"To preserve a lifestyle."
This is most likely one of the reasons behind Manila Polo Club’s "snobbery" of Pound-for-Pound King Manny Pacquiao’s membership application.
Michael Marley’s July 13 article on BoxingPlanet.net stated, "The Pinoy Idol just got snubbed for membership by the grand poobahs at the Manila Golf Club and Manila Polo Club and the story has been relegated to a few lines here and there in the Filipino press. Clearly, this is prejudice based on pedigree..."
But one board member of the Manila Golf Club spoke to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) to clarify one thing: the Pacman submitted an application to Manila Polo Club alone and not to both clubs.
The reason, according to this board member, could be exclusivity: "It’s a small club in a small village. They want to preserve a lifestyle."
Exclusive clubs, such as The Manila Golf Club, are particularly strict in terms of its members’ bringing of guests, bodyguards, or in Pacqiuao’s case, an entire entourage.
The board member elaborated that even The Manila Golf Club’s two honorary members—the Philippine President and the mayor of Makati City—are not permitted to bring along bodyguards.
There was one instance when former President now Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wanted to play golf, but—related the board member—was not allowed to be accompanied by a bodyguard.
Recently, the United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas had a hard time gaining access for his secret service officers. Instead of four, only two were allowed, and the hosting member received admonishing from management.
While the Manila Golf Club has maintained its high-brow exclusivity in the eyes of the public for 78 years now, The Manila Polo Club has seen a 102 years of establishment.
The latter club maintains its exclusivity by keenly screening an applicant before being permitted to join.
Its official website offers its initial procedure for applying to be a member:
"Any party interested in becoming a member of the Club must first file an application with the Membership Committee to purchase a proprietary membership certificate. A deposit of the applicable transfer fee shall be required from the applicant. It will be refunded to him without interest in the event his/her application is rejected for any reason whatsoever, minus the applicable processing fee as prescribed by the Board of Directors."
Moreover, indicated in The Manila Polo Club’s Amended By-Laws (Pursuant to Section 2, Article VI), is that "every applicant for the purchase of a proprietary membership certificate and for associate, life, courtesy, and special guest membership shall be nominated and seconded by a proprietary member qualified to vote."
This means that Manny’s 388-million-peso home in Forbes Park does not make him worthy enough to be a part of Manila’s most elite clubs.
In 2008, a brief report was mentioned in Philippine Daily Inquirer that his friend Chavit Singson’s club membership application was also disapproved.
PEP will readily publish any statement that will be issued by Manny and the other parties involved.