The sport of cockfighting has been in the Philippines for hundreds of years and although it is a colorful and rich part of tradition, the science of breeding gamecock bloodlines only occurred about fifty years ago. For most part, our ascendants fought mainly native game fowls with genes originating from the old Red Jungle fowl also know locally “Labuyo.” There were the so-called Bolinao from Pangasinan, Balulang from Batangas, and Tagalog among many other strains.
The improvement of gamefowl bloodlines in the Philippines came only when the rich started importing gamecocks from the United States and popularized what is called as “Texas” strains. They were called as such because the sources of fighting cocks in the US then were mostly from Texas, Arizona and some neighboring States. The importation of imported gamecocks changed the landscape of cockfighting in the Philippines because suddenly, there was a wide disparity between the qualities of fighting cocks used by the rich as compared to those in the cages of small local cockers.
But the disparity was short-lived as it took only a few years before local players were able to obtain, also from local big gamefarms of rich aficionados, the imported bloodline. Thus, it ushered a new era where most of the local gamecocks were mestizo or a fighting cock with genetic blending of local and imported bloodlines. But it was not only the small local breeders who were chasing an upgrade in the bloodline of their fighting cocks.
The rich cockfighting aficionados were also hot on the trail of producing the ideal bloodline that can perform better than the entries of their competitors both local and foreign. They experimented (for lack of better term) by blending the imported bloodlines to come up with the desired characteristics for a gamecock. Out of the experimentation, came a new breed of local fighting cocks. These breed dominated the field during its heyday and continue to perform well to this day thanks to the breeders who made it happen.
Karatchi Hatch bloodline
This breed of gamecock was developed by Mr. Eddie Araneta of Liza Galore Gamefarm. The bloodline is basically that of a Hatch described as 60% Billy Ruble, 15% Ruble coming from Larry Powell blend, 15% Ruble coming from Bob Howard Ruble strain, and 10% Griffin Claret/Lacy Roundhead from Ray Alexander. Looking at it, the Karatchi Hatch has a 90% Ruble dominance in its blood.
The Karatchi Hatch is a solid bloodline that can be used to cross with other strains and produce mean gamefowls inside the pit. Karatchi Hatch is not therefore a bloodline developed using an oriental fowl. Because of the name Karatchi, early breeders thought that it came from Pakistan which is a country known for oriental fowls such as Asil.
Lemon 84 gamecock bloodlines
This medium stationed gamecock was made popular by Mr. Rafael “Paeng” Araneta. The bloodline originally came from Duke Hulsey and was given the name lemon 84 because of the number in the leg band of the original rooster which was 84. It came from the family of Lemons which was made popular by Duke Hulsey. But the rooster with leg band 84 was peacomb, and therefore unlike other Lemons of Hulsey that came straight comb.
The Lemon 84 strain came about when Mr. Paeng Araneta mated the original Lemon with leg band 84 to two of his Lemon hens that also came from “The Duke.” He bred back some of the pullets to the father. He chose two lines and from there did brother and sister mating. He then chose the best pullets from the two mating and then bred back again to the original 84 rooster from Hulsey.
The in-breeding method created two lines of gamefowls for Mr. Paeng Araneta. One with yellow legs which was the trademark of Hulsey Lemons and one family with green legs that comes dark red in color. The Lemon 84 is the first Filipino developed gamecock strain that won the international derby in 1972.
Mr Hilario “Boy” Primalion is credited for the creation of this outstanding strain of gamecock aptly named Zamboanga White. It comes in all white color and immediately caught the fancy of many cockfighting aficionados. Many years ago, using a white fighting cock in cockfights was rare as they were not known to be excellent strains. But the Zamboanga White of Mr. Boy Primalion silenced all naysayers when it performed impeccably in derbies.
There is no exact explanation how the Zamboanga White came about as it is said to be a throwback. One white rooster came from mating a rooster that he bought from Ilo-Ilo and it was propagated by Mr. Primalion at first because of its good looks and not really because of gameness. The white throwback was mated to Lemon hens of Duke Hulsey.
The white offspring of the mating between the white throwback and Hulsey Lemon were bred back to the white father and this is where the strain Zamboanga White is said to have started. Some say that the exact bloodline of Zamboanga White is a closely guarded secret that is why its true progeny is not revealed. Mr. Primalion however said that it is more on the side of White Hackle strain.
While big time breeders of his time were focused on acquiring imported gamecock bloodlines, former Speaker of the House Ramon “Monching” Mitra was in a class all his own. He wanted to produce a gamecock that has all the characteristics of an oriental, Tagalog and western fowl.
He blended the local fowl with Asil, and American strains to produce what is called Mitra Cock. It is an ugly looking cock that fights like a mestizo (weaving and avoiding to get hit), packs a strong wallop like an Asil, and is dead game like the American strains. It has short beak, long neck, and tail pointing downwards. The Mitra Cock made waves especially in the 90s but somehow disappeared in major derbies after Speaker Mitra passed away.