I was riding back (on a rented motorcycle) to the city of Dumaguette from my little paradise on the beach and noticed a large building with a sign “Dumaguette Cockpit”. From the inside of the building I could hear a rowdy crowd, I came up to the entrance to make sure that this was indeed what I thought it was. I was assured by the ticket-selling lady that this was the place where cockfights took place and that the fights would continue from morning till midnight everyday for the next few days.
I left and came back a few hours later with a camera. I have to say that I am not a fan of this sort of stuff and I honestly find it hard to understand why people like seeing animals harm each other like that, but curiosity took over. I’d actually been near cock-fighting many times before, particularly in Indonesia, but I never bothered to go see a “fight-night” because as I said, it isn’t really my cup of tea.
The difference here was that there wasn’t really much else to do in the town of Dumaguette and perhaps I have developed a dislike of roosters over my years of staying in villages around Asia (and recently Vanuatu). They piss me off when they wake me up in the middle of the night and so, I guess, I don’t feel so sorry for them, well I kinda did by the end of my cockfight watching experience.
What fascinated me more than the cocks however was the crowd and I was assured that there was a loud, excited crowd by hearing their screams from outside the stadium. I figured that at worst I’d get some interesting photos of them.
I shot the images here over two days of visiting the “Cock-pit”. I have to say that I am maybe even less of a fan of this favorite pastime of the Filipinos (as the gamblers had described it), but I did learn a few things about it which you can read about from the captions. The subject is definitely fascinating, in some really strange way.
I feel the atmosphere at the cockfights is not something that can be communicated truly effectively with still images alone and so I shot quite a bit of video. However, editing video on the road, when you’re also shooting stills is a pretty tough task. The beaches and restaurants don’t help either, I’d much rather spend my time there than staring at the computer editing stuff. The video might surface eventually. :)
I’d like to throw an idea out there. This might be a far cry, but still. If there is any awesome, young video editor out there who dreams of living the confines of a basement or some other tight space where editors dwell and if this person wants to join me on my travels and is willing to edit the video I shoot in exchange for food, accommodation, transportation and possibly the airfare or part of it (if you’re really good) please raise your hand. :) It’s not likely that I’ll need someone on this trip, but perhaps on my next trip to India next year - very possible. So yeh, if you’re good, cheap :) and love to travel and have adventures, please drop me a line with some examples of your work.
I’m off to the beach again. See you all next year folks. :)