Araneta Coliseum: The Iconic Sabong Arena of the Philippines

One of the most iconic and historic venues for Sabong in the Philippines is the Araneta Coliseum. Located in Quezon City, Metro Manila, the Araneta Coliseum is a multi-purpose indoor arena that has been a centerpiece of Sabong and other sports and entertainment events in the country for over half a century. 

Sabong, or cockfighting, has a long and rich history in the Philippines. It is a cultural tradition that dates back to pre-colonial times and is deeply rooted in the country’s history and identity. Today, Sabong remains a popular pastime and a significant industry in the Philippines, with millions of Filipinos participating in and watching cockfighting matches.

In this article, we will study the history and significance of The Araneta Coliseum in the context of Sabong in the Philippines. We will also examine the broader cultural, economic, and regulatory aspects of Sabong in the country and discuss the future of Araneta Coliseum and Sabong in the coming years.

History of Araneta Coliseum

The Araneta Coliseum, also known as the “Big Dome,” was constructed in the early 1960s by businessman J. Amado Araneta. It was designed by architect Dominador Lacson and built by the engineering firm DM Consunji, Inc. at around 15 million pesos, making it the largest indoor arena in Asia.

The arena opened on March 16, 1960, with a capacity of 25,000 seats. It was initially intended as a venue for basketball and other sports events, concerts, and other entertainment shows. However, it soon became clear that the Araneta Coliseum was also an ideal venue for Sabong, a popular pastime in the Philippines.

In the early years of the Araneta Coliseum, Sabong matches were held alongside basketball and other events. However, as the popularity of Sabong grew, the arena became more and more associated with cockfighting. Today, the Araneta Coliseum is widely recognized as the premier Sabong venue in the Philippines, hosting some of the most prestigious and high-stakes cock fighting events in the country.

Over the years, the Araneta Coliseum has undergone several renovations and upgrades to improve its facilities and amenities. In 2016, the arena underwent a major renovation that included the installation of a new LED scoreboard, a new sound system, and upgraded seating and lighting.

The Araneta Coliseum has also hosted some of Philippine history’s most iconic and memorable events. One of the most notable events held at the arena was the “Thrilla in Manila” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxing matches ever.

Sabong in the Philippines

Sabong, or cockfighting, is a traditional and popular pastime in the Philippines. It involves two roosters, each equipped with metal spurs, fighting each other in a small ring called a cockpit. The fight continues until one of the roosters cannot continue due to injury or death. 

Sabong has a long and rich history in the Philippines, dating back to pre-colonial times. It was initially a ritualistic practice associated with indigenous religions and was later adopted and adapted by Spanish colonizers as entertainment. Today, Sabong is a significant industry in the Philippines, with millions of Filipinos participating in and watching cockfighting matches.

Sabong is particularly popular in rural areas of the Philippines, where it is often viewed as a way of life and a basis of community and identity. It is also a significant economic activity, with cockfighting events generating millions of pesos in revenue for breeders, trainers, and other stakeholders. 

Despite its popularity, Sabong has also been controversial and criticized in the Philippines. Critics argue that cockfighting is inhumane and that it promotes violence and gambling. Recently, the Philippine government has introduced regulations to promote responsible and sustainable Sabong practices while addressing issues such as illegal gambling and animal welfare.

Araneta Coliseum and Sabong

The Araneta Coliseum is widely recognized as the premier Sabong arena in the Philippines. It has hosted some of the country’s most prestigious and high-stakes cockfighting events, including the annual World Slasher Cup, which is considered the Super Bowl of Sabong.

The Araneta Coliseum’s significance in the development and growth of Sabong in the Philippines cannot be overstated. The arena has provided a platform for breeders, trainers, and cockfighting enthusiasts to showcase their skills and compete at the highest levels. It has also helped to elevate the profile of Sabong in the country, making it more mainstream and accessible to a broader audience.

While the Araneta Coliseum is perhaps the most iconic and well-known Sabong venue in the Philippines, there are also many other cockfighting arenas and clubs throughout the country. These include the Pasay City Cockpit, the San Juan Coliseum, and the New Antipolo Coliseum. Each of these venues has its unique history and significance in Sabong.

Sabong Regulations and Controversies

Sabong is a highly regulated activity in the Philippines, with strict rules and regulations governing everything from the breeding and training of roosters to the conduct of cockfighting events. The Philippine government has introduced several laws and regulations to promote responsible and sustainable Sabong practices while addressing illegal gambling and animal welfare.

One of the critical regulations governing Sabong in the Philippines is the Animal Welfare Act of 1998, which prohibits the maltreatment of animals and imposes penalties on those who engage in cruel or inhumane practices. The government has also established the Philippine Cockfighting Commission (PCC) to oversee and regulate the Sabong industry in the country.

Sabong remains a controversial and divisive issue in the Philippines despite these regulations. Critics argue that cockfighting is cruel and that it promotes violence and gambling. Supporters, conversely, say that Sabong is a cultural tradition passed down from generation to generation and provides a source of livelihood and community for many Filipinos.

In recent years, the Philippine government has taken steps to address some of the controversies surrounding Sabong. For example, in 2017, the PCC issued a memorandum circular to promote responsible cockfighting practices and ensure the welfare of roosters involved in Sabong events. The circular outlined several guidelines, such as ensuring that roosters are appropriately vaccinated and not subjected to inhumane treatment.

Sabong Philippines: Online Sabong Platform for Filipino Enthusiasts

Sabong Philippines has become a popular online platform for Sabong enthusiasts, providing a comprehensive resource for everything related to the sport. The website features news, updates on the latest Sabong events and competitions, and informative articles on breeding, training, and caring for roosters.

In addition, Sabong Philippines also serves as a forum for Sabong enthusiasts to connect and share their experiences and knowledge. Members can discuss breeding techniques, rooster nutrition, and training strategies and share tips and advice on improving their cockfighting skills.

For those looking to participate in Sabong events, also provides a directory of Sabong arenas and pitmasters nationwide. It makes it easy for breeders and trainers to find and connect with other Sabong enthusiasts in their area and to find upcoming Sabong events and competitions to participate in.


In conclusion, the Araneta Coliseum is an iconic arena that has played an essential role in the cultural heritage of the Philippines. As the premier venue for sabong or cockfighting, it has become a symbol of Filipino tradition and pride. For those interested in experiencing the thrill of a sabong match, or learning more about the history and culture of the Araneta Coliseum, visit It is a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning more about this iconic arena and its significance in Filipino culture. Whether you are a sports fan or a cultural enthusiast, visiting the Araneta Coliseum is a must-do experience in the Philippines.

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