Jackie Buntan Connects With Her Philippine Roots

Jackie Buntan may have spent only a few days in the Philippines but she made sure that she was able to connect with her roots in her brief yet memorable visit.

The ONE Super Series star recently went back to her motherland and was able to finally meet the family whom her parents grew up with.

While she was born and raised in the United States, Buntan maintained a close link to the Philippines and her visit to the country just made her appreciate her roots and extended family even more.

“It was a quick trip, it was initially brought up to me from the ONE Championship team to do a little project with ONE, and I figured if I have time why not see family I haven’t met before. I wanted to be able to meet my dad’s family and my mom’s family. Both sides. And I was able to even though it was a super short amount of time, I was able to see them,” she said.

“In general, everything was great. All the people were great, treated you so respectfully and humbly, and everything was just so welcoming. I had a really fun time out there.”

Buntan recalled how she got to see her dad’s side of the family and take a gander on the same street where her father grew up in Navotas City.

As for her relatives from her mom’s side, the strawweight Muay Thai star said they made the effort to drive to Manila for their reunion. Buntan added that some of her relatives even made the five-hour drive from Batangas just to make the occasion.

“My dad’s family is in Navotas City, that’s where he grew up as a kid. They’re still on the same street so it’s really cool to see. And then my mom’s side is scattered all over the place so they all drove from separate towns, some of them were five hours away like Batangas. They all met us in Manila. My mom’s side was so split apart, and they all drove down to Manila to see us.”

Of her vast experiences in her visit, Buntan said it was the welcoming nature of her relatives that put her at ease. The food, especially, was a nice treat and she quickly discovered a newfound love for the “longganisa” during her brief stay.

“The Filipino culture is very different in the Philippines compared to America, there are differences and similarities but everyone was just so welcoming, they made me feel at home. My favorite would have to be longganisa (sausage), as a kid that was my favorite it was so simple, but in the States we would only get the sweet one, so I’ve never had this one before called longganisang Tagalog, it’s a savory one, I was eating that so much. It was so good.”

Buntan, who’s now back in the United States, doesn’t have a fight lined up yet but she’ll be tuning in at ONE 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash. The natural striker is now busy helping friend and Boxing Works teammate Janet Todd for her title match against Lara Fernandez.

Todd, who holds the ONE atomweight kickboxing world title, has a chance to become a two-sport champion when she and Fernandez duke it out for the ONE interim atomweight Muay Thai world title.

ONE 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash is set for July 22, Friday, and broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Author: Robert Belen

Robert Belen is a long-time combat sports writer for dSource Boxing. An avid sports fan, he knows no fear nor partiality in his reporting. If you have a problem with him, tell it to his face. (We bid you not.) You can follow him on Twitter @robertbelen

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