AROUND ten years ago in the Philippines, spider fighting or “pasabong ug damang” in Bisaya is a favorite pastime for kids especially boys. The kids will usually look for spiders and put it on matchboxes to bring it to various friendly matches in their community and even at school. Whoever wins the fight will receive another spider as a payment for losing the match. However, nowadays, it is not only played by kids but is also played by adults with money at stake.
Spiders are mistakenly classified as insects but the truth is they are not. These spiders belong to the class of the Arachnids such as scorpions and it usually hunts for insects as its food.
While most people are afraid of spiders, what they didn’t know about these arachnids is that they are vital in our ecosystem. They are responsible for the control of the insect/pest population such as house dust mites and bugs.
Ever heard of the butterfly effect? It sounds fancy but this is an adverse effect.
The Butterfly effect (which originated from the Chaos theory of Henri Poincare) happens when a small change occurs at one place that will result to bigger consequences.
In the context of the sport (spider fighting), the increasing demand for spiders for the sport will result to a decrease in the number of the specie. Thus, there will be an uncontrolled insect population.
Furthermore, there will also be a negative effect on the food chain. If frogs and other spider consuming creatures have less food, the possible consequences are hunger, which will possibly result to death. When that happens, other animals that will consume the latter will also be in the hunger state and so on and so forth. Hence, the decrease in the number of spiders will result to a chain reaction of hunger and in worst-case scenarios to death.
Palito (not his real name), a resident of Davao City, is an avid fan of spider fighting and he plays the sport as well. He bought his first box containing 15 spiders for the sum of 150 pesos in a man known as “Aki”.
The sport is played using a stick; preferably “silhig tukog” and the adults handle the match.
It also has its rules.
The spider that falls three times loses the game and the spider that dies also loses the game. In return, the player who loses the game gives the amount of 30 pesos and up as payment for his loss in the match.
In other parts of the Philippines, the bet could go as high as 30,000 to 50,000 pesos.
Moreover, in the match, the spectator’s bet in the game is not yet included. The bet for the players and the spectators of the game are managed differently.
“Wala gadula ang mga pulis diha. Kami giadto sa pulis diha. Nag-agi lang sila, unya ana sila “unsa mana?”. Tubag pud mig “ah wala lingaw lingaw lang!”(Policemen does not play. They came to check on us. They asked what we are doing and we answered that it’s just for fun),” Palito said when asked about the game being questioned by the authorities.
“Pero pag makita nila naa nay kwarta, diha dakpon ka nila (But if they see that there is money involved, they will arrest you.),” he further said.
Apparently, there is one law that prohibits all illegal gambling.
As stated in the Presidential Decree No. 1602, any game of chance or skill that consists of a wager is considered illegal gambling and in this case the people who are involved in the game might be given the fine of 500 pesos to 2000 pesos or prision mayor.
Thus, spider fighting with money involved is considered as an illegal gambling, which violates the law of our land.
Even if there are laws against illegal gambling, it does not change the fact that more of this species number will decrease because of the sport.
Just imagine the idea that spiders would be extinct. And because of the chain reaction of hunger, can you accept the fact that in time, there is a probability that we would also be extinct? (Krizzaleen Valencia, Ateneo de Davao University student)