Philippine Traditional Games

In a festival celebration in Batangas, the traditional games or palaro ng lahi was one event that caught my attention.

With the new generation now, hardly can you find kids playing indigenous Philippine games like patintero, palo-sebo, kadang-kadang and karera sa sako.

What is exciting with this kind of activity is for the youth to have a chance to play games that their parents used to play. While most of the children today, do not have any idea on how these indigenous games are played.

And look at what most children are playing now! Hand held gadgets like the PSP. Or, seat in front of a computer all day playing internet games. This is the result of what technology has done to the new generation. Gone are the days when you see a child play at the field.

With the reintroduction of the palaro in Batangas, the young batangueños are given the opportunity to play and learn aboriginal sports, which their ancestors play during their time. And, it would be great if they can pass it on, to the coming generations.

Here are some of the Philippine traditional games, which are normally played during fiestas and festivals. Games are usually played in tuklong (chapel) during barrio fiesta, while at town fiesta it is usually held at the town’s municipal grounds.

Palo-Sebo – Oil is spread on long smooth bamboo poles to make it slippery on an upright position. The objective of the game is for the contestants to reach the topmost part of the bamboo pole. Participants who reach the top are given corresponding prizes.

Habulan ng Baboy (chase and catch the pig) – A very exciting game to watch. A small pig is set loose in a confined area, participants chase and catch the pig. The contestant who is successful in catching the pig wins, and the reward is the pig itself.

Karera ng Sako (sack race) – Two teams race each other using a sack around a designated area. All team members must go around the designated area with their feet inside the sack in order. The team who completes the round in order wins the race.

Paluan ng Palayok (hit the earthen pot) – Earthen pots are filed with candies, coins, and small toys and hanged. Every player is blind folded and the facilitator will turn him in his position three times. The player is given a wooden stick to try and hit the pot. The successful contestant who breaks the clay pot is given a special prize, while other children join to grab the candies, coins and toys.

Agawan ng buko (grab the coconut) – Oil is spread at the coconut fruit to make it hard for the players to hold on it. While all the players try to get hold on the coconut, the one who totally gets hold of the coconut wins game.

Kadang-Kadang (stilt race) – The participants’ race using a wooden (usually made of bamboo) stilt with footrests from a starting line to the finish line. The usual distance of the race is 50 meters.

Culliot (tug of war) – The objective of the game is to pull the rival team over the borderline. A rope is used and tied on their waist for both teams to pull to show which squad has more strength.

Dinoron – A team game similar to tug of war. Instead of a rope, a bamboo pole is used. And instead of pulling the opponent, the players push the bamboo pole to the side of the adversary.

Patintero – The game is started by marking the playing field with a rectangular form and split into even parts or bases. Players are divided into two squads of the same number. A toss coin determines who will be the passer or the guard. The winner of course becomes the passer. The guards secure the base and try to tag the passer without stepping of the line. While the passer has to move across all the bases to score a point. But, if the passer is tagged, it will be their turn to be guards.

Hopefully, community members hold similar activities together with school officials in Batangas to further promote Philippine traditional games. And for parents, to introduce their children to indigenous games for them to engage in physical activities to make them healthier.

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