It has been more than two months since Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga stepped foot in her home country of the Philippines, and the ONE women’s atomweight contender is already missing home.
Zamboanga is currently stuck in Pattaya, Thailand following strict travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 23-year-old came off a big win over Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi at ONE: King of the Jungle on February 28 before returning to the Fairtex Training Center — her home when preparing for bouts in The Home Of Martial Arts.
She was supposed to head home after her pit stop in Pattaya, but the travel restrictions were already in place, forcing her to stay in the area until the virus could be contained.
For Zamboanga, she just feels grateful that she has already accustomed herself to staying abroad before this happened.
“When I first got here, I was crying for one week because it’s my first time to be far from my family, and I miss them. So what I do is I go home every two to three months or after each fight,” Zamboanga said.
“Now since I’ve been here for about a year, I think I’m used to it already, but of course homesickness will always be there.”
Zamboanga is faring well in Thailand, though when the opportunity comes to go home, she will take it without batting an eye.
“I am doing well here in Thailand. I’m safe and I can stay active,” Zamboanga shared.
“I am planning to go home when the airlines start to operate. I want to go home first before competing again.”
The good thing for the Quezon City native is that she has picked up some friends to keep her company.
But they are no ordinary friends, though. Zamboanga has found company in ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Champion Stamp Fairtex and ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon.
“I’ve gotten close with Stamp and Rodtang. When they were just starting, Stamp would always tell me about Rodtang and sometimes we go out to eat together,” she said.
Although Zamboanga would rather be with her family right now, she is thankful that of all places where she could be stuck, it is in the place she calls her second home.
“The Thai people are kind, welcoming, hospitable, and lovely, so I did not really struggle to adjust,” Zamboanga said.
“Right now I’m learning more and more about their culture.”
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