I do not intend to cover the whole history of cockfighting in the Philippines for lack of space. I want only to give a short backgrounder on how Filipinos came to have the kind of excellent gamefowl bloodlines that we now see even in ordinary hackfights.
Before the 1980′s, most of the fighting roosters you will see in ordinary hackfights in the Philippines are those we call mestizos. Only the rich cockfighting aficionados have pure “Texas” bloodline during that time. The ordinary cocker had to do with “Tagalog” roosters and those with mixed texas genes.
The availability of imported gamefowl bloodlines was limited so the market was very thirsty for a pure texas bloodline. Ordinary folks saw in derbies how good the imported ones were especially when pitted with the ordinary native rooster. But the rich with imported lines at that time did not want their gamefowls to fall in the hands of ordinary folks so they just traded among themselves.
What happened was, some ordinary but adventurous folks got a little frustrated and tried to get pure texas bloodlines from farms of big breeders either by snatching the cocks in the middle of the night or paying one of the caretakers for some pullets and even stags in some cases. When things got a little difficult, they settled for the eggs and tried to hatch them in incubators.
Back then, there were middle men (Biyaheros) who would come from North Luzon, South Luzon, and even from Negros or Ilo-Ilo in the Visayas with battle cocks coming from big farms. They would say that this particular cock came from a very respected cocker and they would show the “wing band” as proof of their claims.
Back then, a rooster with a wing band is considered automatically as coming form a good and pure bloodline. This is because the owner will not use his wing band on a cock if it has dubious breed like a mestizo. The wing band also serves to identify from what farm the gamecock came from.
This rampant activity allowed small time breeders and cockers to improve their gamefowl bloodlines. Slowly, the use of mestizo roosters became obsolete. The fear of big time cockers that someday they would be fighting their own bloodline was slowly becoming true. Their natural advantage became slimmer and slimmer because the ordinary folks were also using pure breeds.
I remember at that time, it was only the vaunted Mitra cock that was not saleable in the black market because they can be easily identified. Mitra cocks of the former House Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr have more of an Asil look which was not a normal sight. Mitra cocks stand out from the rest because of its physical appearance so buyers from the black market stayed away from them because it can readily be told that they got the cock illegally.
It was in the 70s to 80s that the big breeders became more open in selling their bloodlines locally. But most of them only sell class B as they still kept the class A gamefowl bloodlines hidden from farm visitors. This is already a very good improvement and somehow, since it became easier to acquire pure breeds of fighting cocks, the business of middle men dwindled.
The non-stop importation of imported fighting cocks from the US further improved the bloodlines of fighting cocks in the Philippines. There were breeders who actually started with imported gamefowl bloodlines and did not buy from big local game farms because they wanted class A genetics right form the start. The US was the main source of gamefowls and big time Filipino cockers both old and new entrants went there to buy fighting cocks.
The breeders now are no longer super secretive about their bloodlines and actually selling their lines at the right price. Competition became very strong even in hackfights because even ordinary cockers can boast of pure bloodlines.
Now, the Philippines is considered as the prime source of excellent gamefowl bloodlines in the world. This is because cock fighting is illegal in the US and there were many farms that closed because of strict regulations. Major cock fighting enthusiasts from all over the world now troop to the Philippines to get their stock of excellent bloodlines.