Hot Rodding to the "Sabong"

By Ernie Cabreana

One Sunday in 1949, I drove my Model A Hot Rod Jalopy to the Sabong. One of those early California style souped up jalopies with loud mufflers and no fenders. Stashed the convertible top inside the rumble seat and if it rained, just attached it back on.

The "Sabong" (chicken fight) was held at the Nipomo Mesa, hidden in the Eucalyptus groves. There were "tindahans" (food stalls) attended by the Manangs selling their favorite food they had prepared to sell to the people attending. Mrs. Ramil made and sold the best Binangkal and her two nice looking daughters helped her tend the stall.

I parked my hot rod near their stall to impress Mrs. Ramil's daughters. Their older brother Dado was also there on leave from the Army. We were close friends, which gave me a good excuse to hang out there. Later on, Mrs. Ramil asked Dado and I to grab a couple of water jugs and goes fetch some water from a camp nearby. We put the water jugs in the rumble seat.

Being the wild one I was those days, I showed off by dumping the clutch and peeled out of the Arena with loud pipes blaring. When we returned after filling the jugs, we had a reception waiting for us. The head sabongero and chicken fighters were very angry with me and looked like ready to kill me. You ever see a Pinoy pissed off?

Reason was... I had scared the chickens when I peeled out of the Arena and they panicked and flew off into the woods. The head sabongero gave ma tongue lashing. He called me among other things a "panggulo" (trouble maker), and to never drive my jalopy to the "sabong" again or see me around.... period!!!

read more stories