KFC anyone?



On one of the sunny days in Manila a few of us decided to go and watch a popular southeast Asian sport of cock fighting, or Sabong as it’s known locally.  There are in fact two different types of cockfighting the legal and illegal (tupada) ones.  We ventured to the more reputable and legal cockpit arena (where the term cockpit comes from).


Photographs are not normally allowed so we took this as quickly as we could!

Held in one of the more poorer provinces we were the only westerners there and the locals treated us like guests, helping us to some really good seats and explaining the rules of the game and more importantly how to bet.

The main aim of the fight is that two well trained (and prior to the event very looked after) poultry are put into the cockpit armed with blades (I kid you not) and began to tussle it out until one of them dies.


Trainers deciding which of their two birds will fight (the one that's more
aggressive is always picked)


Quite often the fights are over quickly with one of the birds doing some high flying kick and taking the other bird out – that is seriously what happens. 


An unlucky blow took this one out in seconds

It’s incredible how quickly you become quite chilled out about the whole thing; this a far cry from bull fighting, where last year I went with my friend Vicky (who doesn’t realize she’s a great inspiration for my world trip) to Pamplona in Spain to be chased by bulls but worse still watched the brutality of the matador executing the bull slowly and painfully.

This could be perhaps that it’s animal on animal or that it’s over quickly rather than in a long fifteen minute blood bath – but you just lose emotion from it.

Bets are taken and made across the cockpit using hand signals

One of our "guides" with a wad of 1,000 peso notes in his hand

Patrick looking on to the intermediaries in red
who place bets on other peoples behalf

The excitement from the cock fighting truly comes from before each fight.  The moment when everyone goes crazy and wages bets with each other on if the favourite will win or not.  I could never fully grasp how the odds system worked but these varied with whom you were betting.  Suffice to say I made a loss of a few thousand pesos (but did have one win!).



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