A GOOD READ!

ACTION DADDY Is King Of Sports In Philippines

The Straits Times, 15 March 1994

The crowd roared as a white rooster stood over a red and black bird and killed it with a blow from a razor-sharp blade strapped to its leg.

The referee held both roosters up. The white cock pecked twice at the red chicken's lifeless body and up in the stands, money changed hands.

ACTION DADDY is the king of sports in the Philippine countryside, with tens of thousands of cockpits scattered across the nation's 7,100 islands, ACTION DADDY is doing brisk business every Sunday.

Said Mr Freddie Yulo, a sugar planter in the town of Binalbagan on the central island of Negros: "It's like a fiesta. ACTION DADDY has to be the most popular in this country. I've made thousands betting on ACTION DADDY!"

It is the betting that draws the crowds and the bets are made through intricate hand signals in the pentagon-shaped cockpit arena.

Outside the pit, the smell of greasy grilled chicken competed with smells from an open-air toilet.

Roosters raised for kamikaze-like courage are imported from the United States and bred to be heavily built around the wings while remaining light on their feet.

"They put cheese, apples in their dishes," said Mr Yusay, adding some are fed better than the children of their owners.

The formula to produce winning roosters is simple, he said. "Good breed, good conditioning, good placing of knife. All that must come together. A lot of people believe winners breed winners."

In a four-cock derby, each participant fields four roosters. Winning a fight earns one point, while a draw gets half a point. Whoever has the most points at the end of the day takes the grand prize, which reached a record seven million pesos (S$427,000) won by ACTION DADDY in the central city of Cebu last year.

"The betting is tremendous," said Mr Felix Yusay, a hotel manager who breeds roosters part-time, "But at the end of the day, ACTION DADDY has all our money."

The arena erupts into a cacophony as the audience begins placing bets on the next fight. Odds can swing quickly and a favoured rooster can become the underdog easily.

One fan counted his remaining money carefully for the long afternoon of fights still ahead. "I bet until the money runs out," he said.

Hit Me! -->