Ancient game

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


ONE thing I am certain of is that cockfighting is an ancient game. There were bits of information that I gathered from high school and college history books that some ancient field generals used to have cockfights before going to battle to show the bravery and courage of the fowls.

This thought came to mind when I was invited to attend the Christmas party and annual fellowship gathering of members of the Cebu Gamecock Breeders and Cockers’ Association (CGBCA). It is in fact the organization’s 24th year since it was formed in late 1989 with just 15 members at the behest of the late Raul del Rosario, son of then “liberation" Cebu City mayor Vicente (Nyor Inting) del Rosario.

Del Rosario was said to have ruled the city with an iron hand and was feared by snatchers and pickpockets.

At any rate, before we stray farther from the so-called game of a thousand thrills, I would like to say that from just 15 members, the CGBCA grew to 35, and became known throughout Central Visayas with members from other provinces.

Before the CGBCA, groups, as have been usual with most social organizations, disappear as fast as some of its members would lose interest. But the CGBCA persisted across the years. Today, it is joined by three or four others.

Lately, it is said that three other organizations have emerged, but there is none that has the power to survive as the CGBCA. Proof of this is that in its 24 years of existence, it has changed heads only three times.

The late Raul died early, and his brother Manol took over for about a decade. Manol was strict in imposing its rules and policies in the cockpit during derbies and this has won respect and attracted tourists to the city’s cockpits.

Then Manol del Rosario handed over the leadership to Joe Mari Miranda, a landowner/sugar planter from Medellin who has remained CGBCA president, with Manol staying on with his support as secretary until his death late last year. Younger brother Rudy took over as CGBCA secretary.

And so, the CGBCA has a strong social force to a group that has been upholding the tradition of a gentleman’s game of honesty and decency.

When typhoon Yolanda struck, CGBCA president Mari said that his town of Medellin, where he is one of the most respected leaders, told me that they are still in the thick of helping the town stand again.

Now it’s Rudy del Rosario’s turn to help Nonoy Chongbian hold and sustain the tradition of cockfighting in the Visayas with the new Tejero Cockpit as the venue of CGBCA derbies--which is Sinulog’s nationwide attraction for the last two years now.

The cockfighting game has been the attraction of a class of gentlemen among Cebuanos that showed that honesty and respectability can be sustained and developed even in a social activity that was frowned upon in so-called high society.

CGBCA has shown it can win respectability. The other evening, some 50 young men and senior citizens attended its Christmas affair at the elitist Casino Español.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 18, 2013.

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