Thursday, December 22, 2011

My first Cockfighting Expereince in the Philippines

My first cockfighting experience was about five years ago in the Philippines. I did not enjoy the experience, but my two US-born sons had a fantastic time.

I grew up in the Philippines, until I was 25 years old. But I have never attended a cockfighting tournament. When I was growing up my parents instructed me never to go inside the arena or else I would get a beating in the buttocks. However, without my parents knowledge, my friend and I were outside the arena a number of times where there were stalls selling meriendas (Filipino cakes), balut and other Filipino delicacies. Outside the arena, I could still remember vividly the noise and commotion inside when the winner was announced, even to this day.

It was only four years ago, when we celebrated our Golden wedding anniversary that I attended a cockfighting tournament in Marinduque. This was the first request of my two sons, nephew to be (the boyfriend of my niece) and son-in-law who all grew up in the US. They have heard and read about it, so they were really curious. So the first Sunday of their visit in Marinduque, I took them to my first cockfighting experience. We were accompanied by a local relative who was a cockfighting enthusiast and a semi-addict of this bloody sport and its associated gambling activity in the Philippines.

WOW! What an experience! The crowds were 99% male. There were only three women out of about 300 gamblers. My son-in-law and “nephew to be” were the only two white-skinned males (gringos) in the crowd. Of course my son-in-law, who is 6 feet and 6 inches tall, stuck out like a sore thumb with his height and his bald head. At first I really did not understand what was going on, as the gamblers were all shouting their bets to the bet taker almost all at the same time. But I heard the bet taker never makes a mistake. What a memory! There were two sides, Mayron and Wala. When I was growing up, the two opposing sides were Sa Pula and Sa Puti.

“Mayron” means you have something and “Wala” means you have nothing. “Pula” means red and “Puti” means white, indicating the opposite color of the roosters. But sometimes the roosters have the same color, so this was abandoned to the current Mayron or Wala as the two opposing sides.

The noise was so deafening once a winner or a “kill” was declared. It sounded like a thousand females had an orgasmic experience all at the same time. It was so loud that I had to cover my ears. I enjoyed watching more the antics of the crowd than the actual cockfights, except for the moment of kill. After a few of these bouts, I got tired, so I went outside the arena. In the meantime, my guests were betting and enjoying themselves. We stayed for only about 2 hours since I was getting tired due to the noise, the heat and humidity in the arena. My son won $10, but my son-in-law lost $15. They had a grand and fantastic time. I did not!

I will never attend a cockfighting tournament again. I don’t like the gambling atmosphere and the smell of the place (the smell of perspiration). My preference of gambling venues is the air-conditioned casinos, not the smelly cockfighting arenas. It was however, an experience to remember. Cockfighting also reminded me of bull fighting in Spain, that my wife and I attended about fifteen years ago. I loved the bull fights, not the cock fights.

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