Of Cockfights and Adobo

I stared at the gates outside the arena, gray and rusty, paint peeling off. The scorching sun was beating down on us, bright and relentless, and on the ground there were clouds of dirt being kicked around by the flip flops that everyone wears. There were sounds of children playing nearby. It was a typical provincial scene, grand and quaint at the same time. We shuffled to the entrance, and then we entered a different world.

We were at the cockfighting arena in San Fernando, Pampanga, a province in the Philippines. Dark, humid, loud and thumping, I could feel a frantic energy pulsing in the air. It was my first time going to see a cockfight, or “sabong” as it is called in Filipino. Cockfighting is a blood sport so violent that it’s outlawed in many other countries, but it has been part of Filipino culture for centuries.

This is an excerpt of an article I wrote for Offline Magazine – a mobile magazine for iOS (it’s an app that you have to download from iTunes). Offline features five articles each month, with full audio. The app is designed for both the iPhone and the iPad, and while it’s free to download, you have to pay $0.99 to read all the articles (that’s about an hour’s worth of content that you can read and/or listen to – the audio is impeccable and so perfect when you’re driving, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, etc). There’s always a mix of culture, humor, and opinion, and my piece is featured in issue No. 6. I am really proud of this article – it’s about cockfighting! and my family! and adobo! – and I think you guys would truly enjoy it so I urge you to head over to iTunes and download the Offline Magazine app to read it.


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