Aaron Philip Dela Cruz teaches Filipino at the Ateneo de Manila University and anthropology at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Her research focuses on human-animal studies (anthrozoology) and gender studies. E-mail: philipdelacruz.theflame@gmail.com


Logging Into the Virtual Cockpit: Defining the Neoliberalization of Philippine Cockfighting through an Ethnography of E-sabong

Abstract: Online cockfighting or e-sabong is a franchise owned by Pitmaster Live under the gaming and casino company Lucky Star 8 Quest Inc. The game rose to popularity at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 until it was suspended on 3rd May 2022 by former President Rodrigo Duterte due to the menace it brought to society. This paper defines and positions online cockfighting as a neoliberal iteration of Philippine cockfighting. Through ethnography, it shows how this profit-driven philosophy reflects the Pitmaster gambling portal’s operational management and user interface. This research offers a meditation about the role of accelerative technologies in shaping cultures and systems by telling the story of the rise and fall of e-sabong in the Philippines.
Keywords: e-sabong, cockfighting, technology, neoliberalism, human-animal studies