in the cockpit
This is definitely my first time in a cockpit. I would have preferred to be on an airplane cockpit, but unless I get really lucky and earn a flight badge, this “gallera” will do for now.
I stuck out like a sore thumb. Everybody was staring at me – from one heavily tattooed guy to the next heavily tattooed guy. Even the fighting cocks were eyeing me. I thought about chickening out of this place, but then I would be insulting all those chicken brought here from all over town to provide this afternoon’s bloody entertainment.
This is the pre-match. Owners compare their combatants and try to find a close equal to their cock to fight in the pit. A match is called when both owners agree on the pairing and the amount wagered.
Once the match is set, each cock is then armed with a blade tied to one of its legs.
The blades come in many sizes, and they are rented out to the owners. Should the cock win, the blade owner gets paid. If the cock loses, the blade is simply returned. Everything is a gamble.
Tying up the blade requires skill. This man has been at it for over 12 years. The blades are kept very sharp, and there have been stories of handlers being disemboweled in the cockpit.
Feathers are ruffled before the fight. Fighting cocks are provoked and agitated before the actual fight, just to make sure that it is in fighting form and will not turn tail.
And that’s when the noise level goes up. Suddenly everybody is shouting at the same time. Bets are called and matched by the “kristo”. It’s just amazing how they are able to track bets from many people all at once. I’m not quite familiar with the hand gestures but that is possibly a P200 bet.
and this could be P30, or P300, or P3,000.
that’s the referee
The best seats in the house. Very close to the action. The glass needs cleaning, though.
And eventually here is where most of the cocks end up – the chop shop. P100 will have the cock stitched up and ready again in a few weeks.
This is really not for the faint-hearted. There’s blood and feathers all around, and no anesthetic. They may be chicken, but they’ve got a lot more chutzpah than some people.
I took care not to take photos of people who don’t want to be photographed. I didn’t know anybody, and anyone just might have something to hide. I have been asked by a big brawny fellow to take photos of some people sitting and a few others, and I quietly obliged without any intention of publishing them. In situations like this, prudence is of the utmost importance. I don’t think I will be coming back any time soon, if ever at all. I’ve seen enough and having to be on guard all the time just sucked my creative juices dry.