The Behind-the-Scenes of Cockfighting in the Philippines

In the Philippines, cockfighting, known as Sabong, is a popular activity, both in its legal and illegal form. The roosters, which have sharp blades attached to their legs, fight one another in an arena called a Sabongan, while their owners place bets on the contest. 

The bout is over once one of the roosters is deemed unable to fight, which is usually after not being able to stand three times. An assigned referee is tasked with overseeing the match and can stop it at any given moment. The practice is deeply rooted in Filipino culture, where the cocks fight everywhere, from between neighborhood houses in a friendly match to one million peso prize stakes.

The internet is the primary reason why sabong is becoming more and more popular, and top cockfight Philippines betting sites have developed to provide the excitement of betting on sabong games online.

Historical Roots of Cockfighting 

The history of cockfighting is long, with evidence suggesting it existed in the Indus Valley Civilization. What was initially a religious and political activity for the ancient Greeks turned into an increasingly popular pastime. The Philippines have been no exception, with cockfighting being mentioned in pieces of literature like Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere. 

The sport became prevalent in Central and South America as well, with Cuba as a prime example. It is documented that arenas were built exclusively for this sport, which facilitated cockfighting as an integral part of life, bestowing status to those who participated. 

Much like in the Philippines, it seems as if there were cockfights even before the Spanish colonization, who may have brought the animals needed for the fights as trade. While these activities would have been solely for entertainment, many would argue that they also simultaneously pushed the boundaries of early art, social, and economic development, as well as interaction. 

Additionally, it is surprising to know that cockfighting has even reached the influence of the United States, with notable figures such as former presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson being avid fans, along with the rooster almost becoming the national bird. 

Even though it is currently banned in much of the world, the fact that it was so impactful as to cross so many cultural and historical boundaries is powerful, as it provided generations of people with joy and socializing. Today, online cockfighting is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines, and we see how amazing this popular pastime has become as a great source of income and is considered the most popular sport in the country. 

Tournament Formats and Seasons

In a typical sabong tournament, points are awarded for winning, and the owner with the highest number of wins gets the biggest prize. To keep things interesting, the organizers may change the bet amount if one of the roosters seems much stronger. 

Fights are weight-matched, with older and heavier roosters having an advantage due to experience and power. The largest roosters may sometimes weigh as much as 1.7–2 kg; however, better and larger contests may exist. The birds are warmed up before being thrown in the ring in cages.

Tournament structures vary, but major events often use a bracket system with a set number of allowed losses. The year is divided into three cockfighting seasons: early bird (regional battles), local associations (provincial competitions), and the Olympics (international matches).

So, breeders choose aggressive birds with a fighting character for breeding—for example, the Texas Rooster and the Red Dominique. To be exact, the generations selectively breed new subspecies, leaving only the best males in the herd. Their diet consists of grains, corn, milk, and pellets, while the roosters are kept in separate cages when not training.

Sabong Betting: Meron vs Wala

When it comes to cockfighting, or “sabong,” one of the most interesting processes is the betting. Before the animals start fighting, the people in charge of the competition divide the whole of the arena into two separate sections: Meron and Wala. The reason for the division is simple: the cock that has the highest amount of money placed on it is put into the Meron section, which signifies that the crowd sees it as the favorite. 

In Philippine cockfight betting, to make the playing field equal for both birds, a person called the “Matador” would start calling out the most entertaining offers for the other coin: the Wala side (the underdog). Once these offers start balancing the hopes of the spectators, the Matador shouts “Larga!” and the fight begins. 

This process clearly shows the difference between public opinion and the eventuality: the Meron cock is rarely the winning one, but the Wala side might still gain much support.


Sabong has deep roots in Filipino culture and has a long history of more than 6,000 years. Today, roosters fight for hierarchy and as a source of gambling in friendly neighborhood matches or high-stakes tournaments. It finds “fight wagering” to be an amazing activity as the underdog, Wala, which has a much lower probability of winning, often has a lot of supporters who bet for them even when the favorite, Meron, wins the bet initially.

Catch all of the games online and anticipate whether your winning bet will win the contest. Only the top Cockfight betting Philippines sites can provide you with that kind of excitement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How are cockfighting tournaments structured?

Usually, there are points for winning in the tournament; the owner with the most points wins the most prizes. Fights are weight-matched, and tournaments may be played in a bracket system with the number of allowable losses fixed. In Philippine cockfighting, the calendar year generally consists of three seasons: early bird season, regional, local associations, provincial, and international matches.

How does betting on sabong work?

The arena is divided into Meron (favorite) and Wala (underdog) parts. People bet on which rooster will win. The matador tries to even the bets by offering a better deal for the underdog; things only start when wagers are even.

Are the rules for betting on sabong different when done in person versus online?

The rules for the cockfight itself are the same whether you’re betting in person or online. However, with online sabong, you won’t encounter the traditional hand signals or the face-to-face transaction with the bookie. Everything will be done electronically through the platform you choose.