BJ88: Exploring the Intriguing Customs Linked to the Ruweda in Sabong Derbies

As the ruweda spins and anticipation mounts in the sabong arena, it’s not just the wheel that holds significance. Delve into the fascinating world of sabong customs and traditions that intertwine with the usage of the ruweda, shaping the culture of cockfighting in profound ways.

Sabong, the age-old tradition of cockfighting, is steeped in a rich tapestry of customs, rituals, and practices that have evolved over centuries. At the heart of sabong derbies lies the wielding of the ruweda, a spinning wheel used to determine pairings between gamecocks. But beyond this iconic symbol, other customary elements and practices connect the ruweda to sabong derbies, each contributing to the vibrant mosaic of cockfighting culture.

In sabong derbies, the festivities often kick off with a ceremonial opening that sets the stage for the battles to come. These openings may include traditional rituals, prayers, or invocations performed by a designated official or spiritual leader. The purpose of these ceremonies is to invoke blessings for the participants, promote sportsmanship, and honor the traditions that define sabong culture.

Invocation of Blessings

Central to the ceremonial opening is the invocation of blessings upon the participants, their gamecocks, and the sabong arena itself. This ritual may involve the recitation of prayers or the offering of symbolic gestures, such as the sprinkling of holy water or the burning of incense, to seek divine favor and protection for all involved in the competition.

Promotion of Sportsmanship

Another key aspect of the ceremonial opening is the promotion of sportsmanship and fair play among participants. Through speeches or declarations, organizers may emphasize the importance of integrity, respect, and camaraderie in sabong derbies, reminding participants of their ethical responsibilities as stewards of the sport.


Music and dance play a vital role in sabong culture, adding rhythm, energy, and excitement to the proceedings. Traditional instruments such as drums, gongs, and bamboo percussion are often used to accompany ceremonial rituals and performances, infusing the sabong arena with a vibrant and celebratory atmosphere.

Drumming and Percussion

The rhythmic beat of drums and percussion instruments is a hallmark of sabong derbies, signaling the start of matches, celebrating victories, and energizing participants and spectators alike. The pulsating rhythms evoke a sense of anticipation and adrenaline, heightening the excitement of the competition and forging a connection between participants and the sabong arena.

Folk Dances and Performances

In addition to music, folk dances and performances add color and spectacle to sabong derbies, reflecting the cultural diversity and traditions of the Philippines. Dancers adorned in traditional attire may showcase traditional dances such as the Tinikling or the Pandanggo sa Ilaw, captivating audiences with their grace, agility, and skill.


Attire and symbols hold significant meaning in sabong culture, serving as expressions of identity, heritage, and status among participants. Breeders, trainers, and spectators often don traditional clothing and accessories adorned with symbols of luck, protection, or reverence for the gamecocks and the sabong arena.

Traditional Garments and Accessories

Participants in sabong derbies may don traditional garments such as the barong Tagalog or the camisa de chino, along with accessories such as amulets, talismans, or lucky charms believed to bring good fortune and protection to the wearer. These attire and accessories not only convey a sense of cultural pride but also serve as talismans of strength and resilience in the heat of competition.

Symbolic Offerings and Gestures

Throughout sabong derbies, participants may make symbolic offerings or gestures to honor their gamecocks, seek blessings from ancestral spirits, or pay tribute to the sabong arena. These offerings may include flowers, fruits, or other gifts placed at altars or shrines, as well as gestures such as the raising of hands or the sprinkling of grains as acts of reverence and gratitude.


In the dynamic world of sabong derbies, the usage of the ruweda is just one element in a rich tapestry of customs and traditions that define cockfighting culture. From ceremonial openings to traditional music and dance, and from attire and symbols to symbolic offerings and gestures, these customs and practices imbue sabong derbies with a sense of heritage, identity, and camaraderie that transcends generations. As sabong enthusiasts gather in arenas across the Philippines and beyond, they pay homage to these age-old traditions, celebrating the timeless spirit of cockfighting and the enduring bonds that unite them in their shared love for the sport.