Head nestled into the chest of the man holding him, he looks comfortable. As if it’s a daily occurrence. Today his twitchy eyes notice there are more people watching as his leg is attended to, but he’s still relaxed. Maybe it’s some basic medical attention or grooming. He’s probably unaware there’s a razor-sharp blade being tied to his ankle so he can be thrown before a baying crowd in a bloody fight to the death. He’s just relaxed. He got up at 3 am to crow and wake up the neighbourhood then strut around like a hero. It’s just another normal day. Now he’s ten minutes from a brutal death or a gory triumph. He is a cock in the Philippines. And the Philippines loves its cockfighting.
Yes. I definitely packed the bag myself. It was only an hour ago before a short cab ride here; a collection of dirty clothes, crumpled pamphlets, a couple of books and a damp towel – the standard inventory after a few weeks on the road. Definitely no drugs or weapons, and I would have been surprised if someone had managed to sneak any in while I wasn’t looking. But for some reason this Filipino airport official had taken a liking to my well-travelled, decade-old backpack.