One of the cockfighting world’s best known competition-Candelaria Derby 2013- is all set togo starting on the 29th of January running all the way to February 2, 2013, also known to the religious as the Feast of Our Lady of Candles, Jaro district’s religious celebration or patronal fiesta. Again organized in the same format, the 7 cock derby will require each competitor to fight four (4) cocks in the elimination and semis. The entry fee is still pegged at P55,000.00 and each competitor is required a minimum bet of P22,000.00 for the four fights.
The Candelaria 7 Cock Derby is known worldwide as one of the toughest derbies where the small breeders and cockfighters are known to meet and win against the best breeders in the world. National and international breeders congregate during this event to show their birds and fight against each other. While many will compete, others come and visit to experience first hand how tough the fights are yet in an atmosphere of friendliness and joviality since after all cockfighting is a tradition and for centuries, it has become a venue for friends to get together, enjoy the fights and relive the old days. At least 100 entries are expected to join and compete.
Crowding the coliseum during the duration are mostly local aficionados but a large percentage though are visitors from all places in the country, from Appari to Tawi-tawi. Yet a sprinkling are foreigners led by American breeders who are out not only to compete but also to enjoy and watch the fights to study how they should breed in the succeeding years so that their bird can continue to dominate and thus collar big sales from Filipinos fond of importing breeder stocks.
Still expected to manage, oversee and be top honcho is General Manager of the corporation that owns the Iloilo Coliseum,Mr. Luis “Chito” Tinsay, who is in his late 80s yet exudes the energy and vitality of a man in his early 50s. For the past 50 or so years of this event, Mr. Chito Tinsay was always on top of all the activities, managing the daily event from sun-up to past midnight.
Local regulars include the famous Negrenses like Johnny Jalandoni, known for his Lemon blends which have consistently performed and showed their wining forms by winning the events for a number of times. Johnny is the man to beat because of his consistent performance. The usual financier for his fowls if Mr.Lando Layson and their lucky partnership has earned for them trophies and of course, millions of pesos put up as purse from the entry fees of the participants.
Local Ilonggo will again be expected. 2010 champion team PBC Emerald whose senior partners are Mr Paquit Causing and Junior Baniares with junior partners, Drs. Pepe Sullano and Rex Muyco whose show was one of the champions in the 2010 edition. Members of the Palmares clan led by Mr. Ricoy Palmares and and Mr. Fred Palmares are also expected to join.
Also expected are other Negrenses like Mr Eddie Boy Ledesma who is known for his cocks based on the famous Left In strain of Hulseys originally bought from the famous Duke Hulsey and passed to im by his uncle, Nonoy Jalandoni. Fielding his usual beautifully feathered and perfectly balanced roosters is Mr. Renato Lacson who is known far and wide for raising fierce but exceedingly beautiful game cocks. Also expected to come and fight his bosgton Roundhead-based and Hatch-based fowls is Mr. lance dela Torre. Manny Deliva is also expected bringing with him his own fierce genetics which has conquered the Negros pits and earned for him a reputation of having tough fowls that don’t easily give up.
Providing stiff opposition for all comers are the teams from Antique led by Dr. Alcaren and Engr. Nick Alojipan whose show is handled ably by nephew Jojo Fornier.
Not to be outdone will be the teams from Manila led by lady cocker Ms. Osang de la Cruz who made it as champion last year. Expected to show up are big names in the Manila circuit, like Sonny Lagon and maybe Mr. Patrick Antonio. Their formidable birds are either sent in as early as one year ago or h been bred and prepared by their local partners. It is said that Ms. Osang’s show last year had been owned and conditioned by Mr. Roy Sarrosa.
Cockfighting is big business because of the wide range of economic activity associated with this sector. The industry which has made millions for many and became a steady livelihood and source of income for small breeders. Many backyard raisers especially in the Villa Arevalo district say that they have fed their families and sent children to school from gamecocks alone. Big corporations like the Unilab group and the Robina group have joined the industry by providing feeds and veterinary medicines. These companies and others are now involved in exports of their products to countries where cockfighting still exist. This sport or pastime had already been banned in the U.S.,but farmers there are still engaged in the breeding of quality gamefowls exported to the Philippines and Mexico where they are used as breeders to produce battle fowls or the roosters used in cockfighting.
For the Filipino enthusiast, the ban and the total abolition of cockfighting is still far off the horizon and is expected to meet tough opposition from the stakeholders, from the small and big breeders to the corporations engaged in the manufacture and distribution of feeds and medicines. Even big politicians like the Ynares clan of Rizal Province and the Plaza clan of Agusan are diehard breeders and cockfighters. Meanwhile, the Candelaria Derby will be like its key personality, Mr. Chito Tinsay- tough, enduring and colorful. Come see and joy five days of pure cockfighting excitement!