Cockfighting in the Philippines: A Sport Embedded in Culture

Cockfighting is a sport that the Philippines proudly boasts as part of their culture and sports.

But the sport has not only fascinated men, it has also attracted some women. “I got myself among all those bettors and breeders winning me enough faces of contempt and some others smiled between sympathy and curiosity,” a woman among 300 men and fifty roosters said.

However, the sport is still somehow reserved for men. Someone said that to avoid bad luck in fights, one should not let a woman touch the rooster. Although feminists would surely be hurt with this, the practice of not letting a woman touch a game fowl is just a superstition.

Game fowls in the Philippines are bred from imported eggs in Mexico and U.S. where breeds of game fowls are considered as superior. Eggs travel by plane with specially equipped thermal cameras. Breeding begins once the eggs landed in the Philippines. Breeders carefully measure their daily protein intake in reference to their diet as feeding is one of the most important factors in breeding according to cockfight enthusiasts.

20 days before their scheduled fight, their diet is increased and they are given vitamin supplements. They are also trained physically most especially their muscles and cardio. Knives, which is usually proportional to their size, are only placed in their legs five minutes before the fight.

In the arena, noise comes from the bets that are voiced with hand movements. Entrance to the cockpit is usually set at 300 pesos. As fight begins, big number of bettors fill the atmosphere. Minimum bet is usually 100 pesos and can go higher than 10,000 pesos. 10 percent of the total bet is given to the owner of the winning cock.

The game fowls are heated as handlers hold them to let them peck each other. Blood begins flowing as soon as they clash and will only stop until one surrenders or becomes immobilized.

However, losing game fowls end up in the pan and cooked. No worries, the smell of broth makes memories with the cock more vivid.

After the fight, winning cocks get cured by game fowl nurses comes for 200 pesos each. They are given luxury to recover and prepared for the next fight. As it says, “If you have a good animal, you better keep it.”



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