SA PULA, SA PUTI Francisco "Soc" Rodrigo

About the Author

Francisco had a colorful career as politician, poet, playwright, essayist and nationalist. He is popular for his caustic comments on current events, which he writes in both English and Filipino. He is one of the foremost exponents of nationalism and was one of the writers censored and detained during the Marcos regime. He was also one of the youngest to be elected Philippine senator. CHARACTERS Kulas, an out-and-out sabungero, or cockfighting addict Celing, wife of Kulas Sioning, friend of Celing Castor, a middleman in the cockpit Teban, an old manservant of Kulas and Celing Kulas: Ahem! Er. . . nice morning, isn't it, Celing? How are you? Celing (dryly): Oh, fine. I feel very fine. Thanks for thinking of me. Kulas: Oh, come, Celing, that's not a nice way to say it. Celing: Well, you certainly take a lot of interest in me these days. Usually our first thought is for your fighting cocks and your last one is for your wife. Kulas: Come, come, Celing. You have first place in my heart. I know to appreciate a wife like you. Celing: Really? But when I see you fondle your cocks, I feel envious, I am jealous. Kulas: But Celing, you know that I only cherish my fighting cocks for our own good. Celing: What good are you talking about? If it's stewed chicken you're after. I can get good, fat hens in the market any time. We don't have to get a roster killed in the cockpit and lose money in the process. I can do the killing myself right here for nothing. Kulas: Come now, Celing, I don't expect to lose all the time. Look at this cock for example… why it is a sure winner — its scales are perfect. Celing: That's the same thing you said about that unbeatable cock you bet ten

I've studied the scales and the ears of this cock. The cockfight was on the eight of February. I assure you I can't lose. that means silver. Celing: But. but instead. I made a mistake in selecting the match I should bet in. but that was an accident. Celing: And did you make a mistake. last month you dreamt about a snake that coiled itself into a figure eight. This cock is a sure winner. do you remember how sure you were two Sundays ago about that other cock? And what happened? . Celing. I'm getting more experience all the time. It's a sure winner. we are going to win this time. Celing: Ha. and you said you were surely going to win. . I can't lose this time. Kulas. I'll get that money back. Come here. well. if only you'll lend ten pesos now. It can't lose. I should have bet in the eighth match. It's just put away. Celing: But we have no more money now. Celing. And anyway. Give me five pesos and we'll surely— double it. we have. Everybody was betting two to one and that cock would win. Celing. don't tell that dream to anybody. Kulas: Look here. Kulas: Oh yes. when you dreamt about the red cat? You bet on the red rooster and lost ten pesos. Celing. Celing: What if it was white? Kulas: Why. Celing: Kulas. I assure you. And now you talk about your white carabaos.pesos on last week. you lost eight whole pesos! Kulas: Well. Kulas: Oh. Celing. (Angrily) Who care for dreams anyway? I want some money. Did you like the way I cooked it? Kulas: Oh. and it was chasing me — that means money is coming to me. You know that if you tell anybody else about your dreams they never come true. Celing: But you told me. Celing. . too. My dreams cannot fail.I know how to choose cocks now. There's no more silver. Last night I dreamt that I was being chased by a white carabao— a white one. I tell you. but this time I'm not banking on dreams alone. Quite interesting. well . I'll tell you a secret. Do you hear me? I want some money. Kulas: Oh. you are my wife.

Tebw (Unsure). ma’am? Celing (taking five pesos from her pocket and giving it to Teban): Here. Uh . ? Celing (exasperated at his stupidity. See you later. (Shouts toward the kitchen) Teban! Teban! Teban! Teban (obedient but slow-witted. Well so long (Exits). Five pesos. Come on. it's your money. here. entering): Yes. hurry up! They have already started the fights. explaining as if to a child): Your master is back in the cockpit. In a few minutes the money will be doubled. Hurry! You maybe too late! Teban (as light dawns and Celing pushes him out): Yes. ma'am? What is it. never go to the cockpit again. (Celing shakes her head. I will be disgraced if I don't show up. Teban.. . excuse me. I will never. . Er. (On his way out Kulas almost bumps Sioning. Kulas becomes uneasy. an empty basket on her arm. again! Is he really — Celing: Just a moment. Celing: Really? Kulas: Really and truly. . Sioning: What's the matter with your husband. Celing. er . . Sioning. Celing! Here's Sioning. You know what to do. Kulas (taking the money): Don't worry. realizing the futility of further discussion. Kulas. She takes five pesos from her pocket. Sioning: Betting five pesos! What's this. .er… There's Celing. Sioning. After all. who enters. make a bet with this. Celing? He acts as if his feet are on fire.(Shouts are heard from the cockpit. Celing: Worse than that. just this once.) Sioning: Hello. I am only being careful. Quick. If this cock loses. Kulas (in a hurry): Hello .) Celing: Well. take this. ma'am. Yes. Celing? Are you becoming a lighter? . our money is on fire — he is going to the cockpit again.) Kulas: Come on Celing. . Don't blame me if we land in the poorhouse some day. eh. Sioning: Celing. eh . I'm in a hurry.. You bet your life. I have a bet in the next match. Come on. Sioning.

Celing. I bet in the cockfights in order not to lose. I'm not a cockfighter. But promise you won't tell anyone. Sioning. Sioning. Celing: You see. Don't worry. you are making fun of me. we are losing a lot of money on account of Kulas' gambling. Celing. but you just bet in the cockpit. I tried my best to keep him away from the cockpit . . I'm sure some day we'll be eating just rice and salt. Celing? Celing: No. You bet in the cockfights in order not to lose. You know. Sioning: Oh . . . I'll explain it to you. Sioning: I promise. but whenKulas goes to the cockpit. . Of course not. Sioning: Ah . I bet also. you are not a cockfighter.Celing (surprised): My dear Sioning. Are you trying to kid me.

(Louder shouts from the cockpit. which she pockets immediately. (Shouts at the cockpit) Celing. What now. crestfallen. my cock was winning right up to the last minute. if Kulas' cock loses. we won.) Sioning. too): Why? Celing: Well. and suddenly stop. Sioning: Well. up to the last seconds. Celing: Don't think I chose it. My. I win and if I lose Kulas wins. puts its on. (The shouts grow louder. (Teban enters out of breath. And in order to avoid quarrel and to prevent our money from melting away entirely.the match is over. (Exit Teban) Sioning. After all. The match is on. we won! (Gives Celing the money. I wanted a house near the church but Kulas wanted one near the cockpit. Have you done your marketing yet? How about coming along with me? Let's go. Sioning — but wait a while . Mang Kulas might catch on. Dear me.) Celing. I see. the shouts make my head ache. Well. Kulas enters. (Celing gets her tapis from a chair. of course! Celing. with two five peso bills. whatever happens. imagine. . Yes. you are clever. the market is near (looks out the window). .but we just quarrel about it. For the last month I have always sent Teban to the cockpit to bet on the side opposite Kulas. but what rotten luck -Celing. let's go. Kulas did the choosing. ma'am. Very good.) Celing: Yes. Teban. So. It was a freak fight that only happens once in a hundred . here’s Teban. Sioning (a little slow.Oh. Kulas? Didn't the white carabao catch up with you? Kulas (sore): Don't joke about that now.) Celing. There they go. Sioning: Oh. We won. I thought of a plan. and picks up her basket. yes. it is your fault . Celing. Now hurry back to the kitchen. no one told you to choose a near the cockpit. He's actually running. and smiling broadly). Let's wait for Teban. we don't lose any money. Why.

takes a puff. Kulas lights a cigarette. . . Kulas. . I see to that! I do some tricks to make it lose. He is another sabungero . Kulas. sit down and cool off. My head is boiling hot. Kulas — you depend on nothing but luck. Kulas. . stop kidding me. Oh. ha? Castor. be a good friend and tell me. He slumps into a chair. But. Don't be touchy. Castor. Sioning and I are going to market. I promise you I will never gamble again.) Castor. Come on. I never saw anyone have such bad luck as I do! Celing. Kulas. That's the trouble with gambling. Cockfighting is really no good. You only caught me in a bad mood. how can you make a rooster lose? Castor. See you later. the . come on. And if you were not my friend I would not tell you this precious secret. Sure. You are even sore at me. Kulas. Here's hoping you mean that. . Castor: Who's clowning? It's the truth. Castor. But why should I tell you? You do not appreciate what I am doing. Castor: What's the matter? Why do you wear a funeral parlor on your face? Did your wife make adobo out of your pet rooster? Kulas. (The two women steal amused glances at each other. Kulas: Come. Sige na. Oh. (Exit Celing and Sioning. Castor. other . Kulas (gloomily): Kumusta. sure. Kulas. Kulas: You bet on . Do you really want to know? Kulas. . I give up cockfighting. Well.a little older than Kulas. and I am in no mood for clowning. throw down on the floor and steps on it. . never again. come. I do. Castor. Curse it! I don't want to see even the shadow of the cockpit again. But suppose your cock wins? Castor: My cock can never win. It's easy . I tell you. . There's no one as neglected by luck as I am. I'm through with cocks and the cockpit for good.) You won't see me going over there any more. Kumusta ka. . Celing. Celing.times. downhearted Castor comes in.

It surely is going to lose. Then that cock won’t win any more. It doesn't matter. Er . Once you prick it. Look here (Castor pricks the cock leg. I do suppose they did. I've really lost a great deal. Kulas. What is bad in that? Kulas. Any one of my cocks? Castor. .) Kulas (giving Castor the cock). . Well. Kulas. .. . That thing that your wife uses for sewing.. .) Here's a needle. Kulas. Of course. Superb! That certainly is a wonderful trick! Castor. Kulas. Well. Sure enough. . Kulas. Why. Hi returns with a cock.) Kulas (troubled). you have already lost plenty of money. Why. the leg will be weak. you see .Castor. But. Kulas. See? The trouble with you is you don't use your coconut. Well. Castor. Castor. what are you waiting for? Let us go. Any cock. You will use this trick just to get it back. Kulas. Here. Castor. Isn't that cheating? Castor. A needle? Castor. Ah . . a needle. Sure. Now all you have to do is to go to the cockpit. . You are right. Castor (holding the cock in his left hand and the needle in his right Now come here and observe what I'll do. yes . Every cock has ligament in the leg. a needle . Castor. it is cheating! But heavens.) There. uh . . . . . Yes. (Kulas exits the kitchen. here's the cock. arrange a match for that cock. my wife. . (Indicating the head. Castor. You are right. Castor. show me the gambler who ever made money without cheating? And besides that. they did not cheat you? Kulas (thinking). I'll have to wait for Celing. No one will notice what we did but that leg is weak and now cock can no longer strike with it. she holds the purse strings in this house. Castor Naturally. get one of your cocks and I'll show you. Well . Now get me a needle. And do not suppose that when you lost. and bet secretly on the other side. er. Kulas. See? You will not be cheating. what for? Kulas. You will just be getting back at them. . (Goes to Celing's sewing box gets a needle.. Castor. Castor.

Celing. Come now. What is we can make more.. Celing. I swear! Celing. but I'd rather you'd run along now. Castor. Go ahead. Castor (laughs). This cannot miss! (Castor exits. I am serious. Susmariosep! Kulas. my. just like the price of sugar: changes very minute. Well. please . She is the witness to my pledge. Celing. huh? . Kulas. 0. Celing. Celing (upon seeing the cock). really and truly. Kulas. just this once. . Castor. . Sioning (winks at Celing). Celing. Kulas smiles. Celing. this is the last time. fondles his cock and admires the trick done on its leg. are you at it again? I thought you had sworn off the cockpit. Er . Castor. Twenty pesos! Stoning.. K. Kulas. . Er . Yes. Kulas. Twenty pesos. a conspiracy? 0. Gosh. You might as well give him what he asks for. K. 0. Kulas. Sioning. I don't want her to see you here. . this Kulas. Yes? Kulas. but get plenty of money. Celing. Follow soon. pal. by all that's holy. Squeeze all you can from the wife. Strike it on a rock. what a man. . I am sure we can recover what we lost. quit joking. . how much? Kulas. If I lose now you can butcher all my other cocks. Another promise to be broken. ha? You’II have a match ready as soon as you get there. Kulas. My. (Celing . That is right. er . Kulas. . You see. Celing. here is Sioning. Kulas. A slave to roosters and pecked by a hen. just twenty pesos. . Don't take offense. Swear. so that we will win back our loses.Castor. But remember.. I think you should be a politician. Well. Kulas. She doesn't like to see me with cockfighters you know. Thank you. Look . I am the witness. I promise. wait for her. All right. See you later. . just this once. . Celing is probably on her way home now. Sioning is right. K. Sioning and Celing enter). Celing. I'll see you there. this Kulas of mine.

Indeed. Twenty pesos! This is twenty pesos. all of it. and . stealing . Celing. Teban! (Teban comes from the kitchen.hesitates. Certainly. All right. Sige na! Celing. ma'am? Sioning.) Sioning. . you.) Sioning. It often leads to cheating. So there's no harm done. Your master is in the cockpit again. But Kulas does not do those things . . . hurry! Teban (not understanding). Here you are. Celing. Teban! Teban. after all you are sure not to lose. You are right. why did you ally yourself with Kulas? (Imitating Sioning. (The shouts grow louder. Sioning dear. Oh thank you. but shall we wait for the fire to start before we prepare the water? (Shouts are heard from the cockpit. ma'am.. ma'am. I guess.. Yes.) Kulas (taking the money). Sioning. Celing. Celing. But Sioning. After all this is the last time. Let Teban! Sioning. Wow. Yes. Bet that on the other side. I’ll see you both later.) Celing. (Kulas exits hurriedly with his cock. well. Well . And now. ..) Celing (follows Kulas with her eyes until he is far). Celing. Teban.) Celing.. Celing. Teban (surprised at the amount of money). . ma'am. he promised.} What was the idea of your Sige na! Sioning.. But Kulas promised this will be his last fight. Take this money. but it is not only the money that I am worried about. Teban. Hurry. . Sioning. What else? Celing. (She gives Kulas twenty pesos which she gets from the trunk. this is big money! (Exit Teban.) . Teban. know all gambling leads to other evils. Sioning. Shall I bet all of this. There is no use arguing. Sioning. hurry. Celing. Well. You will not regret this. women. Go ahead. The other bad consequences of gambling. go on. But you may just as well write that on water. Yes. twenty pesos. Yes. the trouble with you is you don't have enough courage like me.

From that moment on. He can be trusted.) Kulas. You see. We lost. but you know how people can succumb to temptation. (Teban comes in. He rushes home immediately Kulas won't see him. Kulas. Of course. but that was only temporary. Celing. didn't you win? . What did you say? Kulas. Celing. . he never showed up in the club again. Celing. do you remember how. Why are you so sad. . Don't worry about Teban. Because Kulas won. After that. What? Sioning. . Teban. ( The shouts suddenly subside. Celing. The match must be over. They will never see me in the cockpit again. but never mind. because you had two black eyes? Sioning. This is really the end. Celing. Celing." I went to the club one day and insulted him from head to foot.) Teban (downhearted). Kulas won. we lost? Well . Celing. Sioning.) Sioning. I prefer to suffer things as they are. Sioning. tell you what I did when Siso. (Kulas comes in. Celing (sadly). sad. I don't think I can do that. But. what's the difference?" Celing. Sioning. And what if he did? Whether he wins or you win. Plenty. he will stick to the cockpit more than ever. you had to keep yourself in the house for a week. I wouldn't trust Teban too much with money. Celing? Celing. . after that. Why did I ever listen to that sneaking Castor? Celing. But. Celing. you lose no money. Nothing can change my bad luck. So. everything was all right again. now that Kulas has won. (Exit ) Sioning. Celing. Sioning. Of course. that husband of mine could not be kept away from "monte. ma'am. Maybe you are right. I wonder who won. We will know when Teban arrives. Celing. Don't worry . if I were you. After all. You really have a clever way of not losing. better go back to the kitchen before your master returns.

Aha . Celing. Celing (suspiciously).. Hey . The twenty pesos you took to the cockpit a while ago. Teban (not understanding). Yes. But we lost ma'am. you bet! Where did you steal the money? . Kulas. Kulas. Liar! What do you mean we lost? If you lost. ? Sioning. sir. All gone. . ma'am. ma'am.. Kulas. . . Kulas must have won. Kulas. Teban. Ah. maybe you are right. (Celing goes to the kitchen door. no more. he . I told you not to be too trusting. I bet. sir.Kulas. Good Lord! There aren't any. Teban. . Teban! Teban! (Teban enters. were you in the cockpit a while ago? Teban. And the twenty pesos are all gone. curses on that Castor. Sioning. Aba . Wait. and you gave the money to her! Kulas. what money? Celing. . Kulas. ma'am? If I lost.. I have a hunch Teban pocketed the money . . Nothing is left. Ha? What money . what's all this.. Oh Celing. What did you do there? Teban. . Whoever gave you the idea that I won? Celing. What! What! This is becoming very complicated. Teban.. Teban.. Celing (more suspicious). Who told you that I won? Oh. Kulas. . No. Kulas.) Kulas. this is getting to be suspicious. Kulas. I will not fall for any acting. Celing. . Give me your winnings. Money . Celing. Teban said so. . . just as I thought would happen. Yes. I know that you won. Maybe you have a Kulasisi . What money. (getting an idea). don't fool me. Hey . give me back the money. Teban . . Celing. But Kulas lost. Eh? What's that. Kulas. I lost again. Celing. what crazy things are you talking about? I lost! There can be no two ways about it.) Teban. Sioning. He came from the cockpit. Yes. Celing. Wait. . . Kulas. so you must have won.

Celing wins. Celing. What's so funny? . . Then give me the money! Kulas. Of course. Celing. we won't lose anything. what a confusing mess! Celing (to Kulas).. I lamed my cock so it had no chance to win. . Yes. Celing bets on the other cock. I just bet on the other cock so that even if you lose.. You won. Because I lost. no sir. Kulas (to Celing). You see. You mean. eh? Sioning. Yes. Kulas. Then I bet on the other rooster. Celing.Teban. Hey .. No. Teban. we really don't win anything? Sioning. And your cock won? Kulas. and vice versa. so you wanted to cheat. . Celing. and you even go against me. and if Celing wins. So I have been wasting gargled water and smoke and a lot of fondling on my cocks. From Aling Celing. isn't it? Kulas. Wait a minute. Let's find out first what happened to our twenty pesos. Dear me. Yes. Ah. I was like a fool who — Celing. sir. . but you lost? Kulas. you certainly hit your own head with a stone. Kulas (to Celing). Ah! So you are preventing me from cockfighting but you are betting secretly yourself. Yes. Kulas. . Ah. Teban really lost. er . Kulas. You see I also bet on the other cock. Don't get mad. you lose. Very clever. Celing just bet on your cock's opponent. Sioning. Wait a minute. too. (She laughs). Simple. Kulas. Sioning. Celing. Aling Celing ordered me to bet. Kulas. even if my cock wins. No. It is a wonderful idea. Er . /lost. eh? Celing. Kulas. But the moment I put down my cock the other cock turned about face and ran away! So my cock won by default and I — well. You bet on your opponent? Kulas. eh? Well. What? You stole from Aling Celing? Teban. Celing. sir. Well. Kulas. You bet on your cock. where did you put the money? Teban. If you lose.

. Really.. ma'am. Yes. Curtain . ma'am. Yes. he! ha . He approaches Celing with a look of approval. (Starts with a mirthless laugh) He . Celing. because you promised me and I have a witness (indicating Sioning). prepare our pots. Adobo . I want to celebrate your last farewell to the cockpit. Kulas does not catch on until a little later. he! (Laughter becomes sincere. Because I am very happy. . I invite you to eat with us tonight. Never mind. Teban. . Yes.Sioning. Sure! Teban. Three will be made into adobo and the other three will be cooked in broth. I am going to give you all a blowout. Celing. ha. . But how are we going to give a blowout? We lost more than forty pesos today? Celing. and besides. and borrow Ate Nena's casserole. . Last farewell? Celing. we don't need to buy any meat.) Kulas. And invite Aling Kikay and our other friends. (Sioning and Celing laugh. Sioning. Kulas. Why? Celing.) Kulas. You still have six fighting cocks in the coop. Kulas. . Er . why are you laughing? Celing. (Exits to kitchen... Shouts begin in the cockpit.

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