If you are a gambler, a 50-50 odds of winning (or losing) would appeal to you. Unlike other forms of gambling, cockfights offer this and more. This is also the reason why the little people becomes prey to this promise of immediate gain (or unfortunately a greater loss).
According to Wkipedia, it was during Magellan’s voyage of discovery of the Philippines in 1521 when modern cockfighting was first witnessed and documented by Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan’s chronicler, in the kingdom of Taytay.
Called sabong locally, it is often considered a past time during fiesta celebrations. However, legal cockfights could be held at any time at any venue much like the illegal ones which are held in more secluded places to avoid raids from authorities.
Inside a cockpit, two roosters (cocks) fight it out to the death, each one has a small bladed knife attached to one of their legs. A sentensyador (referee) gives out the final verdict in every match while a kristo (literally translated Christ because of his outstretched arms) calls out wagers from the spectators while he smartly remembers them from memory.
Religious and animals’ rights groups want to ban the blood sport but without success. To add insult to injury, there is even a major event held annually for big time cockfighting afficionados that also includes foreign entrants.
However, nothing could be more frightening than what most poor people would do to reap winnings through cockfights. Besides the drinking routine, adding gambling as another ‘pastime’ would strain his already meager budget, limiting what’s little left to support a family. This is more akin to holding a stone in one hand and striking one’s head with it.
Sometimes I could not help but question: why resort to this risk taking that could only lead to possible financial ruin?