Election lawyer Atty. Romulo Macalintal has been a big fan of Muhammad Ali for as long as he can remember. He recalls that even back in his high school days, he would collect clippings of the boxing champ and keep them in a scrapbook.
This was the same scrapbook that earned him a chance meeting with his idol way back in 1975 where he got to hang out with the boxing legend in his hotel room and got his autograph on not just one, but seven clippings from his collection. It was a once in a lifetime dream come true for any fight fan and Atty. Mac cherishes this memory to this very day.
The collection has been with Atty. Mac for over 30 years and now, he keeps the signed memorabilia in separate frames, displayed in his home in Las Piñas to remember one of the his memorable celebrity encounters.
Like a true fan, Atty. Mac shares that he wants to keep the champ’s memory alive through the autographed clippings. But now, instead of simply admiring his collection on his wall, he wants his collection to make a difference in young people’s lives.
“We are planning to auction off these signatures and the proceeds will be used to support our scholars,” he said. Atty. Mac, who uses his salaries and ads from his radio show on DZRH for charity, has been running the Mission Guided by Mary foundation together with his family and has been funding the education of 600 scholars nationwide.
“We support elementary, high school and public college students through our partnership with 22 parishes nationwide,” he explained. “We cover tuition, transportation and meal allowance because we found that it is not really the tuition alone that causes difficulties for students to continue their education, but rather, its the daily expenses.”
Atty. Mac further shared that if the auction of the seven autographs goes well, he will start the Muhammad Ali Scholarship in memory of the boxing champ. He said that by starting this scholarship program, he is hoping that many other Ali fans would want to honor the legendary icon by helping sustain it.
“What I admire most about Muhammad Ali and what I hope to inspire with these young scholars is the sincerity to help others as well as humility,” Atty. Mac said.
He said that during his two hour interaction with the champ, he found that he was a genuine and down to earth human in the face of all his success. He said that it was something that he would like his scholars to emulate. Reminiscent of Gary Valenciano’s song “The Warrior is a Child,” Atty. Mac said that he wants the scholars to take a page from Ali’s book that even if they have tough exteriors, they will maintain their childlike kindness, humility and compassion for their fellowman.
Atty. Mac is currently trying to look into auction houses to appraise his collection and is targeting to support an initial 100 scholars under the Ali project.