WATCH: A Look into the Pinoy Game of “Sabong”

Warning: The video embedded on this story contains graphic imagery. Viewer discretion is recommended.

Sabong or cockfighting is a sport where two roosters, specifically trained roosters or game cocks, are pitted against one another often on a battle to the death. A special kind of blade is attached on one leg of the cock, which usually results to a bloody fight and possibly bloody death.

The battle is done in an arena or coliseum where spectators of the cockfight can bet on the cock they believe will survive and win. The bets are usually handled by the kristo, whose name came from his outstretched hands when calling out bets and he does this well so purely from memory.

Sabong is a classic gambling sport in the Philippines. Sportsbook platform providers facilitate this interest. Many Filipino men regardless of social status get to partake on this sport for so many years now. Actually, it has been going for a long time (for thousands of years) that many say that it has been integrated into the Filipino tradition.

Sabong is especially prominent in the provinces or barrios as there are even buildings constructed for the sole purpose of holding cockfighting tournaments. These cockfighting arenas are called coliseums or in some instances, cockpits.

Recently, sabong was featured on the Australian TV show “VICE”.

In this show, they covered what they called the “billion dollar industry” of cockfighting. Yes, sabong has become a billion dollar industry, with more than 2,500 coliseums or cockfighting arenas across the country. There have also been organizations dedicated to breeding their own game cocks, which they enter on cockfights or sell to cockfighting enthusiasts and bettors.

VICE said the following about their video:

In the Philippines, the 6,000 year-old sport of cockfighting has been transformed into a fully-legal, billion dollar industry. Known locally as sabong, it takes place in 2,500 dedicated stadiums across the country and kills an estimated 30 million roosters each year.

A few months back, VICE Australia hit the cockpits and hatcheries of Manila. There we met the breeders, trainers, and philosophers who help make sabong the Philippines’s national obsession.

Watch VICE’s video about sabong below.

What’s your take on sabong?

Some say it’s okay since it has been going on for so long while others find it gruesome especially with what appears to be maltreatment of the animals (game cocks) that participate on the cockfights (which can lead to their brutal death).

Share your thoughts in the comments.



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