Monday, January 3, 2011

Piko: Hopscotch

Piko is often a girls' game but even boys enjoy it. Piko or hopscotch is very popular in the Philippines. You can use chalk or charcoal to write the boxes on the ground. If it is on soil, you can use a stick to create the boxes. Boxes are either 8, 10 or 12 and their steps (whether 1 or 2) may vary. A child can play this alone but it is usually much more fun if you have several playmates to play with you.

To begin, create boxes that should look like this, numbered 1 to 10.

Then find a puck - could be a smooth stone or a rounded tile that you can use as your marker. Each player has their own individual markers or pucks. Nice stones, a smoothened terra cotta or piece from a broken pottery, it has to be heavy enough to stay when thrown but flat enough to get the right balance so you can throw it easily to where you want it to land (onto which box and/or number).

You begin with the puck at number one. If your puck is in box 1, you skip that box and jump to box number two using only one leg. You can only land with both feet in each box at numbers 4 and 5 and also on numbers 8 and 9. When you reach box ten, you can pivot so you can skip back down to box number 2, thne you pick up your puck by bending and keeping one leg up and jump out of the boxes on both feet.

Now you throw your puck and make sure it lands on box 2. Start with one foot in box 1, skip box 2 where your puck is, using the same leg, land your foot on box 3 and continue up to box 10. Pivot and go back down, at box 3, bend to pick up your puck on box 2, since box 2 is empty, you can now jump into it down to box 1 and out of the boxes.

Players take turns throwing their pucks starting at number 1. If you didn't throw your puck on the correct box, you miss your turn and will have a chance after all the other players have finished their turns.

What do you learn?
From this game, you learn the early counting, balance and how to aim for something using your hands, arms and fingers. You gauge the weight of your puck and throw it with just the right force. You learn to strengthen your knees as you put your weight on one leg and bend down to retrieve your puck. You also learn patience as you wait for your turn.

Other Variations
Aside from this, a variation is once you reach 10 - your puck is on the 10th box/space - you pick it up and land on both feet at box 10. Then without looking, you throw your puck making sure it lands inside the square of a numbered box (not on the lines). Then you pivot and skip and retrieve your puck in the usual way and finish skipping down to box 1.

I have spent many lazy afternoons and weekends playing this and have even taught this game to my own daughter. I've realised that any age can play this game too! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jack 'en Poy (rock, paper, scissors) or Janken Pon

Memorise this: “Jack en Poy, hali-hali hoy!; sinong matalo, siya’ng unggoy!

What does it mean? Well Jack and Poy are obviously names. Hali-hali hoy! is like an expression calling them towards the speaker. Hali ka, means come here. Hoy! is one effective way of calling a Filipino’s attention...similar to “Hey!

Perhaps the person is calling both Jack and Poy to come play with him. The last statement: “Sino’ng matalo, siya’ng unggoy!” is a tease that whoever will lose is the monkey...of the monkey’s the loser.

While saying this rhyme, children do rock, papers, scissors. First with the beat they put their right hand, formed into a fist, pointed towards each other, and continue to do so, along with the beat until the last one, where they spread and reveal whether they will use rock, paper or scissor as their “hand”. The loser eventually is the unggoy.

This is used as preliminary elimination for most Filipino children’s games, along with “Maalis, alis” and even without another game to play, this alone can provide hours of amusing fun for kids who can be creative and change the bits i.e. “sinong matalo kakain ng champoy” (whoever loses will eat champoy). Champoy is a Chinese sweet that is also a favorite Filipino candy.

It is noteworthy to add that the Japanese have a very similar (though more complicated, with more hand formations; click title to get to the link) hand game. In Japan, hand games are called Ken asobi. This particular game is called Jaken Pon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I don't know how to translate this into English but the Tagalog name of this famous and well-loved Filipino game is "Patintero" in Hiligaynon (Ilonggo) and Sugbuhanon (Cebuano) it is called "Tubiganay".

Perhaps the Tagalog name came from a Spanish word "tinte" meaning "tint" refering to the lines. I can see why the Visayas region dwellers call it "tubiganay" because in the dusty fields where it is being played, oftentimes, water is used to make the lines that is crucial to holding this game.

I recall breezy, moonlit nights of fun playing patintero under the light of Third World lamposts and the moon with my friends. Another variation is on hot, lazy summer afternoons, a few pails of water on a dusty patch of land, add a few neigborhood kids and you’ve got stiff competition going on! Patintero is a game of speed, agility, team work and being able to bluff.

What you need: even ground that you can write on using chalk or charcoal, or a patch of land that you can create lines using water or mark using a pointer stick. Some soil is really dark and loamy and instead of adding water or writing with chalk which would easily get unnoticed, you can use a stick to make shallow grooves in the soil for your lines.

Players: minimum number of 4 - 6 children, more would mean more fun!

The paying field:

On smooth cemented or asphalt ground, use chalk or, if the ground has a ligth-gray color, charcoal to draw a lines like below:

If there are more players, you must add more lines. The more lines you have, the more difficult (takes longer to finish) but the more exciting the game!

The Game:

Players make up two teams of even number (i.e. 2 against 2 or 3 against 3) They can use “maalis-alis” to make the groupings (see previous blog on “Maalis, alis”). Then team leaders can use Jack en Poy to decide who will play first. (Note: Jack en Poy in my next blog).

The winning team gets to run first while the losing team gets to guard the lines. The team leader is on the first line and he has the “power” to also run along the middle line to catch an opponent.

The running team use all speed and bluffing strategies to get through the lines and back earning them a total points relative to how many players were able to enter the lines and come back to the starting point.

When one member of the running team is tagged, then the runners now become the line guards and the guards now take turn as runners.

This game can takes hours of fun and good exercise for the young and even the young-at-heart.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Luksong Tinik (Jumping Over Thorns)

Luksong Tinik (Jumping Over Thorns)
Minimum number of players: usually 3 but 2 can also work (more players is usually much more fun!)

Equipment required: a grassy field with lots of room to run and tumble

First children decide among themselves who will play first and who will be the two who will act as the “thorns” in the game. Thorns have a very important as well as difficult task in the game. Jumpers take turns passing the levels. The jumpers form a queue and the thorns take their position.

The “thorns” (A & B) sit, facing each other with the soles of their feet touching. This is the first level that jumpers must successfully jump through without touching any of their body parts with those of the thorns’ body parts.

Next level the two thorns must adjust their distance a bit towards each other so they can comfortably and successfully create level 2, where one of “thorn A’s” foot is used as base, and another of “thorn B’s” foot as the second level above the base.

Then it is thorn A’s foot as base, thorn B’s foot as second layer of base then thorn A’s other foot as 3rd level.

Then is is both A and B’s feet alternating to create level 4. Then it is all four feet plus thorn A’s hand: Level 5. A & B’s feet and one hand each: Level 6. A& B’s feet and two of A’s hands and B’s one hand: Level 7. Finally Level 8 has all four hands and feet alternating.

Successful jumpers are cleared and pass on to the next level. The group decides how many tries will be given for each attempt. For example, you get one more try. So if you were unsuccessful the first attempt, you step aside and wait till everyone has their turn jumping over the “thorns”.

After this, all the unsuccessful ones take their second attempt. If you still did not clear that level, you are out of the game and spend the remaining time watching the rest of the kids complete all the rounds. Then you are candidate for the thorns so that the thorns of the current game can take their turn as jumpers in the next game.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Variations of the name
: chato/chatong, shatung

Number of players: 2 teams with at least two players

Equipment needed: lots of open space, preferably land so you can dig an elongated shallow hole that you need in order for your team to score the 'shatong points' (you’ll see later how this works) and two pieces of stick about an inch in diameter one long, about a foot and the other short, about half a feet.

First, you (including your opponents) must create a shallow furrow on the ground, where you can do this (see image):

Now that everything is set up and the first to play has been decided, this is how the game is played.

Each team member takes turn. The first one hurls the short stick off the furrow using the longer stick. Now he/she must be careful that the opposing team does not catch the short stick. If the other team catches is, the current team loses their turn and the opposing team takes their turn to hurl/launch the short stick.

Now if “shorty” (the shorter stick) gets hurled with none of the opposing team catching it, all the members of the hurling team will go to the drop site (the exact point where shorty fell).

From here, except for the person who hurled shorty, (so if it’s a two-man team, only one will do this) will have to run up to the furrow shouting “shatoooooooooooooooo!” The opponents will be with you all the way to make sure you did not lose your breath or stop saying the “magic word”. If you failed to reach the furrow and ran out of breath and stopped, the opposing team takes their turn to hurl, and no points are made.

If you are successful, then you partner (the one who hurled shorty) gets to count the distance from the drop point up to the furrow using the longer stick (known here are “LS”).

See image below as example:

If the hurler hits shorty with LS as he launches shorty off to open space, and the “shato” runners don’t lose their breaths; then the count is using LS X 2. If the hurler launches shorty and hits is twice before it goes off to its drop point, then instead of LS, shorty is used to count the distance from the drop point to the furrow (making the score much higher).

If the hurler hits shorty three times before it drops, then not only is shorty used to measure the distance from drop point to furrow, but also the count is increased to threes!

Teams note their scores and the team with the highest points wins the game.

What children learn:
- play as a team; take turns
- good math practice, counting in 2s, 3s
- free exercise that is also lots of fun
- fresh air, love for nature and the earth
- some pretty mean “batting” skills (hitting ‘shorty’ is not that easy!)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Stealing Bases (Agawan Base)

English: Stealing Bases
Filipino: Agawan Base

Equipment: markers to be used as the base, 2 pcs. (you can use two trees or two slippers or two chairs as your bases)
Number of players: minimum 4, two in each team (more players for more fun recommended) Minimum age: 5 years old

Mechanics: There are two bases, each base has equal number of members. There will be one person assigned to guard the base. The others may leave the base to run and try to catch another members of the other team or to try to steal the opponent's base. If you touch the base of your opponent first, before members of that team tag you, you steal their base and your team wins.
Another main goal is to catch as many of the opponents as your team can. A captive opponent becomes a prisoner and stands on the captor’s base until a member of his own team saves him by touching/tagging him. Once he is tagged and “saved”, the prisoner is freed and goes back to his base.
The game can be as small-scale as teams just facing each other and trying to tap the opponents to catch them or as large as team members hiding and strategising whom to catch first – for example, the weakest links or the slowest runners. If there are no more members at large, meaning all opponents have been captured, all members of the stronger team will have to try and get the base from the “guard” by tagging it. The one left must try not to leave the base lest it be overtaken by the opponents. In this case, the stronger team wins.

What do you learn from this game?
1. Speed and agility, not getting caught by the other group.
2. Loyalty, save the captured members of your group; no one gets left behind
3. Tenacity, if at first you don't succeed...try and try again
4. Sportsmanship, win or lose you accept both with good humour, at least everyone had a lot of fun!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Games of my Childhood: Maalis-alis

Tagalog: Maalis, alis
Ilonggo: Kaya, kulob
English: Palms up/Palms down grouping or elimination process

I promised to blog about this in my previous post and this is simply a game of elimination - to find out which kids will play in one team or who will be the "it" for a game that is just starting.

So everyone forms a circle and puts their right hand out in the center, palm facing down. When everyone has put in their hand, all will say "maalis, alis!" or in English it means, "Whoever will be out, will be out."

While saying (more like shouting) this, you decide whether you will keep your hands palm up or down. Then everyone looks at the palms up or down and those that have the least number will continue to do it until only one is left. The one left will be the it.

For example there are 8 players. All 8 kids will put out their hands. Then they say, "maalis, alis!" Say 5 had their palms up and 3 had their palms down. The 5 will be safe and leave the circle. The 3 will continue to put out their hands, say "maalis, alis" and decide whether they want plams up or down. When there is one left that is different from the rest, that person is the "it". No complaints, no arguments. Simple process of elimination.

This method is also used for deciding on groupings. Say eight children again want to play a game that needs 2 groups of four. Everyone will do the "maalis, alis" method (MAM) and those who have palms down will be one group and those who have palms up will be another. If there is unequal numbers; say there were 5 palms up and 3 palms down, the group with the lesser number will decide who they want to be in their group from the group with more members. Again once decided, no questions, no arguments, the game begins!

What children learn:

1. You get to be a member of any group depending on how your hands fall
2. No matter how small or big you are, everyone gets to play the elimination round
3. You learn to work well with whatever team you were dealt with or not win the game at all
4. Eventually everyone gets to be part of a team and gets a chance to play.
5. Listen to your gut feel and follow it - but if you changed palms, no regrets; you still get to play the games!

About Me

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J'ai deux coeur, ma mari et ma fille. Prefere la theatro y la cinema y tambien leer muchos livros. Mahilig din akong makinig sa mga tugtuging Pilipino at mga kakaiba tulad na freestyle na jazz. Shu fi aqel elyaum? Tabemashyooo!!! Hai, so desu. Amo gid na ya ang nanami-an ko himuon, ang magsige-kaon!!! Mau lagi nga ingon ani ko kay sige lang ug luto akong bana.