It took me almost a month to start
writing as well as two weeks to force myself
(yes, this assignment is perhaps the farthest from
my heart since I start writing for the Daily Dipolognon)
to do the research. So
off I go and know what I was wrong, cockfighting is a
first thing one should do is go to a library.
Where else will I go?
But to the Andres Bonifacio College Main Library
since this is the only Library in the province where you
can find books old and new in such a gargantuan of
off I went to their Filipiniana Section.
Boy, was I amazed! There are few books on the
subject yet most are still unread until today.
So, I took several books and start my reading
is part and parcel of the Filipino Culture.
It is a traditional gambling sport of the Filipinos
even before the Spaniards came.
Yes, you’re reading it right.
was even a hyperbolic tale regarding how obsessed a
Filipino is when it comes to game of the war birds.
The tale goes this way:
When a Filipino’s home caught in fire, guess who
will rescue first? Nope,
it’s not going to be his wife.
Nope, it is not going to be his children. But of course, his rooster first, then his wife and children.
was even a tribe of mountain people, the Sulod, who made a
story that the souls of the departed find the cockfighting
as their favorite pastime.
some, cockfighting is addicting, he bets everything he
owns, steal if he must.
those are simply stories but they bear some truths.
in his book, First Voyage Around the World, made
the first historical mention of cockfighting by observing
that local residents of Palawan: “They keep large cocks,
which from a species of superstition they never eat, but
keep for fighting purposes.
Heavy bets are made on the upshot of the contest,
which are paid to the owners of the winning birds”.
has changed little since the Spanish Colonial time, just a
City Cockpit Coliseum
become a buzz every Sunday and holiday, for people mostly
male, the "sugarols" ( a local term for habitual
gamblers) troop to the city cockpit and with
a smile on their faces and hope in their hearts placed
their hard-earned money to a rooster of their choice. If
he wins, you cannot erase the smile on his face but if his
cock loses, he could offer a million reasons why his cock
lose from the most rational to the most illogical.
Sa pula! Sa
cockpit is a perfect arena theater, the place is
compartmentalized: an area for the rooster to fight, an
area for the spectators, a roof above, and a minimum
amount of ventilation that separate them from the rest of
will be charged with a gate fee upon entering.
If you have a cock, you will go immediately to the
matching section where cocks are matched by their weight.
of beyond comprehension could be observed during this time
all done in the name of the game. Here are some:
cock owner may handicap his rooster, while another may
spur on the right instead of the traditional left leg of
the rooster. Another owner may attach the gaff at an angle higher.
All done in the spirit of fairness and justice (?)
one found his match and bets are agreed.
The roosters are heeled with razor-sharp slashes by
A heeler chose the correct type of slasher for the
rooster and properly attached the slasher at a proper
sure that everything is done properly for a slightest
error means everything.
the cockpit, like paintings they are exhibited, weighed
and judged. Then,
the spectators start placing their bets.
The rooster are identified and called by their
your for the “puti”(white) or for the “pula”
have two modes: the axial bets are made by the
owners of the roosters coursed through the house which
gets the ten percent then, while, the peripheral bets
are bilateral agreements between spectators through an
intermediary famously called “THE KRISTO”.
While the casador remember the amount of bet
and the faces that placed the bet before the official
the fights begin…
roosters are released by their handlers while another man
serve as a sentencer known for his fairness and honesty.
fight is bloody.
winner has to peck the loser twice in order for his
after the fight the bets are retrieved and another fight
will start so it is not unusual to see people still inside
the Dipolog City Cockpit going home until the wee hours of the
is cockfighting. For the outsider like me it is an
adventure but for every true-blue “sugarol” it is life