Since when I was child I am fascinated in the world of insects and one of my favorites is spiders. My first experience in spider fighting was during 90’s when I was still in my elementary days. During after school my classmates gather around to a man who have a small backpack and on his hand he have a wooden box covered in glass where he can let you see the spiders inside. The prices range starting from 10 pesos to 30 pesos depends on the type of the spider while the spiders sold to gamblers ranges from 50 up to 200 pesos.
The most fierce looking and red colored coated spiders are one of the popular choices for the children including spider who have long arms so that they can easily grasp their opponents. Spider fighting in the Philippines is not new as a matter of fact every local knows about it.
There are 2 types of ways how to play this game, The Death match and the 3 down count.
The death match is simply a death match; the players will use a simple small stick as an arena where each spider will be place at the end of the stick. Both fighters will fight until one of them will be wrap by the opponents spider silk.
The 3 down count is similar to the gameplay of the death match but the only difference is they don’t have to kill each other to be declared as a winner.
There is a fixed bamboo stick in the middle of the arena where there is a cloth under it for cushion is ever a spider falls down. Mostly this arena is custom made. If the spider falls to the cloth then that spider scores 1 point. The spider that scores 3 points will be declared the loser. There is a referee where he will assist the game and the score points. In some cases where a spider kills the opponent then it will also be declared as the winner. This type of gameplay mostly used for gambling because it’s much faster to tell who will be the winner.
Catching and Caring
The season for catching fully grown spiders is during the end of the rainy season and early summer.
The best time for catching local spiders is at dawn where the spiders go out of their hiding place and starting to create their web. The hunters use this opportunity to easily hunt for them; they simply use a flashlight because the strand of the web shines when the light hits it. Some hunter uses a technique to find a tough one by testing its web. The hunter carefully touches a small strand of the web and lifts it a few inches away if it doesn’t breaks easily then that spider is tough and aggressive which is an A+ in spider matches.
The caring and training of the player for the spider is very valuable because it will depend how the spider performs in each match. Some players starve the spiders 3 days before their game to make it more aggressive they even put a small juice of a fresh red chili to the spider’s mouth to give it some more kick in battle. They also make a comfortable cushion inside its cage using a dried skin trunk of the banana because it is warm and soft for the spider to sleep in. some locals also place their spider in a small flower plant with cage and let it outside for the night because some believed that It will bring comfort for the spider before their fight. They also train spiders in every morning by putting it in the stick and when the spider comes at the end they use their fingers to touch the spider’s front arms, just like giving a boxer training in punching. Oh before I forgot to tell some players use a sparring spider for their spiders.
Some of the adults use it for gambling. The bet starts from the range of 20 to 500 pesos and up! while some just enjoy the action and brutality of the nature of the game because the spider that will lose will become food for the winner.
We all know that spiders are a one big help in our environment because they are the one who controls and eats the insects who infects in our crops. Local government in the Philippines already set laws to control and preventing this kind of game.