The Pit Manager

In the Philippines cockfighting is called Sabong, and it is one of the national sports. Usually spectators gamble on the outcome.

Every week legal cockfights are held in cockpits (Sabungan). Knives are used but in training these are covered with gloves.

Cockfight Derbies (Pintakasi) are also held which are for a fixed number of entries for each owner e.g. a two cock derby. The owner with most wins gets the jackpot.

Single-edged knives are used in derbies but double-edged are also sometimes used if the owners agree.

Usually the knives are attached to the left leg of the rooster by a gaffer (Taga Tari).

Sabongs are judged by a referee (setensyador) whose verdict is final and can not be appealed.

On the 4th. of January 2009, a Pit Manager, Arnel de Lara pictured above, invited me to attend a cockfight derby. Arnel was most helpful to me in obtaining a record of the proceedings. I had not previously attended one and I knew virtually nothing about cockfighting.

Reference: Wikipedia on Cockfighting

Silouhette of preliminaries to a cockfight
Sabon Schedule at Vigo cockpit

Fighting cock Rooster spur

When a rooster fights it raises its leg/legs towards its body and then brings it down. The spur functions like a dagger.

Two cock Derby - Brg, Vigo, Lubang - 4 Jan. 2009
Entrance attendant at the Vigo cockpit
Selecting pairs for a cockfight
In the matching pit the sabongers match their roosters.
Attaching a knife (gaff) to a roosters left leg Knife (gaff) box
Arranging bets on a fight Note: If fingers are held upwards they are in the denominations of ten, when horizontally they denote hundreds, and when downward they represent thousands.
The odds in betting begin at 10% then successively to 20%, 30% etc. and sometimes as high as 100% in favour of the Ilamado.
Two kinds of bets can be placed during the match - one in the galleries and the other with the pit manager in the arena as illustrated. In the later case a ten percent plasada, or arena fee, is deducted from the total bet.
Checking the betting
  Note: Ilamado is the name given to the crowd's favourite,
and the name Dejado to the 'underdog' (rooster)
Raising the fighting spirit by taking turns in pecking
Preparing to fight
Lookig for an oportunity
The Kill
Settling the Bet
Surgery for the winner
An outside view