MURCIA mayor and 3rd District Board member-elect Andrew Montelibano continued the passion of his father the late Alex Montelibano who is an icon in the breeding of gaming birds and in cockfighting.
He breeds more than a thousand gaming birds at his cock farm in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Murcia.
He is known for his wing band as AM Gwapits Kaliwete which he himself coined.
“AM stands for Andrew Montelibano, Gwapits (a young good looking man) and Kaliwete (being left handed),” he said.
He shared that his father Alex started his passion for breeding gaming birds and engaging in cockfighting way back in the 1970s.
They halted when they went into prawn production in 1986 but then he went back into game fowl breeding in 1999 where he continued until now, Montelibano said.
When his dad passed away in 2006, he decided to continue the hobby of his father because it was his legacy to the cockfighting world here in the Philippines.
Every year, they breed about a thousand game fowls where some are used to compete at NGBA NGF-banded stag derbies which are mostly held in Manila.
Their buyers are mostly from Manila. They come here to buy their gaming birds. They also join cockfighting competitions in Manila as their own way of promoting their gaming birds of different bloodlines.
Negros is known for breeding the best game fowls. Known breeders and cockfighting aficionados are from Negros namely Elwin and Narwin Javelosa, Lance dela Torre, among others.
They were the contemporaries of his father, he said.
They were the pioneer breeders in Negros along with his father and until now, they are still into cockfighting business.
The cockfighting and breeding business is one of the biggest industries in Negros Occidental second to the sugar industry.
On his way to his cock farm in Murcia, there are other cock farms owned by Negrenses who are passionate in breeding gaming birds and at the same time are cockfighting aficionados.
There are a lot of backyard breeders in his town and also in the province. Breeding gaming birds are their means of livelihood.
A lot have already built their houses because of breeding.
There are about 200 or more small and big breeders here and many people from Manila come to their cock farms to buy their preferred gaming birds.
The breeding of game fowls has helped the locals and the local economy, he said.
But engaging into breeding of birds also entail challenges because gaming birds are also prone to sickness, thus, they too have their own veterinarian who takes care of the vaccines and vitamins of their gaming birds in view to maintain their good health.
“The vaccines we used three years ago might not work for your gaming birds today. So we are in contact with the different feeds suppliers because they have their own doctors as they also sell their own medicines and they give us good promotional prices so that they can also maximize their own breeding,” he said.
Montelibano is using vaccines and vitamins from Mad Science (Bully Boy, Gold Medallion); feeds from Derby Ace and Platinum. Other brands are also good brands. It is just a matter of choice of the breeder.
Montelibano added that despite the challenges of breeding birds, they still have a sense of fulfilment such as when they won in stag derbies (9-month-old gaming birds); bull stag (13 to 14 months old) and two years and above (cock derby).
He breeds around six bloodlines namely round heads, sweaters, gilmores, yellow-legged fowls, hatches, white-legged or round heads, among others.
It is a known fact that it is very hard to dominate in cockfighting as even the small breeders are very good. Everybody has a chance to win because nobody can say that their gaming birds will eventually win in a derby. It all depends on the fighting style and training of your gaming birds.
He advised his fellow breeders that when they bet, it should not be that big. Just enjoy the game or you can even have your own financiers during derbies.
He added that, “If you want to continue your business in game fowl breeding, selling is a lot better than betting.”