at the Bunny Baker in Quezon City outside Manila.
“Manny Pacquiao is world class, so we wanted to do something equally world class and the only way to do that is to create a cake that was extraordinary,” owner Zach Yonzon said.
As soon as the fight is over, pieces of the cake will be handed out free.