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El Nido, Bohol, cockfight
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Palawan islands are some of the most beautiful island areas on earth. Even through a terribly dirty window of local airlines.
Airport in El Nido, Palawan Island. Arrival hall on the left. Departures on the right. Between arrivals and departures, airport staff say goodbye to passengers with singing, dancing and waving.
El Nido is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines and for good reason, the nearby islands and beaches are absolutely stunning.
View of El Nido from Taraw Peak viewpoint.
Dozens of traditional boats - fishing and tourist - are moored in the bay in front of El Nido.
Tourists, especially the Chinese, are everywhere. Yellow skew-eyed tsunami.
The most popular activity in El Nido is to go island hopping either in a private boat or as part of a tour group.
Limestone formations around El Nido rising above the turquoise water. Everywhere.
White sand is extremely romantic. So bright! After a few hours, romance is gone and every visitor is blinded. Sunglasses are a good idea.
Philippine beaches are nice. Except for garbage piles and screaming Chinese tourist and used condoms. Soooo romantic.
A beach near El Nido after a storm. Massive amounts of rain or even a typhoon are common here.
Absolutely unique photo - no tourists!
The Philippines is not just about beautiful islands, beaches, rice fields and waterfalls. But also traffic worse than the morning rush hour on the M50 .... the Irish will understand.
Jeepneys, known as the "King of the Road", are buses and are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines.
They are known for their crowded seating and kitsch decorations, which have become a wide spread symbol of Philippine culture and art.
These Filipino icons of ingenuity were originally re-crafted from abandoned US army jeeps after the second world war, and helped to establish a new system of transportation.
Eventually the majority of these iconic vehicles will end up in the scrap yard.
By 2021, these diesel engine-powered vehicles should be gone forever, replaced with vehicles that run on electricity, solar panels or engines that produce less toxic emissions. President Rodrigo Duterte wants vehicles that are environmentally friendly, safer and more convenient.
Filipinos love carnivals.
Filipinos love colors.
Filipinos love carnival and colors.
And I love cute Filipinos, carnivals and colors. Well - actually I'm not interested in carnivals and colors.
I'm not sure if it's carnival or public abuse of children.
Carnival on the island of Bohol.
Pure perversion. Or advertising for baby diapers. Your choice ... which, by the way, will say a lot about you.
Many of classic Filipino dishes do not have great visual appeal.
Many Filipino dishes are stews or soups in a thin broth.
The food on the street is no less tasty (or less disgusting) than the food in an expensive restaurant. Welcome to the Philippines.
It's unbelievable how Filipinos can turn top ingredients into a shapeless disgusting mass.
Seafood is everywhere, fresh and at good prices.
The markets are full of delicious fish, fruit and more.
What Filipinos can do to a beautiful tuna or any other fish can make you want to cry. Filipinos love it. But, no, if you are from the USA or the EU… not so much.
Pork seems to dominate.
From fried pork (chicharones), pork stew, pork blood stew (dinuguan), to pork pieces on a stick.
A real Filipino love is lechon baboy, whole roast pig.
Malls in the Philippines do not only provide retail therapy, they are also centers for socializing, entertainment and dining. You want to try local and authentic foods? Malls!
When it comes to cooking seafood, Filipinos cook the very essence out of the seafood.
The Filipinos have not yet invented a way to destroy the sea urchin by cooking, so it is one of the few really tasty dishes.
Filipinos love gambling.
In the Philippines, Las Vegas is in every village.
Rooster farm. Each rooster has its own shelter, to which it is tied by a short rope. In the Philippines, cockfighting is a billion dollar industry
Cockfighting was already flourishing in pre-colonial Philippines, as recorded by Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian diarist aboard Ferdinand Magellan’s 1521 expedition.
The owner must also feed the roosters with a strong, healthy diet, especially one that contains vitamins, and supplements. Vaccines and antibiotics are incorporated as part of the roosters’ growth life.
To participate in the competition, the cocks must be properly trained by their owners. The training usually involves teaching the rooster proper fighting skills.
Hundreds and sometimes thousands of motorcycles, scooters and bicycles signal that fights are taking place in a nearby arena.
Known locally as sabong, it takes place in 2,500 dedicated stadiums across the country.
National hero José Rizal, martyred by the Spanish in 1896, once pointed out that the average Filipino loves his rooster more than he does his children. I agree, rooster has much better meat than children.
Cockfights are run not only in arenas for tens of thousands of spectators, but also in the poorest villages.
Part of the appeal is the prize money. For a 200 pesos entrance fee (small arenas), a struggling farmer from the backwoods could finish the day with 300,000 pesos in his pocket, all thanks to a trusty rooster he has groomed and trained assiduously for months.
There are two kinds of knives used in Philippine cockfighting: single-edged blades (used in derbies) and double-edged blades; lengths of knives also vary. All knives are attached on the left leg of the bird, but depending on agreement between owners, blades can be attached on the right or even on both legs.
There is barely anyone who comes to the arena and does not gamble for money. Bets are usually taken by the "kristo", so named because of his outstretched hands when calling out wagers from the audience and skillfully doing so purely from memory.
The arenas are packed every Sunday in towns all over the country with 99% being Filipino men. Which means - a chance to find nice Filipino women at home alone and unattended.
Each fighter is brought inside the ring and “touches gloves” with the opponent. They are then taken to the corners of the ring.
Cock fighting is a battle for life and death between two cocks (roosters) which have been risen and given the best possible care by their owners until they are about two years old. That’s when they have reached their strongest physical state.
To make the bird even more aggressive before the fight, the trainers often spit on the cock’s head in order to anger it before going into the fight.
Cocks have a natural aggression towards all males of their species.
During the fight, the more powerful and aggressive bird will forcefully rip away some of its opponent’s feathers. If the blade doesn’t do extensive damage on the opponent, the opponent will live to fight another round.
There are a few dozen of duels on any given day and during the breaks the dealers pay the money to the gamblers for the previous round.
The main purpose of the sharp blades is to strike the opponent and then finish the job with their beaks. The trainers often train their birds to attack with their legs and feet first before making the final, killer blow.
Given the aggressive nature of the animals when facing each other, the fights usually last less than a minute, often even less than 30 seconds.
There are only ever two cocks in the cockpit at one time, with competition sometimes consisting of matches between over 100 different roosters.
Dancing on the ground and in the air. The 6,000-year­-old sport also kills an estimated 30 million roosters a year.
At the end of a fight, opponents are often so exhausted that they are unable to kill an opponent.
The referee therefore encourages exhausted and injured cocks to further attacks.
After the fight, the losing cock is brought to the arena’s surgeon, who would stitch up the injuries with needle and string.
If the arena´s surgeon can save the cock, he receives around 200 pesos.
If he fails, the animal will be brought to the butcher, who is also in the arena and goes ahead to de-feather it and makes it ready to be stewed. So in the end, a fat tourist from Europe can eat a Filipino warrior.
The Philippines is the 9th largest rice producer in the world. The Philippines was also the world's largest rice importer in 2010 and still remain one of the biggest one.
Especially just before harvest, the rice fields glow green. Somewhere in Bohol island.
In addition to the beaches, the Philippines has thousands of waterfalls. And unlike the beaches, they are mostly not crowded with tourists.
The highest Philippine waterfall has 338m but underwater outcrops can cause head injury even in smaller waterfalls. Let's jump!
The famed Chocolate Hills of Bohol are not only two but more than 1,268 cone-shaped hill. The hills vary in size from 30 meters to 120 meters in height. What’s unique with these limestone chocolate hills is that they are only covered in grass and the cone shape is more or less common to all although differing in size.
The hills look chocolaty only during dry season when the grass withers and turns brown. They look like giant chocolate kisses. Less romantic people describe the hills as piles of poop.
The Philippine tarsier is a species endemic to the Philippines. He can widen his eyes just like my colleagues when they have to work. Of course tarsier is prettier than them.