What is Sabong?

What is Sabong

What is Sabong

Sabong, or cockfighting, is more than just a game in the Philippines – it’s a cultural phenomenon with deep historical roots.

While controversial to some, it remains an integral part of Filipino tradition.

Sabong is a traditional and popular sport in the Philippines. It involves two gamecocks, or specially bred roosters, fighting each other in a ring called a cockpit.

Here are some key points about Sabong:

  1. Historical Significance: Sabong has a long history in the Philippines, predating the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. It’s deeply embedded in the culture and is seen by many as a tradition rather than just a sport or form of entertainment.
  2. Preparation: The gamecocks are meticulously raised and trained for these fights. Their diet, exercise regimen, and overall care are often tailored to ensure they are in peak fighting condition.
  3. The Fight: On the day of the fight, the roosters’ natural spurs are sometimes replaced or sharpened with metal blades, known as ‘gaffs’ or ‘tari’. This makes the fights more lethal. A match lasts until one rooster is incapacitated or killed.
  4. Betting: Sabong is not just about the fight; it also has a significant gambling aspect. Spectators place bets on which rooster they believe will win, and the atmosphere in the cockpit can be intense.
  5. Legality and Controversy: Cockfighting is legal in the Philippines, regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and local government units. However, it remains controversial due to concerns about animal welfare. Critics argue that it is a cruel sport, while proponents see it as a cultural tradition.
  6. Modern Variations: With advancements in technology, a variant known as “e-sabong” or online cockfighting has emerged, allowing people to bet on and watch fights live-streamed online.

Sabong remains an integral part of Filipino culture, especially in rural areas, and is seen as a blend of sport, entertainment, and deep-rooted tradition.

How A Sabong Game Is Carried Out

How A Sabong Game Is Carried Out

How A Sabong Game Is Carried Out

Here’s how Sabong is typically played:

  1. Preparing the Roosters: Before the match, game fowls are meticulously cared for, often undergoing a rigorous training regimen. They are conditioned to peak physical form, which includes specific diets, exercises, and even massages.
  2. Choosing the Arena: Traditionally, Sabong is held in dedicated arenas called “cockpits.” Some are simple, outdoor arenas in rural areas, while others are larger, more modern structures in cities, complete with seating arrangements and betting stations.
  3. Match Day Rituals: On the day of the fight, handlers often perform rituals believed to bring luck. This might involve bathing the rooster in a specific way, offering prayers, or applying certain herbs.
  4. Gaffing: The roosters’ natural spurs are temporarily replaced with metal blades known as ‘gaffs’ or ‘tari’. The type and length of the blade vary and can influence the fight’s outcome.
  5. The Actual Fight:
    • The roosters, or gamecocks, are first “warmed up” by being paraded around the arena.
    • They are then presented to the potential bettors to judge their form and vitality.
    • Bets are placed verbally, with callers shouting out wagers and bet amounts.
    • The match begins with the call of “Pada!” or “Soltada!”, urging handlers to release their gamecocks.
    • Fights are fast-paced, often lasting just a few minutes. The gamecock left standing, or the one displaying the most intent to fight, is declared the winner.
  6. Betting: Sabong is also known for its vibrant betting culture. Bettors communicate their bets through a series of hand signals. Major matches can see significant sums of money changing hands.
  7. Post-Match: After the match, winning gamecocks are treated for any injuries. In some cases, they’ll retire to stud, while others may fight again.

In Conclusion: Sabong is an age-old Filipino tradition, a spectacle of color, noise, and passion. To truly understand its significance, one must see it as more than just a sport; it’s a dance of pride, skill, and honor, deeply woven into the fabric of Filipino culture.

The Popularity of Sabong in the Philippines: A Deep Dive into a Cultural Phenomenon and its Betting Methods

Sabong, or cockfighting, is not just a sport in the Philippines; it is a deep-rooted cultural tradition that dates back hundreds of years.

Over time, Sabong has cemented its place in Filipino society, attracting both local enthusiasts and curious tourists alike.

This article aims to shed light on the popularity of Sabong in the Philippines and delve into the various betting methods employed across different cities.

Sabong: A Historical Overview

The history of Sabong in the Philippines can be traced back to pre-colonial times. The sport was already popular among native Filipinos before the Spanish colonizers arrived in the 1500s. Recognizing its significance, the Spanish regime institutionalized cockfighting, using it as a means to gather people for religious ceremonies and to collect taxes.

Today, Sabong remains a significant aspect of Filipino culture, celebrated in festivals and local events. It is considered both a form of entertainment and a manifestation of masculinity and honor.

The Popularity of Sabong Today

While controversial, due to concerns over animal welfare, Sabong’s popularity has not waned. Here are some reasons for its enduring appeal:

  • Cultural Significance: For many Filipinos, Sabong is not just a sport but a way to connect with their ancestral roots. It’s a reflection of their history, traditions, and identity.
  • Economic Impact: Sabong generates substantial revenue. Breeders invest in top-quality game fowls, and a winning rooster can be sold for a high price. Furthermore, the construction of cockfighting arenas, or ‘bulwagans’, contributes to local employment and tourism.
  • Social Gatherings: Sabong events serve as a venue for socialization. It’s a place where people from different walks of life come together to celebrate a shared interest.

Betting Methods in Sabong

Betting in Sabong is as old as the sport itself. While the core concept remains the same, the methods vary across cities:

  • Traditional Hand Signals: Most commonly used in rural areas, bettors use hand signals to communicate their bets. The complexity of the signals allows bettors to specify the amount, the rooster they are betting on, and even the type of fight.
  • Oral Betting: Particularly in smaller arenas, bettors shout their wagers to the ‘Kristo’, a person who manages the bets. The Kristo then repeats the bet loudly to confirm and record it.
  • Electronic Betting: In urban areas and larger arenas, electronic systems are in place. Bettors place their wagers on machines, similar to horse racing. This method is considered more organized and reduces the chances of disputes.
  • Online Platforms: With the advent of technology, online Sabong has become a trend. Platforms allow users to watch live streams of cockfights and place bets in real-time.


Sabong, with its rich history and cultural significance, remains a vibrant part of the Filipino cultural tapestry.

While concerns regarding its ethical implications persist, there’s no denying the sport’s deep roots in the nation’s psyche.

As with any form of gambling, those interested in Sabong’s betting methods should approach it responsibly, understanding both the cultural significance of the sport and the potential risks associated with wagering.

How Can I Bet Sabong in Philippines?

Betting on Sabong (cockfighting) in the Philippines is a deep-rooted tradition and has evolved over time to incorporate modern technologies.

However, it’s essential to note that gambling, in any form, comes with risks and should be approached responsibly.

If you’re considering placing bets on Sabong in the Philippines, here’s how you can go about it:

Traditional Cockfighting Arenas (Bulwagans)

  • Visit a Local Arena: Sabong events are held in arenas known as ‘bulwagans’. Here, you can witness the fights in person and place your bets.
  • Understand the Hand Signals: In many traditional arenas, especially in rural areas, bettors use specific hand signals to indicate their bets. Familiarize yourself with these signals before placing a wager.
  • Use the ‘Kristo’ System: In some arenas, there will be individuals called ‘Kristos’ who manage the bets. Bettors shout their wagers to the Kristo, who then repeats the bet to confirm and record it.

Electronic and Online Betting

  • Electronic Systems in Arenas: Some modernized arenas in urban areas have electronic betting systems. Here, bettors can place their wagers on machines, similar to how one might bet on horse racing.
  • Online Sabong Platforms: With the growth of technology and the internet, several platforms now offer live streaming of cockfights, allowing users to place bets in real-time. Websites like ‘Sabong International’ have grown in popularity, providing a platform for enthusiasts worldwide.
    • Registration: Begin by registering on a legitimate online Sabong platform.
    • Deposit Funds: After registering, you’ll need to deposit funds into your account. Most platforms offer various payment methods, including bank transfers and e-wallets.
    • Place Your Bet: Once your account is funded, you can watch live streams of cockfights and place bets on your preferred rooster.
    • Withdraw Winnings: If you win, your winnings will be credited to your account, from which you can request a withdrawal.

Know the Law

While Sabong is a culturally accepted activity in the Philippines, it’s essential to be aware of local regulations:

  • Legal Age: Ensure you are of legal age (usually 18 or older) to participate in any betting activity.
  • Licensed Operators: Only bet through licensed and regulated operators, whether in traditional arenas or online platforms. Engaging with unlicensed entities can expose you to unnecessary risks and illegal activities.
  • Responsible Gambling: Set a budget and stick to it. Remember, gambling should be seen as a form of entertainment, not a way to make money. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, seek help.

In conclusion, while the allure of Sabong betting can be tempting, always ensure that you’re betting responsibly and legally. Knowing the rules, understanding the risks, and setting limits are essential to enjoying the experience without adverse consequences.