Philippines Cockfighting Sabong; Cockfighting in the Philippines.
To many outside observers, sabong or cockfighting, is an extremely brutal and bloody form of sport.
Compared to cockfighting in most Asian countries, by large, Filipino roosters only live to fight one or two matches before death or injuries retire them from the sport.
Despite this, sabong provides an allure that many find hard to resist. For some, it may be the thrill of the blood sport that provides all the excitement. For the majority, it is just simply the betting that draws them to this blood thirsty sport.
Although Philippines cockfighting is frowned upon in modern society, in the Philippines, this sport is legal.
From the time when the sport came to the shores of the Philippine islands, it has become one of the most popular sports in this country. The sport is not confined to just the poorer sections of society, it also has a huge following among the crème de la crème of Philippine society.
Among the most notable of them includes, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Ramon Mitra and Rodolfo Albano the House Majority Leader and the sibling of the former president of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino.
Many local officials and Governors are also aficionados of this sport.
Basically there are two breed of birds used for Philippines cockfighting.
The poorer section of society uses the native breeds while the rich normally import their breeds.
These fighting roosters are specially bred for their aggressiveness. And while the birds can still fight, they live a privileged life.
They are usually fed with better quality food like grain or grounded meat as compared to ordinary chicken feed.
The rich even have veterinarians and trainers to build up the muscles of these birds. In fact, it is said that Filipino men treat their roosters better than their wives!
The birds are pitted against each other in the legal Sabungan (cockfighting arenas) or just about anywhere that the participants decide to hold such a match.
Before the match, the birds are fitted with a curved heel blade known as the “Tare”. The fitting of the blade is an art unto itself.
The aim is to set the blade at just the right angle and height to suit the rooster’s fighting style so as to inflict the maximum amount of damage with the minimal amount of movement.
The next stage of the match is actually the most anticipated. The betting session!
Bettors have to choose between the “llamado” (the favorite) and the “dejado” (the underdog).
How do you Make a Bet at a Philippines Cockfight?
Understanding how the betting system works actually takes a little getting used to.
Like the trading pits of the commodity exchanges in New York or Chicago, bookies here use hand signals to denote their odds.
If a finger is pointed upwards, this means denominations of “Tens”.
When pointed horizontally, this would mean that the bets are accepted in terms of “Hundreds”.
Lastly, if the finger is downwards, the bets are accepted in denominations of “Thousands”.There are two types of bets that a bettor can place. One is in the gallery itself and the other is placed with the arena’s pit manager.
Here, bettors are liable for a 10% arena fee called the “Plasada’. On top of this, winners have to tip 10% of the winnings.
The game itself is a very fast paced and exciting to watch. And before you know it, the match is over.
For the Filipinos, Philippines cockfighting is also a form of entertainment to relieve the stress of life. But most important perhaps, they see it as a way of earning money when jobs are scarce.
Most Filipinos believe in lady luck, believe in easy money and believe in miracles. It is the Filipino’s notion of a romantic life when reality is so cold and difficult.
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How I became a Sabungero I still remember going to the Cockfights every Sunday with my late Grandfather each time we went home to the Province while my Mom was still active duty …