U.S. President Obama Lauds Filipino Boxing Champ Manny Pacquiao in Monday’s State Dinner

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By Vittorio Hernandez | April 30, 2014 8:55 AM EST

Everyone who was politically important was in the state dinner on Monday night for visiting U.S. President Barack Obama. But the main guest appears to had noticed someone he knows personally missing - Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.


U.S. President Barack Obama offers a toast as he attends a State Dinner with President Benigno Aquino (R) of the Philippines at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, April 28, 2014. Obama said a new military pact signed with the Philippineson Monday granting a larger presence for U.S. forces would bolster the Southeast Asian country's maritime security, but was not aimed at countering China's growing military might. REUTERS/Larry Downing (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS)

And the president did not let the occasion pass without mentioning his admiration for the eight-division title holder whom he has personally met in the White House during a courtesy call by the boxer.

Mr Obama said, quoted by Spin.ph, "There is our mutual admiration for Manny Pacquiao, even if sometimes, his fights against Americans do not turn out the way we'd like."

Pacquiao, being not just a folk hero but also a sitting congressman and fresh from his victory against erstwhile undefeated American boxer Timothy Bradley, it is a little bit puzzling why he was not at the state dinner.

Observers could only guess that he was either not invited or he is too busy since his wife Jinkee, the current vice governor of Sarangani province, gave birth on Sunday to their fifth child - a boy whom the couple named Israel.

The Web site noted that selected athletes too had been invited to the state dinner, one of which was Fil-Am basketballer Gabe Norwood from the Rain or Shine team, said to be a look-alike of the American president.

Norwood was grateful for the once-in-a lifetime opportunity as posted in his Instagram account @GNorwood5 a photo of the invitation from the Office of the President.

Also present during the dinner were the four sisters of the bachelor Philippine president, Benigno Aquino III, including his youngest and controversial sibling, TV host and actress Kris Aquino who was in a purple gown.

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News of Kris attending the state dinner generated interest among some Filipinos in Twitter as they expressed apprehension if she would open her mouth and cause embarrassment to her brother.

Bri Lu @_brrayyy tweeted, "Please don't let Obama die of heat stroke or left unattended with Kris Aquino," followed by Sophie @sowpia who urged, "Don't let Kris Aquino interview President Obama or else all the US-PH agreements will turn into arguments."

Thankfully, she behaved, although that itself also led to some tweets on Tuesday.

Rona Ortega @RIBAAAA wrote, "Thank you Malacanang for not letting Kris Aquino near Obama."

WhatAWasteofAdMoney @wawam added, "we can all give a sigh of relief, Kris Aquino did not do anything embarrassing yesterday during the Obama dinner. TY kris."

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(Photo: / )
U.S. President Barack Obama offers a toast as he attends a State Dinner with President Benigno Aquino (R) of the Philippines at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, April 28, 2014. Obama said a new military pact signed with the Philippineson Monday granting a larger presence for U.S. forces would bolster the Southeast Asian country's maritime security, but was not aimed at countering China's growing military might. REUTERS/Larry Downing (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS)
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