Sabong or Cockfighting has undeniably been part of Philippine history. Even before the Chinese nor the Spanish conquistadores introduced sabong as we know it today, our ancestors have been enjoying the bloodsport for more than three thousand years. There are generations that hold cockfighting as part and parcel of tradition and hold the game sacrosanct. With the advent of e sabong, the popularity and fervor for online sabong steadily grows. PAGCOR has also stepped in to make sure the sabong online is aligned with its policies and regulations. 

Despite the sabong live online, there are still rituals and terminologies that hold cockfighting very close to the heart of the pinoy sabong enthusiast. The art of cockfighting has also been featured in movies, numerous books and documentaries. It is a very social sport that has every participant dive into the dance of the game. We’ve gathered cockfighting details for the beginner as well as other important information for the well-versed player. Cockfighting Philippines continues to thrive in this age of online sabong.

Cockfighting History in the Philippines

It has been documented by no less than Antonio Pigafetta that cockfighting or sabong was already part of the pre-colonial Philippines. This has been a popular pastime where legal and illegal cockfights happen. Sabong is part of the Filipino psyche ever since. With cockpits called tupada or tigbakay well ensconced in the underground gaming community. 

It has been practiced that the knives — both single-edged blades and double-edged blades were part of the game. The length of these knives also vary. These can be attached as to how the participants agree on. It can be on one common leg or on both.  There is a referee or sentensyador or koyme whose verdict is final and not subject to any appeal. The most remarkable of the cast in cockfighting is the kristo who takes bets when calling out wagers from the audience all by memory.

To the present times, sabong is still very popular and thriving in the Philippines. It is raised to the artistic level with countless paintings, and other works of art, in various forms of media are dedicated to sabong. There has been World Slasher Cup derbies, held biannually at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City — the so-called “Olympics of Cockfighting”.

It is no wonder that when e-sabong was born, this thrived in leaps and bounds. Its growth was unprecedented and there was some difficulty regulating how the game was played. The enormous task of regulation was given to the Local Government Unit — whose coverage is the live cockfights in cockpit arenas in their area. While e-sabong is under PAGCOR’s wing. They have also built a special department dedicated to e-sabong which is the e-sabong Licensing Department (ESLD).

Sabong – How does it work?

Sabong can be fairly compared to boxing. There are three stages wherein all details are checked, seen, assessed and finally matched to the perfect competition.

Here are the three distinct stages of cockfighting in the Philippines:

  • Ulatan – The roosters are paired based on their physical characteristics. The height, size, weight, wingspan and so forth. In this way, fair play is practiced. The knives are also examined here. They usually are placed on the rooster’s left leg. This can also be changed according the owners’ preferences for the match. 
  • Ruweda – The cocks are now moved into the cockpit letting them become familiar and primed up for the fight. This is also where the audience can take a better look and choose who they will wage on. The casador or announcer will then declare the terms of the fight and the referee (sentensyador or kyome) will focus in on and oversee the match. The kristo takes the wagers at this point before the match goes to the next stage. 
  • The battle begins. The animals are now simply dropped into the ring. They fight but not necessarily until one dies. The referee will call the fight once an obvious winner is seen. As part of cockfighting, both roosters may have injuries that are fatal. They are properly discarded if they don’t survive after the fight.
Image source: Japan Times

Sabong Types of Betting Odds

Going in as a beginner at a cockfight is not so daunting. You just go to the vent, discern which rooster you’ll be betting on and give your wager to the kristo. When a winner is declared by the referee, the house takes its cut first and bets are paid out according to the type of wager.

This is a simplified version of the types of wagers available in Philippine cockfighting:

  • Parehas: Even odds, +100 (1/1)
  • Lo Dies: +125 (5/4)
  • Walo-anim: +133 (133/100)
  • Onso: +138 (69/50)
  • Tres: +150 (3/2)
  • Sampu-anim: +167 (167/100)
  • Doblado: +200 (2/1)

How to Play Online Sabong Live Betting

Live betting in e-sabong in a nutshell is an online or off-site wagering on live cockfighting matches. This includes events and activities streamed or broadcasted live from cockpit arena licensed or authorized by the Local Government Units. 

PAGCOR has its own department focusing on establishing e-sabong, this is the  e-sabong Licensing Department (ESLD). So far, they have made the authorized entities available to the public. Here is the most recent information:

Online Sabong Registration

Let’s focus on how to register as a player for online sabong.

Here are the important steps to follow to make e-sabong smoothly working for you:

  1. Choose your preferred e-sabong site. On their site, you need to provide the following details as well as the steps needed to verify your account.
  2. You will need to register your Full Name, DOB, Contact number, Current Address, Nationality, Occupation and Source of Income
  3. You must prove that you are 21 years of age or older
  4. You will be submitting a recent photo
  5. Provide a copy of one valid government-issued ID (Driver’s license, Passport, Social Security, TIN, Postal ID, Voters ID, UMID, National ID, etc.)
  6. Declare that you are:
    1. At least 21 years of age
    2. Not among persons disqualified under the law to engage in gambling, such as but not limited to public officials, members of the Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines
  7. Video call is utilized to verify and confirm identity, submitted information and IDs prior to final confirmation
  8. Photo for player account will be a screenshot of the mandatory video calling to verify player eligibility and identity
  9. You only have one (1) account per e-sabong brand or service
  10. You’ve read and accepted the Terms of Use of the e-sabong service

Once your application is approved, you’ll be free to play e-sabong to your heart’s content.

Note: The Player Registration System cannot be performed by any payment systems/channels/solutions or money transfer service.

Online Sabong App

It is best to check out the following list of PAGCOR-authorized companies and their corresponding brands and websites. 

CompanyCommencement DateBrandSite
Belvedere Vista CorporationApril 16, 2021Sabong Express
Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc.April 08, 2021Pitmasters Live
Visayas Cockers Club, Inc.June 03, 2021Sabong International Ph

Who Manages or Regulates Sabong Betting in the Philippines

PAGCOR is the sole entity duly authorized by the Philippine government to oversee the regulation and management of the Sabong betting in the Philippines. They strictly monitor the activity of Sabong betting as well as licenses and permits for every operator participating in both Sabong and e-sabong games. They can decide to suspend or disqualify any party violating agreements and policies built by PAGCOR.

Sabong FAQs

What breed of roosters is used for cock fighting / sabong? 

The most popular breeds for sabong are Miner Blues, Claret, Hatch, Black, White Hackel, or Round Head. 

Is online sabong legal in the Philippines? 

Yes, e-sabong is legal in the Philippines. PAGCOR has authorized sites to have bettors enjoy the ease of online gaming. Currently, these are the websites registered with PAGCOR: 

Can I use my smartphone to play online sabong? 

Yes, you can use your mobile to play online sabong. You do have to be a registered player as specified by PAGCOR regulations. An important note to remember is to also make sure you choose only authorized e sabong sites as well for your safety and security.

What is the minimum and maximum online sabong bets? 

The minimum bet is currently at PHP200.00 per fight and there is no declared maximum amount for online sabong bets. You need to consider that there is a staggered or limited amount of winnings that one can withdraw.

How can I withdraw my online sabong winnings? 

PAGCOR has assigned only AMLC(Anti-Money Laundering Council)-compliant channels, such as over-the-counter and online banking, eWallet systems like GCash, and through other legitimate money transfer services for the game.

Can I use GCash to cash in & cash out? 

Yes, you can freely top up your bets as well as withdraw winnings via the option to Cash In and Cash Out in the GCash app. Please note that withdrawing winnings are on a staggered basis.

Is there a legal age to play online sabong live? 

Yes, you need proof that you are 21 years of age and older.

Is live or in-person sabong still practice? 

Yes, very much so. The local government unit oversees the operation and regulation of cockpits dotting almost every town and city in the Philippines.

How to become an agent for online sabong? 

You’d need to be authorized by a duly registered and PAGCOR-authorized e-sabong Operator. Requirements and other mandatory processes to become an agent would fall under the e-sabong Operator’s discretion as compliant with PAGCOR’s rules.

Disclaimer: Please do note that as of this writing, all operations of  e-sabong or online sabong have been suspended pursuant to the Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated May 3, 2022.  Accordingly, all licensed e-sabong Operators were directed to shut down all gaming websites and cease gaming operations including all accredited auxiliary operations and Off-Cockpit Betting Stations (OCBS) pursuant to said objective. 

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