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Lakaw is a journey is a step is a move. I love to travel around the world and this is my travel and travel gadget site. Welcome and Enjoy!

0 comments | Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Sunday in my province in Cebu Philippines, is not only for a househelper to enjoy pastime at Plaza Indepedencia or Fuente’s square, not only for a devout person to go and hear mass, nor only for a student to have a break from a traumatic exam, but also for a sabungero to exercise his gamecocks.
The smell of fighting cocks, the sight of vehicles and the crowd, the sound of their shouts – everything is telling me the same thing. There’s got to be a “derby” going on.

Cockfighting [it's "Sabong" in Cebuano dialect] is a sport in which two gamecocks battle each other in a fight to the death. It is one of the few things people in far-flung provinces and even in some areas in the city do every Sunday. It is the specialty of every sabungero, sure to say. A weekend is no fun for them without seeing a cock leaping high, flapping its wings and stabbing another in the air. Then they all get very excited.

I know all about it. My father was once a dedicated "cockfight lover" (now he has slowed down). He skipped out of the house, dashed to the town’s cockfighting arena, and there got stuck the whole Sunday afternoon.

When I was still at a tender age, I used to wonder where my father went. I thought he was doing something very important. "He is in his Sunday school," my mother often quipped. He, in fact, was into further studies – studying every cock's flight.

One time, I had to fetch my father from the cockpit. If it hadn't been because of my mother, I would never dare enter such place. I looked for my father. Yells of "Sa pula, sa puti! [for the red, for the white]", echoed all over the place. There were screams "Sa biya!" in every corner. Spectators placed bets on their favorite gamecocks. I noticed how bills flew from one had to the other, then someone said "shoot".

There in the midst of sabungeros I stood, looking about rather confused.

How shocking it was to see for the first time two fighting cocks fly a few feet off the ground with their "bulang" (a sharp, pointed artificial spur attached to the leg of each gamecock, usually steel or brass), to rip and tear at each other.

Then there was the clash. The sound of their wings crashing as they bumped on each other in the air and gave everyone the urge to roar for more. As one of the cocks weakened to death, smiles of victory started to break through the grinning faces of some. In my father's face was sadness, a sign of misfortune, of loss.

We had many of high-bred fighting cocks. My father looked after them when they were still chicks, nursed them when they were sick and nurtured them so they'd grow strong legs, wings and thighs ready for combat. They were specially bred to attain speed of movement, valor, physical strength and acquire the killer instinct. Indeed, he saved to buy vitamins and feeds for the daily maintenance of his combative roosters.

Cockfighting is part and parcel of Philippine fiestas, in the barrio or sitio. This is an assembly of people gathered in a certain place, usually outdoors, where betting and cockfighting is held. A cock is paired with another of the same built, allowed to peck at each other and when the birds are angry, they are released – then the clashing begins.

Majority in our town have fighting cocks raised in their homes. When one has time, he visits other houses and looks for other cocks that would match his. In this way, a cock could practice its flight and, eventually, is stabbing techniques.

The breeder generally trims the long spurs down. When the comb or "tapay", a soft red growth on top of its head, is old enough, it is being cut off or detached using a sharp blade. Others trim the gamecock's brightly colored feathers to add more beauty to its arrogant stand.

Some breeders believe that cocks, with a unique formation of scales in their legs, are lucky ones. Even a deformed claw is treated as good fortune.

Cockfighting is said to have begun in Asia thousands of years ago. The sport came to ancient Greece and Rome by the way of China and India. It spread throughout Europe. During the 1600s, the sport became popular in England, where the training and the breeding of fighting cocks became an important industry.

So are you into cockfighting?

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