The author, a former main stream newspaperman, editor, turned trade magazine writer, embarked on a trip to research the history of a certain strain of chickens.
In search of a breed, he discovered a legend.
Yes, it was the great American cocker Duke Hulsey who, forty years ago, brought to the Philippines the seeds of the tree that was to become the Philippine lemons, but it were the Filipino breeders, mostly from Negros, who nurtured them into what they are now.
In the 60’s the great American breeder Duke Hulsey brought over to the country the lemon hackled red battle fowl he used in competing on behalf of Don Amado Araneta and son Jorge “Nene” Araneta. Most of these battle fowl were of Duke’s butcher-hatch-claret blend. They were the predecessors of the Philippine lemons.
Whether Duke had ever set them into a strain or just produced them as battle crosses was uncertain. Some of those he brought here might even be of different breeds as the late Duke Hulsey had many bloodlines.
No body could tell now with certainty, as nobody seemed to have asked then. What was important at the time was, no matter what they were, the hulseys were efficient killers.
Duke brought these fowl here in the 60’s yet. Those years were then considered a new era in Philippine cockfighting. It was the advent of imported roosters that came in from the United States.
Now, forty years later as the sport experienced a welcome transformation from an ordinary Filipino pastime to a full blown industry, the bloodline is still very much alive and in use by many Philippine breeders and cockers.
Thanks to the many Filipino breeders, mostly in Negros, who loved the bloodline and stuck with it, through the years.
The birth of the lemons
Lance de la Torre told this writer that in the sixties there was a certain Dr. Javelona who was importing and fighting with success the hulsey fowl.
A bit later, whether inspired by the impressive performances of the hulseys fought by Dr. Javelona, or for any other reason, Don Amado Araneta began sponsoring the campaign of Duke Hulsey here in the Philippines.
At that time derbies were not popular. The big timers then fought in hacks, conciertos and mains. Like many of their contemporaries such as Eddie Araneta and the Rivero brothers of Manila, the Plazas and Chiongbians of Mindanao, Amado Garcia of Davao, The Lacsons of Negros, Nyor Dorong Paulin and Cong. Ed Kintanar of Cebu, and others who fought imported chickens, Don Amado and son George Araneta opted to pin their hope on the imported hulseys.