Games we used to play

Text: Marymil M. Cabrera

THERE was a time when every Filipino kid looked forward to playing with friends under the sun every day. They came up with games that had little need for equipment yet players always had a great time nevertheless. Giving players the flexibility to act and think makes Filipino games interesting and challenging, not to mention these help develop one’s skills, talents and attitude. Grown-ups share their favorite traditional Filipino games and explain why children nowadays should play them:

Axel Wally, Performer/Blogger

I was more of a runner back when I was a kid, and I liked the thrill that came with playing Patintero, the most widely played Filipino game. The objectives of the game are to block the other team’s players from passing and to get past the lines, which are guarded by players of the opposite team.

It somehow requires for one to think fast, and move fast, avoiding getting tagged. Not only is Patintero a very good exercise, but it also encourages the development of critical thinking and tactical planning in young kids today.

Kathrina Taneo, Performer

My favorite traditional filipino game is Sungka. It’s a game played on a solid wooden block with two rows of seven circular holes and two large holes at both ends called head. The game begins with 49 pieces like shells, marbles, pebbles or seeds equally distributed to the holes. Each player controls the seven holes on his side of the board and owns the head to his right. The goal is to accumulate as many pieces in your own head.
Kids should play it. Not only is it a mind game, it also develops our analytical thinking, and at the same time teaches patience.

Benelene Marie, Business Solution Support

Growing up, my favorite game is Shatong because it helped us focus, exercise our mind, and build strength, but most of all, develop friendships, sportsmanship, and camaraderie. It is also the most exciting game that made me shout at the top of my lungs, whether I’m winning or losing.

The game is like baseball but with no ball required. The goal is to hit the shorter stick with the longer stick as far as it can go, and when this happens, the hitter will run to a marked area.

El Nino del Rosario, PolSci Student

Aside from sleeping, my favorite activity when I was a child was to play games in our neighborhood, and my favorite game until now is Lupa-Langit. The players need to choose through jack en poy the one to chase players who are running at ground level (lupa), so players should be wise and fast enough to clamber over higher objects (langit) to be safe.

This game allows children to have fun without needing anything but their playmates, and exercise to keep their bodies fit and healthy.

Stacey Marie Alesna, Shearwater Health | Medical Abstractor

Chinese garter was my favorite game back then. Two teams are needed to play this game, and two players would hold both ends of a stretched garter horizontally, while the others attempt to jump over it with different steps. The goal is to cross without tripping on the garter. With each round, the garter’s height is made higher and the steps become complicated.

Kids today should play it because it enhances their physical and mental abilities. Aside from having fun while playing, it also improves camaraderie and teamwork.

Bryan Yaun, Software Engineer

My favorite game is Buwan-buwan. A rough circle is drawn on the ground and one person from the group is tagged. The tagged player is not allowed to enter the circle, but instead has to touch one of the people inside the circle without having entered it. If he succeeds, he can enter the circle, and the person touched becomes the next one tagged.

This game just hits a lot of area of development for children — strategy, teamwork, sportsmanship and analytical thinking because you will formulate a strategy on how to succeed. It’s also a great exercise to get those muscles moving.

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