Cockfighting in Cebu is a big deal! Here’s a side to Cebu you won’t see on Netflix.
I recently did a stag tour in Cebu that involved babes, boats and a whole to of (really good) street food! During our downtime one of my colleagues suggested cockfighting, well I nearly choked on my Tanduay, we’ve all heard the phrase “don’t cross the streamers”, but when I realized he was talking about roosters I was much more amiable to the idea.
Cockfighting is a huge deal in the Philippines, there’s TV channels dedicated to it, you see adds for chicken feed everywhere, and the industry is literally worth billions. Is it cruel? Yeah, probably, but its also part of the culture.
Despite its popularity there’s scant info online about cockfighting in the Philippines, so we hailed down a cab, asked the driver, and 15 minutes later were at the main cockpit in Cebu. Entrance cost a mere 2 dollars (our local got in for free by saying she was our guide), and then we were in. Before you enter the arena, you see then hospital part of the arena. Contrary to popular belief it is not always a fight to the death and many a cock (GIG) goes not o fight another day.
Once you’re in the arena shit gets real very quickly and it is frankly mental! If you don’t find a fixer, one finds you pretty quick. Minimum bet is 500 peso, or about $10, you then pick the best looking cock (will this joke every get old), and place your bet.
The noise of people betting is almost deafening, and I honestly have zero idea how they work out the winnings, but it seems to be done on some kind of tote system, which in a 2 cock race means payouts are rarely all that high, especially if there is a hot favourite.
Log story short the Street Food Guy walked in with 1000 peso, and walked out with 3000. Whatever, no big deal.