Tag Archives: breeding

What is Cockfighting

cockfighting

The pastime of cockfighting was depicted in this painting by an Ilonggo artist that I failed to identify.

What is cockfighting?
For the those who have limited understand about the world of cockfighting, they would just summarily say that it is a gambling activity where roosters and men get really involved.

Here is a article from Wikipedia about cockfighting:

A cockfight is a blood sport between two roosters (cocks) or more accurately gamecocks, held in a ring called a cockpit. The first use of the word gamecock, denoting use of the cock as to a “game”, a sport, pastime or entertainment, being in 1646. After the term “cock of the game” used by George Wilson, in the earliest known book on the sport of cockfighting in The Commendation of Cocks and Cock Fighting in 1607.

The combatants, referred to as gamecocks, are specially bred birds, conditioned for increased stamina and strength. The comb and wattle are cut off in order to meet show standards of the American Gamefowl Society and the Old English Game Club and to prevent freezing in colder climates. Cocks possess congenital aggression toward all males of the same species. Cocks are given the best of care until near the age of two years old. They are conditioned, much like professional athletes prior to events or shows. Wagers are often made on the outcome of the match. While not all fights are to the death, the cocks may endure significant physical trauma. In many other areas around the world, cockfighting is still practised as a mainstream event; in some countries it is government controlled.

Cockfighting is considered a blood sport by animal welfare and animal rights activists and others, due in some part to the physical trauma the cocks inflict on each other. Advocates of the sport often list cultural and religious relevance as reasons for perpetuation of cockfighting as a sport.

But here in the Philippines, cockfighting involves so many things. There is the science of breeding and conditioning, the pastime of joining in derbies, and the thrill of gambling. And of course, there is the business side to it where breeders grow fighting cocks and sell them for a good profit.

This is deeply embedded in the Philippine culture and thus, it would be good for us to at least try to understand it. And this website would just like to celebrate the sport and the players in it. May this be a resource that will also make you learn a thing or two.

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Game Fowl Breeding Tips from Bagyo Gonzales

team of bagyo gonzales

(l-r) Benedicto Ligaya (their driver during special events, Aaron’s grandson Roman, Aaron with their NGBA championship trophy, handler Butch Gonzales, and handler Michael Padpad.

Bacolod breeder Bagyo Gonzales is a humble man who admits that he was taught a lot by the late veteran breeder Otic Geroso.

Related Stories:
*Aaron Gonzales and His Breeding History
*The Game Farm of Bagyo Gonzales

But aside from the tips that he learned, Bagyo also did a lot of breeding experimentation in the farm. And he said that many of the things he is practicing right now are the results of trials, errors, and successes.

However, in terms of medication and supplementation, Bagyo just asks around, especially those at the feed store. He would inquire about new products as well as the medicines and supplements that are good for a certain fowl condition. Then he would try it on his flock and just find out what works. But of course, he keeps a record of his observations.

Bagyo also believes that a good looking rooster is not always a good fighter. That is why, he says, that one should not always rely on the looks but to always consider the bloodlines. Experience has taught him that if you have found the bloodline that you like, that is when you start breeding them to produce the battle crosses.

cord area

The cord area in the Gonzales farm.

Game fowl health is of utmost importance at Bagyo’s farm. Their place is naturally cold and is always raining, so protective measures are in place so that the birds are not sickly especially when they are still young. Bagyo’s birds are hen hatched and the ranged when they are a day old. But at night, the chicks are gathered in closed teepees so that they are sheltered from the rain, winds, and the cold temperature at night.

When derby time comes, Butch selects the best birds from their flock and confers his choices with his uncle. Bagyo says that among the birds that they have set aside for conditioning, they eliminate birds based on a couple of criteria. Firstly, the birds should maintain its robust body conformation throughout the conditioning period. And secondly, the chosen birds should improve in their performance every time they are sparred.

Since Bagyo’s handler and gaffer is also his nephew, he is always confident that Butch would always do a good job.

Bagyo has come a long way in his breeding. While enjoying their last championship, that episode wasn’t the end but rather a new challenge to work harder not just to maintain but also to surpass their past achievement. The trophy, however, gave this team the much needed confidence that they have what it takes to make it into the big league.

Aaron Gonzales may be reached in Bacolod City through Mobile No. 0918-388-0615.

cord area

The team checks the cord farm while Aaron’s grandson tags along

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Lair of Breeders

Note: “Lair of Breeders” was originally published at Poshpost.com. Re-published with permission. Original story here complete with photos: Lair of Breeders.

Aside from sugar and the Masskara Festival, there is another industry that Negros Occidental is known for—the breeding of fighting cocks. All over the country, Negros is known to be the lair of the best breeders in the country.

I have traveled the country from Tuguegarao to General Santos City in search for the best breeders of the country when my partner and I were tasked to interview and photograph the most famous game fowl breeders in the land. The company that hired us chose the men who have made a name for themselves not only for their production and their winnings, but also for their credibility in the pit, in their dealings, and their personal lives. These breeders are then called and branded, “Ang Maginoong Magmamanok.”

Although the company would have wanted all the regions represented, it was impossible. Seventy percent of the breeders we interviewed are all Negrosanons.

We visited their farms from Northern to Southern Negros. We had the opportunity to visit the best farms in the province that featured either one or more of these features—impressive infrastructure, functional yet stylish set ups, expansive landscapes, verdant plantations to provide ample oxygen to the fighting cocks, and thousands of game birds from chicks to stags to bull stags to full grown battle crosses! And oh lest you think otherwise, the ladies (I’m talking about the hens) also have their own special places.

I can never forget the first few breeders that we interviewed—Rafael “Nene” Abello of Isabela, Ampil Brothers in La Carlota, Juancho Aguirre of La Carlota, Emmanuel “Mame” Lacson of Bacolod City, Renato “Otic” Geroso of Alangilan and Mambucal, Murcia, Bob Cuenca of Ma-ao, Bago City, Freddie Yulo of Hinigran, Danilo Hinlo of Victorias, Lance dela Torre of Talisay, and Itoy Sison of Bacolod City. The rest became a blur to me as the company started sending us to other places. We had the job that many men around the country would die for! We were ladies and were given the opportunity to meet these breeding big guns and visit their farms! Cool!

Breeder wannabes and cockers from everywhere would come and visit Negros on a regular basis just to buy fighting cocks. Financiers from other cities and countries would tandem with Negros breeders and join in local and international derbies. We are that famous for the breeding of the best fighting cocks in the land!

This is such a big industry that my photographer-friend who was my partner in these endeavors thought of holding a Breeders Tour around Negros and I was given the chance to go along with them. She chose several of the most famous farms that were going to be the stop for the tour. Many cockers, upcoming breeders, and those who were just curious as to the breeding system here in Negros joined the tour.

The tour of Negros Breeders was the tour of fancy of cocking aficionados from other places. They were given hotel accommodations and brought around in tour vans. At the Negros farms, the owners themselves did a guided tour of their breeding areas, explaining their system along the way. They also unselfishly shared their techniques and other information pertaining to breeding. The breeders treated the participants to sumptuous lunch buffets in the farm! It was fun to partake of a great lunch (that sometimes featured lechon) amidst the beautiful landscapes of game farms while the fighting cocks were crowing on the side.

By the end of the day, the participants bought so many birds from the breeders so everyone was happy.

Sadly, the pharmaceutical company that hired us had to lay low of their support for the game fowl industry because of an international law against cockfighting. They were an international company so even though cockfighting is a much accepted game here in the Philippines, they were affected in other countries. Needless to say, they stopped sending us around 2005. Oh well, what can I say, it was a good 7 years – from 1998 to 2004 – that we had traveled the country to visit the premier game farms not only in Negros but also around the country.

After the stint with the company, cockfighting publishers would commission us to interview breeders to be featured in their magazines. And up until now, even though my friend is already in the United States, I still continue to do profiling of breeders here in Negros.

My most recent talk was again with Otic Geroso of Alangilan, Bacolod City, Manny Delleva of Talisay City, Beboy Javellana of Bago City, and Peter “Anggok” Montesa of Alangilan, Bacolod City.

I am very privileged to meet these people. I have learned a lot from them, not only in breeding, but also in life. Through my journeys, I have met some of the richest and most influential people in the industry. One thing I really learned from them is building your credibility so that people trust you. In the cockpit, there are no receipts, but cockers honor their bets.

Cockfighting may be associated with gambling for those who are not privy to this game, but for the breeders that I met, the breeding of fighting cocks is a science. They have a system of doing things and all their data are recorded religiously and meticulously. And all the breeders that I met do not bet much on their birds, they join derbies for marketing purposes. They would rather do breeding and do business. They are breeders, not cockers.

I am so thankful for the experiences I have had because of my travels. I am up for another interview next month, after the round of stag derbies this time of the year.

 

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