Back in the day, Filipino children had limited resources of toys. But that didn’t stop them from having fun. With their ingenuity, they have managed to invent games with less materials and more on their flexibility to think and act. But due to the availability of affordable toys and popularity of internet and mobile phones, these traditional Filipino games, locally referred to as “laro ng lahi”, are rarely played nowadays.
Perhaps, kids need to be taught of these games for them to realize that they don’t really need much to have fun. Here are the ten most played traditional Filipino games.
1 | Luksong-Tinik
Luksong-Tinik can be played both indoors and outdoors by three or more people.
Literally means “jump over the thorns”. The game requires two players who will serve as the base of the tinik (thorn) by gradually putting up their feet and hands each round. The players set a starting point far enough to achieve a higher jump and help them not to hit the tinik. A player who hit the tinik of the base players will become one of the two base players. The game continues until the players decide to stop the game.
2 | Luksong-Baka
Luksong-Baka can be played both indoors and outdoors by two or more people.
This game is a popular version of luksong-tinik. Literally translates to “jump over the cow”, luksong-baka requires one player who will serve as it that will crouch for other players to jump over. The game gets more challenging as the it gradually stands therefore making it harder for the players to jump over. The one who touches the it becomes the new it. The game continues until the players decide to stop the game.
3 | Patintero
Patintero is an outdoor game composed of two teams.
In Patintero, the two teams are labelled as attack team and defense team popularly referred to as it. Lines are drawn on the ground to mark the position of the defense players. If there are five players for each team, there should be four horizontal lines and one vertical line in the middle. Each member of the defense team has a designated line to guard. The vertical line in the middle allows the player assigned on that line to intersect the lines guarded by the player that the parallel line intersects. This therefore increases the chances of the attack team to be trapped.
With the defense players on their positions, the attack team must run across the horizontal lines to get to the back end and return to the front without being tagged by the defense players. Once a member of the attack team is tagged or trapped, the team becomes the new it.
4 | Piko
Piko can be played both indoors and outdoors by one or more players.
The Philippines version for hopscotch, Piko is a popular game that needs pucks locally referred to as pamato. When there is more than one player, the game begins by determining who will play first. It is either by jack-en-poy or by throwing their pamato from behind the edge of the box and the one whose pamato fell nearest to the spot that they have agreed upon will play first. The first player will then throw the pamato in the 1st box then hop on with each foot to the 2nd and 3rd box, left leg on 4th box, right leg on 5th box, and so on. A player loses his/her turn if the pamato or any part of the body touches the line while the first player to complete the 10th box is declared as the winner.
5 | Tumbang Preso
Tumbang Preso is an outdoor game played by 3 to 9 players.
Also called presohan in Luzon, and tumba-patis or tumba-lata in the Visayas, this game is played by using slippers and an empty tin can. During the game, there should be one taya (it) whose role is to guard the tin can while the rest strike the tin can using their slippers. The tin can is positioned six to eight meters away from the throwing line while other players must stand behind the throwing line and take turns throwing their slippers to knock down the tin can. When the tin can is hit and knocked down, the taya must retrieve and place it back in position while keeping an eye to tag other players who try to retrieve their slippers. If a slipper becomes too close to the tin can in an upright position, the owner of the slipper becomes the new taya.
6 | Taguan
Taguan can be played both indoors and outdoors by at least 2 players.
The game is the Filipino version for hide and seek. What makes this game more exciting is it is typically played at sunset or during night time so it will be challenging for the it to find other players.
7 | Langit-Lupa
Langit-Lupa can be played both indoors and outdoors by at least 2 players.
Langit means heaven while lupa means earth. This is a game in which the it runs after the other players who are running on the ground (lupa). Those who remain on the ground can be tagged by the it and becomes the new it. Players who are standing on higher grounds are safe.
8 | Sipa
One of the traditional Filipino games is Sipa, an outdoor game played by at least two players.
Sipa, which means kick, is a game that requires a washer with plastic straw rope attached to it although rattan ball or a lead washer covered in cloth or plastic can also be used. The washer is tossed upwards for the player to toss using their foot and knee. The player must not let the washer touch the ground and the one with the most number of kicks is declared as the winner.
Sipa, which uses a rattan ball is called sepak takraw and was recognized as the Philippine National Sport until 2009.
9 | Dama
Dama can be played both indoors and outdoors by two players.
This is the local version of the game checkers. Chess board and pieces are typically used although paper and tansan (bottle crown) and small stones are popular alternatives too.
10 | Hand Clapping Games
Hand Clapping games can be played both indoors and outdoors by at least 2 people and in pairs.
The players do hand clapping routines while singing songs including Bahay Kubo, Leron-leron Sinta, Si Nena, and Nanay Tatay.
These games are an important part of Filipino culture so if you truly want an authentic Filipino experience, consider knowing these games.