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Before Pacman,there was Kid Kulafu

Many of us are familiar with Manny Pacquiao, the eight-division world champion. But before he became the legendary boxing champion, what was he?

Director Paul Soriano shows the world a young Manny
Pacquiao played by Boboy Villar in the film title Kid
Kulafu that also stars Alessandra de Rossi as a
young Dionisio Pacquiao and Khalil Ramos as another
young boy from General Santos City who sparred
with Pacquiao
Those who have seen the world-champion pugilist as a young boy in General Santos City in Mindanao remember a tiny boy who collected empty Kulafu bottles and was, at the same time, a boxing enthusiast. His peers called him Kid Kulafu when had bouts with fellow young boxers in the city.

Film director Paul Soriano and his team of writers use the moniker as the title of the film he has produced on the life of Emmanuel Pacquiao, the young boy who wanted to be a boxer.

Now, Pacquaio, with the biopic focusing on his youth, is set to inspire the world in a different light. The movie shares his story not as a sports icon but as a young boy who knocked out life’s challenges.

 “This is the untold story of our People’s Champ--way before the fame, fortune, championships and even prior wearing boxing gloves,” says Soriano of the biographical film presented by ABS-CBN, Star Cinema, and Ten17 Productions. “It is not about his career as a professional boxer but an in-depth look into his early years, from his birth up to his teenage life.”

According to Soriano, it took them three years to finish the film. Prior to that, two years were dedicated to extensive research on the childhood of the People’s Champ.

“Viewers will discover in the film how hard life was for Manny as a kid in General Santos City. They will get to know a young boy who had nothing but attitude, passion, and fighting spirit to face every challenge head on and knock it out one by one,” Soriano says.

The director adds that what inspired him more to do the movie was when he got to know more Manny through a series of conversations which happened within the two-year research spent for the biographical film.

 As Manny shared, “All the pain and the knock outs I experienced in boxing were just physical pain. But you know what’s more painful? It’s the fact that you have nothing to eat, no home where you can rest, and having a broken family. And I endured all those when I was young.”

Like Soriano, former child actor and Kid Kulafu lead star Buboy Villar feels honored to be part of the world champion’s biopic.

“I knew that there were a lot who auditioned for the role that’s why I was so happy when I was chosen. Because I’m really a big fan of Pacquiao,” says Buboy who underwent serious boxing training in preparation for the film. 

“Because of Kid Kulafu, I realized that Sir Manny can be a huge source of inspiration to kids of today. He’s hardworking, determined to rise above poverty, and has high respect for his parents and family,” adds Buboy. “When Sir Manny stepped into amateur boxing, his goal was not to win. He wanted to help provide meals to his family and make his parents proud of him.”

Buboy assured moviegoers that there’s still a lot that the world don’t know about Pacman. He quipped, “Before he became a world champion, he was Kid Kulafu who was fueled by passion and faith.” 

Kid Kulafu was shot in Saranggani and General Santos City where Manny spent his childhood and teen years.

Portraying Manny’s parents Dionisia and Rosalio are award-winning actors Alessandra de Rossi and Alex Medina. Also part of the cast are Cesar Montano, Khalil Ramos, and Igi Boy Flores. 

Kid Kulafu will hit the screens nationwide on April 15.

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