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LISTEN: A Joyous Moment In Typhoon-Ravaged Tacloban

Sunday, Typhoon survivors watch the boxing match between Philippine hero Manny Pacquiao and American boxer Brandon Rios at the Tacloban Convention Center, which had been used as an evacuation center.
Noel Celis
/
AFP/Getty Images
Sunday, Typhoon survivors watch the boxing match between Philippine hero Manny Pacquiao and American boxer Brandon Rios at the Tacloban Convention Center, which had been used as an evacuation center.

The city of Tacloban in the Philippines was essentially leveled by Typhoon Haiyan. Over the past few weeks, residents of the city have been attending burials and picking up the pieces. But this afternoon, thousands gathered to watch the country's favorite son, Manny Pacquiao, box 12 rounds against Brandon Rios.

As NPR's Jonathan Blakely describes the scene, fans gathered at a plaza near city hall in the soaring heat and they watched the fight on a large screen powered by a generator.

When ring announcer Michael Buffer tallied the judge's scoring and declared Pacquiao the winner, the crowd erupted into cheers.

"It's like we were given hope," Haugen Ely Marie Motagodo, who was watching the fight, told NPR's Frank Langfitt. "I can't express it, but we're alive again, thanks to Pacquiao."

Frank, who's in Tacloban, tells our Newscast unit that the city is still facing a long, hard recovery.

"But for an hour this afternoon," reports Frank, "they had something to celebrate."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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