The Pasay Cockpit - A photo essay

In the Philippines there is a joke that if a man's house catches fire, he saves his prize fighting cockerel first, and his wife and children after. Journeying through a few of the hundreds of islands which make up this huge country where almost every household cages a few of these magnificent birds, and having been awoken at the crack of dawn by their rasping crow on more than one occasion, I began to believe that this joke may actually have some foundation.
Although officially basketball is the national sport, cockfighting (or sabong) is just as popular, if not more so, with legal arenas (cockpits) in every major city, and illegal fights (tupada) happening on an almost daily basis all around the country. Many fights are even televised. It is not uncommon for there to be around 30 separate fights on a normal day in an arena, and almost all of these end in mortality for one of the unlucky avians.

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