Sunday, December 28, 2008
Animal Scene Magazine (November Issue)
KARAMBOLA by Rolando S. Luzong
PASSION BURNS FROM DOWN UNDER
I was invited to accompany him on his first trip to Bacolod City. When we landed in what is called “The City of Smiles”, I can almost hear his heartbeat. He was Romano Pedroche, my kumpadre who was a confessed cocker since childhood and I would readily admit that in my 19 years of writing about cockfighting is the most passionate cocker I’ve ever met.
“Pare, natupad na din ang pangarap ko na makarating ng Bacolod, ang paraiso ng mga sabungero”, he said, while we were climbing down the stairs from the plane. When our feet touched the ground, he started bending and jokingly told us, “I would like to kiss the ground”
THE COCKER WITHIN
During his elementary days in Malabon, he would frequent his neighbor’s place. The son of the Mayor of Malabon was a close friend and the Mayor’s family owns the local cockpit.
Every morning he would be awaken by hundreds of roosters who would crow all together in harmonic fashion. That was his signal to go and the handlers in feeding the roosters until its time for him to go to school. Even at school, “I would keep on thinking about the beauty of the roosters and was continuously telling my self that someday I would own and breed quality roosters.” Romano recalled.
Pedroche’s life as a teenager circled as an athlete. He was a basketball varsity player from elementary to college and a marathoner at the same time. From the beginning, Romano was a dreamer.
He got married with the former beauty queen of Sariaya, Quezon at a young age of 19 and was father at 20. The couple now have 3 children, all boys, who at first Romano wanted to name after some blood lines of roosters, but his wife vehemently opposed.
Romano’s stint as employee of Duty Free Phils. opened-up opportunities for him to pursue his dream. Thru his job, he was able to meet some of the country’s cockfighting personalities who helped him start his breeding career. The breeding stocks gifted by Cong. Ompong Plaza (who became a godfather to his son later) ; Dicky Lim and others set him off to his dream.
In 2000, Pedroche acquired a degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing. He immediately flew to Australia to join his wife and start a new life for the family.
LONG DISTANCE AFFAIR
The distance was never a hindrance for Pedroche. His passion for the sport was so much that it actually became the inspiration and the strength to strive hard and succeed in Australia.
Despite the separation, he is constantly in touch with cockers in the Philippines and was fielding entries every now and then in derbies all over the country.
With the help of the late Joe Mojeno, he bankrolled a gamefowl farm in Negros. Mojeno was Don Ramon Lacson’s top man. When Mang Joe passed away, the son Leo became Romano’s partner.
When we reached the mountain of Lunao in Bago City, Pedroche was transformed into a young boy upon entering his gamefowl farm, the dream that he pursued from childhood has come into a reality and he was a child again. The 5-hectare farm is situated at 4000 ft. above sea level with about 300-400 battle ready stags and cocks on cord.
“My life as simple person was inspired by these roosters with their cunning attraction that for me is irreversible.” Romano quipped.
Before boarding his plane back to Australia, he called me over the phone to say that in due time, he will come back to the Philippines for good to enjoy the passion that like a wildfire is burning within him as he continue to face the challenges of life from Australia – the land from down under.