Cockfighting in Camotes

Cockfighting is popular almost everywhere in South East Asia. You can usually see it in rural areas, but also in big cities, such as Ho Chi Minh. However, it is in Philippines where cockfighting is almost a national pastime. Unlike in Vietnam or Indonesia where it is illegal, in Philippines it is practiced regularly, legally and often, in makeshift stadiums holding hundreds of spectators who are encouraged to make bets on “winners”. As a rule, the fighting goes on until one of the birds is killed. This series was taken in the island of Camotes, in the Visayas region.

Fighting cocks are specially bred and raised and some are worth significant amounts of money.
To ensure a bloody end to the fight, sharp metal spurs are tied to roosters’ feet.
The bouts are started almost like a boxing match, with much fanfare and introductions.
The owners of the cocks introduce the birds before sabong, or the fight.
Roosters possess natural aggression towards other roosters.
The spectators are predominantly male, but occasionally females attend the derbies as well.
One of the roosters will make it until the next fight. The other one will not.
The referee, or sentensyador, remains on the pit and occasionally separates the birds or encourages them to fight.
The fight will go on until the death of one of the roosters.
Sentensyador’s verdict is always final.
Sometimes, both birds get badly injured in progress.
The loser will end up in the kitchen pot.