Friday, September 18, 2009


CARREO by Rolando S. Luzong

Peoples Tonight (September 12, 2009)


(The Cockfighter : Grit & Steel)

With the big ripple created by the filing for accreditation by Alyansa Sabuungero as a party list, it is but timely that a movie entitled Sabungero : Dangal at Tibay (The Cockfighter : Grit & Steel) will have its premier showing on September 27 at SM Megamall (3pm) and Gateway Mall (7pm) , with Thunderbird Bexan XP as exclusive sponsor.

Then on September 29, Tuesday at 3:00 p.m., a simultaneous nationwide premie,r also sponsored by Thunderbird gets going in SM Quezon, SM Lipa, SM Pampanga, SM Iloilo, SM Bacolod, SM Cebu, SM Davao and SM Cagayan de Oro.

150 tickets per area will be given out by Thunderbird for free, to anyone who buys P200.00 worth of Thunderbird Power Vet products.

“First-come, first-serve until the ticket allocation lasts”, Thunderbird Power Vet Product Manager Albert Uy said.

“Sabungero : Dangal At Tibay” (The Cockfighter : Grit and Steel”) is an independent Filipino movie produced by Rooster Content Online - creators of the most popular cockfighting website on the internet

The movie revolves around “sabong“ or cockfighting, a very popular traditional game in the Philippines that involves the breeding, training and fighting of roosters.

Directed by Miguel Kaimo and Rozie Delgado, Sabungero features a stellar cast of multi-award winning actors lead by Joel Torre, Robert Arevalo, Leo Martinez, Ricky Davao, Maritoni Fernandez, Nonie Buencamino, Sid Lucero, Edwin Nombre, Lesley Martinez, child actor Timothy Mark and a solid supporting cast of thousands of “sabungeros” or cockfighters.

“ ‘Sabungero’ sheds light on the country’s often-misunderstood cockfighting subculture” – Tony Ty of Rouge Magazine.

Direk Rozie says it was the film’s producer, JC Bernardo, who had the idea of making a movie about cockfighting. “He is also a sabungero, and he realized that there are a lot of misconceptions about sabong,” she says.

As part of her pre-production research, Direk Rozie says she visited “countless” cockfighting arenas and farms and met with many sabungeros who introduced her to various breeds of fighting cocks. “I was surprised,” she says, “by the whole culture of sabong – the lifestyle of sabungeros, their lingo, and their passion for the sport.”

Sabungero is the first full-length film by Direk Rozie, whose previous works have been shorts and music videos. Co-director Miguel Kaimo and screenwriter Luz Inociain are likewise first-timers.

Claro Cortez IV (grandson of Don Claro Cortez – owner of the former Para├▒aque Cockpit Stadium which is now Roligon Mega Cockpit), a photo-journalists for the Associated Press reported that the number of gamecocks fought - and killed - each year in the country is estimated to range from 7 million to 13 million.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), reveals that there are about 8 to 10 million registered cockfighters in the country, or roughly 10 percent of the total population, resulting in a P50-billion industry


After a long wait, a true lover of cockfighting like JC Bernardo finally took the risk of producing a sabong movie hoping to make the public aware of what a sabungero is.

It was in 1974 when the Warren Oates-starring movie The Cockfighter hit the limelight.

Written by Charles Willeford, it was a story about Frank Mansfield who wanted to win the Cockfighter of the Year medal so much. After being disqualified for the "Cockfighter of the Year" award because of excessive drinking and talking during a fight, Frank has taken a vow of silence and refuses to talk until he wins the medal.

Eight years after, in 1982, the Philippines through multi-awarded film director Pablo Santiago – father of singer-tv host Randy Santiago who apparently is a cockfight practitioner himself, came up with the sabong-fantasy flick Annie Sabungera starring Nora Aunor.

I was not aware of this movie until one lazy-nothing-to-do afternoon, coiled in my sofa and toying with the remote control, I chanced upon an old flick with Nora Aunor in it. I was about to press the button again when I noticed that the “superstar” was holding a rooster. I said to myself, “this one I have to watch”.

The sabungero angle was very obvious with a considerable amount of sabong vocabulary employed as well some handling and conditioning techniques. I am almost sure that it was in the old San Juan Coliseum where most of the matches took place which is just understandable because of its proximity to LVN Studios.

Unfortunately, the movie was more on the fantasy side with “Annie” being a poor urban lass, blessed with a talking rooster.

“The “Sabungero : Dangal at Tibay” is a highly recommended film to watch, not only by sabungeros, but by non-cockers as well. For the Filipino cocker, this is your chance to bring your loved-ones closer to your passion”, says Alyansa Sabungero founder Nid Anima.

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