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7 most popular Philippine games for kids

How many children do you see playing on the streets, running and screaming around during summer? That looks like a distant memory nowadays as most kids opt to stay inside their houses or in internet cafes to play on computers and tablets. Long gone are the days wherein kids are the life of the neighborhood.


Magna Kultura, a Philippine based NGO believes that children should continue playing traditional Filipino games. Not only to preserve our cultural heritage, but also to develop their mind, body and character.

Why is Larong Pinoy important?

Many relevant studies show that playing outdoors is more beneficial for kids compared to playing with computer games. Children who spend more time with gadgets tend to be more laid back, lazy, insecure, lacking in social skills and difficulty in accepting defeat.  Children who are more physically active, on the other hand, have improved physical and motor skills, they are able to develop strategic logic and adapt well to their environment. They also learn the value of cooperation and teamwork.

Here are some of the most popular Philippine Games for kids:

1.      Sipa – A ‘sipa’ is made of washer with colorful threads attached to it. Two or more kids could play this game. The objective of the game is simple. One has to toss the sipaupwards and kick it several times with his foot, elbows or head and make sure that the sipa does not fall onto the ground. The player who has the most number of kicks wins the game. Sipa is also called ‘Sepak Takraw’ and it is our ‘Pambansang Laro.’

2.      Luksong Tinik – four or more participants are needed to play this game. The players are divided into two teams with equal number of members. The two teams need to assign a ‘nanay’ for each team. The other players will be the ‘anak’. The ‘nanay’ of each team are supposed to be the high jumpers.  A slipper toss will decide who play first. The ‘nanay’ and her ‘mga anak’ will jump one by one on obstacles assembled by the other team. If the ‘anak’ makes a fault and touches the obstacle, the ‘nanay’ will jump for the ‘anak’ to save her. If the ‘nanay’ also touches the obstacle, the jumping team will lose and the other team with take their chance.

3.      Tumbang Preso – This popular street game requires three or more players. Each player is given a ‘pamato’, which they will use to strike a flattened empty tin can.  The tin can will be placed in an upright position and will be guarded by a ‘taya’. The other players will aim to strike the tin can while the ‘taya’ is guarding it. The ‘taya’ could freely tag any player who comes near the tin can as long as the tin can is still in an upright position. When the ‘taya’ tags a player, the tagged player automatically becomes the ‘taya’. In the event that one of the players is able to strike the tin can, the ‘taya’ should immediately put the tin can in an upright position before he could tag the players again.

4.      Patintero – Six to eight players are needed to play this fun, outdoor game. After dividing the players into equal teams. Participants need to draw a rectangular playing field on the ground which is usually five to six meters and is divided into four equal parts. A coin toss will determine who among the teams will run or will be tagged. The objective of the runners is to run back and forth the lines without being tagged by the other team. When a runner is able to cross back and forth from point A to point B without being tagged, the running teams will earn one point.  If a runner gets tagged, the teams will change places and the other team will have the opportunity to score. The first team to win three consecutive points wins.

5.      Tsato – Tsato can be played by two or more players wherein each player has one flat stick and a one short flat piece of wood. A small square hole is dug and the short flat piece of wood will be placed on it. Player A needs to hit the wood up in the air and hit it as far as he can with his other stick. The farther the distance of the wood (the number of stick length is the usual gauge on the distance of the wood from its starting point), the more points for the player. If player B catchers the wood of Player A after he hits his wood, the points for that hit is not counted.

6.      Agawan base -This is an all-time favorite game among children. There are two teams with two opposite bases. The goal is to tag the players of the other team without being tagged. Players will merely run around trying to bait themselves for the other team, while other teammates will try to tag those who will run after them.  If a player is tagged, he will become the prisoner of the other team and he could only be rescued if the prisoner’s teammates are able to tag their opponent’s base. The team that can tag the other team’s base will win.

7.      Ten-twenty – This game could be played by four or more players by using a stretched garter. A pair needs to face each other from a distance and stretch the garter around them. The member of the other pair will be the jumpers and will need to do a jumping ‘routine’ over the garter. The garter will start around the ankles of the other pair and will progress to knee height, then around the armpit.  The aim is to perfect the jumping routine.

It is the duty of parents to expose their kids to real, physical games and not limit them to the comforts of their electronic gadgets.  By playing Filipino games, children educated with the importance of Filipino culture and they are also able to bond and have fun with their parents, siblings and playmates this summer.

by Tanya Jamon-Navarro, as originally posted at Nasaan na ang mga larong pambata? at the Philippine Online Chronicles

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