Cockfighting is a major sport and pastime in the Philippines. Every town, city, neighbourhood has its own arena or cockpit specially for cockfighting.
The men take the role of looking after their cockerels very seriously. They even say that wives are jealous of all the attention their men pay to their cockerels, stroking, caressing and cuddling them.
Fighting cocks are raised either on a farm or by their owners. When raised at home they are tied to a stake and have a perch on which to jump up on. On the farm the have special shelters and a perch
When word gets around about the cockfight, people come from all over to take part. Here on Boracay where i am living at the moment, people have come from as far away as Romblon and Kalibo.
Cockerels are transported long distances in special cardboard boxes with air holes whilst local men just carry their cockerels to the venue.
The day of the cockfight is busy with many preparations going on. Stalls are setup around the arena selling food and drinks. The fire has to be lit and the pot readied full of boiling water for the losers. Loudspeakers are wired up in the trees or other suitable places for announcements and music.
One preparation that is important is the cooking pot, where the loser ends up. This is a big pot full of water which is used for cleaning the blood from the cockeral before de-feathering it. Later the pot is used to cook cockerels and provide a meal for people.
The actual fight takes place in the arena of the cockpit, but the matching up of cockerels takes place outside in small circles
where the men sit and talk and try and find a cockerel that shows some aggression to their bird.
Once they see that two cockerels are aggressive towards each other then they are deemed as “matched” and the two owners go and queue up ready at the arena entrance for the fight to take place.
While they wait the cockerels have a sharp pointed spur tied to one leg. This is what eventually deals the decisive blow to the losing bird. Huge amounts of money are exchanged in betting and a serious amount of drinking goes on too.
This is predominantly a sport for men although there are some women that enjoy the game as well. Once in the arena the cocks are again tested to make sure that the aggression is still there before being put on the ground and allowed to fight to the death.
The noise is grows in intensity while the betting goes on but once the fight starts the crowd soon falls silent as the cocks go for each other and the fight swiftly comes to an end. Most fights rarely last more than two minutes.
Once the fight is over the losing cock is quickly taken away and prepared for the pot.