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· Volume II Issue IV


This study investigated the lived experiences of eleven (11) cockpit gamblers in Pangil, Laguna as to the history of their gambling habits and their maladaptive behavior. As an output of the study, a proposed detailed intervention plan as a guide of everyone who plans to engage in cockpit gambling, to be specific, for them to realize what will be the path they will have to take.

The research design used was qualitative with the transcendental phenomenology method as an approach. The researcher used the Snowball sampling technique so that a certain participant can refer another participant with the same criteria as needed in the study. Using the interpretative phenomenological approach, the study generated eight superordinate themes which were Living a Normal Life, Various Reasons, Different Reactions, Setting a Limitation, No Effect/Positive and Negative Effects, Good Piece of Advice, Controlling oneself/No Lessons Learned, and Various Perspective.

Under the first theme, it explored how they start gambling. For the second theme, they were asked what attracted them to gamble and their biggest challenge being a gambler. As for the third theme, the participants shared their reactions when they win/lose money at cockpit gambling. On the fourth theme, they revealed how they decide on how much to bet. Under the fifth theme, they were asked about the effects of gambling on their household and how they feel about it. On the sixth themes, they gave their advice to people who wants to be a cockpit gambler. While on the seventh theme, they shared what they have learned on cockpit gambling and how it they changed them. Lastly, they were asked about what they want to share with the researcher and if there is something the researcher forgot to ask them.

Keywords: lived experiences, cockpit gambling, maladaptive behavior


“Sabong”, also called as cockfighting, is considered as one of the oldest betting sports here in the entire Philippines. Although most of the countries have prohibited the "bloodsport," its account in the islands has upheld the pastime as more or less holy, and it's a tradition that millions of Filipinos participate in daily.

Cockfighting is a battle arena sport that set against two roosters, or cocks (aka gamecocks), against each other in a ring. These birds are typically chosen based on their proportions and aggression similarities, and they also have blades (single-edged or double-edged) affixed to their left legs. However, per owner agreement, some fights feature blades on the right legs or both legs of the animals.

Metro Manila gambling in particular, has been controlled since 1976, when PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) was established through Presidential Decree number 1067. Under its authority communicated in 1983, all of the PAGCOR’s state-owned scope, operating through the direct supervision of the Office of the President, set outs three crucial roles: to regulate and operate all games of chance in the entire country, particularly casino gaming; generate and increase funds for the government’s projects such as infrastructure and socio-civic through casino gaming; and increase tourism all over the country (Blog-shops, 2020).

Meanwhile in the Philippines, cockfighting known as “sabong” was first witnessed during Magellan's expedition and discovery in 1521. It is a popular pastime in the country as it has existed for more than a hundred years. Filipinos from all social classes partake in this betting sport which has been infused into the culture of the Filipino. Due to its popularity, “sabong” has served a billion-dollar industry with a thousands of battling arenas and an estimated more than a million cocks shattered across the entire country due to the foght. In many countries, cockfighting has been prohibited because it is violent and has a brutal nature, but cockfighting in the Philippines is legal as long as it is supervised by the state. In 1974, President Ferdinand Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 449, creating the "Cockfighting Law of 1974," which governed the establishment and operations of cockpits in the country. As declared under the law, cockfighting or “sabong” is also considered as channel for safeguarding the Filipino culture, which may enhance the national identity. However, cockfighting is only allowed to be held in licensed cockpits which means those that have unlicensed venues and served cockfights are illegal. Most legal cockfights are held in stadiums or arenas, while illegal cockfights are usually held elsewhere. Recently, because of the existence and development of information and digital technology, Filipinos can now have their cockpit bets through online “sabong” or “e-sabong” without physically attending in arenas (Agcaoili et al., 2019).

The surviving passion for cockfighting or sabong among Filipinos has made it a culturally and legally acceptable form of gambling. As an established cultural phenomenon, sabong has primarily influenced the ways its practitioners make a living. This study will seek to understand what drives people to engage in cockpit gambling and how they are manifesting maladaptive behavior. The researcher would like to know the lived experiences of cockpit gamblers whose concern is to avoid impairment in their personal lives.

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