MANILA, Philippine — Christmas, for most Filipinos, is centered around the family, spending the holidays with loved ones is usually a beloved tradition.
But for mixed martial arts sibling duo Denice and Drex Zamboanga, this year will be a little different.
Denice and Drex, who are both athletes of Singapore MMA promotion ONE Championship, will need to buck loneliness and homesickness during the Holidays as they remain in Thailand.
Though they have not been home since early this year, both fighters have chosen to continue their stay overseas with their fighting careers in mind as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rolls on.
Speaking to Philstar.com in an online interview last Wednesday, the Zamboanga siblings shared their reasons for missing out on a Filipino Christmas this time around.
"For us, mags-stay lang kami dito for the holidays… Kasi sobrang hirap umuwi sa Pilipinas tapos yung situation sa Pilipinas mas mahirap din," said the 23-year-old Denice who is currently one of the top contenders of the women's atomweight division.
"Kapag dito kasi, mas magiging ready kami if ever na may paparating na laban," she said.
It will be her and her older brother's first time to be away from their family during Christmas. But both fighters received support from their family members here about their decision.
"First time namin hindi mag-Christmas sa Philippines na hindi kasama yung family namin. Medyo malungkot pero sacrifice ito, tinanggap din ni Mama at Papa kasi para rin naman ito sa career namin," Denice said.
Drex, for his part, agreed with his younger sister. Instead of focusing on missing out on the celebrations here in the Philippines, they choose to zero in on why they continue to stay in Thailand after all these months.
"Inisip nalang namin yung bright side na itong ginagawa namin na ito ay para sa career namin, sa future namin," said Drex, a URCC Bantamweight champion who recently made his debut with ONE Championship.
"Naintindihan naman ng parents namin yung situation… Support parin naman sila sa amin, alam nila yung passion namin," he added.
Rising through the ranks of the Singapore promotion, the Filipino siblings hope to become a sibling duo of champions in the ONE Circle.
Keeping themselves busy in developing their skills and training amid the health crisis and the Holidays is already a step in the right direction towards their goal.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com