My Fowl Mood

Never a full night’s beauty sleep in rural parts of the Philippines. The constant cock-a-doodle-dos of a thousand roosters in training make sound sleep an impossibility. Cockfighting is to the Philippines what vodka is to Russia – the ultimate pass time.

Filipino men prance through the streets with their beloved fighting-cocks in arm taking them into restaurants or stores or wherever they want “to be seen.” Like Paris Hilton’s toy chihuahua, a colorful fighting-cock has become the ultimate living accessory, a must-have accoutrement for the fashion-conscious rural Filipino man. You can learn to breed them on Cock-Fighting TV. Or, if you are lazy but want to keep up with your pals, you can just order the Cock-in-a-Box starter kit. (No, I’m not making this up.)

Even if you don’t have a problem with people sewing razor-blades onto their pet chickens so that they can face off in gladiatorial battles to the death, you will have a problem with your hotel owner raising a dozen roosters behind your room. Especially since Filipino roosters seem to start going off at 2 o’clock in the morning. This explains why Lonely Planet so frequently mentions “rooster noise” in their hotel listings. It’s a MAJOR issue here.

And don’t be surprised if your hotel owner asks you to pay your bill early; it just means he has had a bad day at the fights. Or it could mean that his latest prize-fighter is a sure-win and he needs an extra bit of dough for the weekend. (You guys probably think I’m joking, but I’m serious. We’ve had multiple hotels ask us to pay up for exactly this purpose.)

One last quick comment. You all know that I am extremely fond of double-entendres – especially in titles. I would just like to pat myself on the back for exercising serious restraint in this posting. Plus, I was also a bit afraid of what Google ads it might trigger.

9 responses to “My Fowl Mood”

  1. avatar issa says:

    these fighting fowls are also often the object of jealousy of many wives, as gamers tend to spend more time with these than have quality time with family.

    • avatar Tony says:

      I believe it Issa, I couldn’t believe how into cockfighting these men were. And I also couldn’t believe how many low-income families were blowing their money on these fights. If I were one of the wives, I’d be furious to see all that money going down the drain.

  2. Cockfighting, dogfighting, bullfighting, . . . . culture-smulture, I call it sick and inhumane.

  3. avatar greeneyes says:

    This article makes me appreciate that while on an island in Thailand, this latest craze was betting on fighting fish.

    At least the fish were silent but the crowds would scream and cheer for their fish to win as the money was equally gambled off for the day.

  4. avatar Sandra says:

    You guys are awesome. I’m a Canadian living in the Phils and just found your site via Lonely Planet. The odd things I have encountered in 6 years here sometimes defy belief.

    If you are still in the country, I recommend the Subic Zoofari. Nothing like watching live chickens tied to strings tossed out of the window of a jeepney for the tigers to tear apart… and then upon exiting the ride, seeing a Gandhi quote: “A nation is judged by the way it treats its animals.”

    I’ll be following your adventures.

    • avatar Tony says:

      Oh my god, that’s outrageous! Although after many sleepless, rooster-filled nights in the Philippines, I might enjoy watching the chickens being eaten. Good Gandhi quote by the way. Although, we spent 15 months in India and I am wondering if Gandhi happened to be looking around at home.

  5. avatar issa says:

    I don’t think it’s about the animals, though, but about deep-rooted gambling, peer pressure, and the macho image. there’s the seemingly “easy” money. when a guy wins a bet, he doesn’t usually take it home but spend it all to drink with his buddies.

    and the stronger the fowl, the bigger the ego.

    “I might enjoy watching the chickens being eaten.”
    ahaha! if you decide to try it too, be sure to put it in a pressure cooker first. u know… all that training that the fowl went through…

  6. avatar Maria says:

    Hi guys, really enjoying your blog. I grew up in the Phils but now living in the UK for the last 20 yrs. I know exactly what you are talking about here. I grew up in rural leyte in the 70’s and we had fighting cocks right behind the bedroom. But somehow, it never bothered me then. The wife jealousy and macho image thing are all so true though. When our cock wins, we take home the dead bird plus winning. It becomes our dinner but only after hours of boiling otherwise, the meat would be so tough. I didn’t realise that cock fighting still exists. I thought that was history.

    • avatar Tony says:

      Nope, that’s not history. In fact, they are insistent on bringing cock fighting into the 21st century. Can’t say I’m a fan of cock fighting, although there were many days at 4 o’clock in the morning when I definitely wanted to kill the birds myself. At least they eat the bird after the fight.

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