Classic Filipino Games Revisited

Thursday, June 09, 2011

A few years back, I did a piece on why the older, more traditional games are better than the cheap, made-in-fucking-china alternatives that are being shoved down our throats by cartoons. Granted that you did not grow up in a sheltered environment like the Manila Juvenile Correction Center, you probably know that we're just scratching the surface as far as games go. Here are some more traditional Filipino games that are worth mentioning, focusing on games that don't need anything to play other than friends.

1. Cops and Robbers/Agawan Base
The two games are somewhat similar, in the way Robin Hood and Expresident Arroyo are similar in that they have the same mechanics (rob the rich blind) but have different end goals (the former gives back to the poor, the latter robs the poor blind afterwards). Each team has two bases. In Cops and Robbers, the cop team get to catch robbers who leave their base, while the robbers try to free their caught bretheren by reaching the cop base without getting tagged. Why the robbers would want to venture out of their base at the start of the game in the first place is beyond me. It must be a kid thing. In agawan base, both teams are cops AND robbers, with the person who left his base later having the power of a "cop". This usually leads in disputes as to who left the base last, but is quickly settled with a nice, clandestine punch in the gut. A game that has more than 15 people in each team is the best kind, specially when 12 people are already caught and then somebody tags the enemy base and causes a jailbreak. Absolute. F'ing. Chaos. Just the way we liked it.

2. Luksong Tinik
This game tests the ability of kids to jump as high as they can, by leaping over the hands and feet of a player placed vertically on the ground, on top of the other. First person who trips replaces the guy who is risking breaking his fingers and toes so the others have something to jump over. Last person who trips is usually the guy who jumps shittily enough to crash on top of the unfortunate limbs. As the person who needs to provide the "obstacles" need to use both is feet as well, that person will have to do it sitting on the ground, and everybody agrees this is a very shitty game to play outdoors during the rainy season.

3. Luksong Baka
This version of the leaping game solves the risk having your fingers trampled by your overgrown classmate who probably shaves twice a week, and replaces it with the issue of having your spine broken when somebody the equivalent of the national animal of burden leaps over you and plants his hands on your arched back. Arguably harder than Luksong Tinik due to the higher obstacles set, luksong baka also features different types of "asshole" tricks such as deliberately burying your fingernails on the back of the obstacle or just fucking ramming the shit out of the poor guy. As with luksong tinik, first guy who fails to vault replaces the obstacle.

4. Patintero
Admittedly, Patintero does require drawing/vandalism implements to draw the lines where the defending team can stay at, but then again, that'd be underestimating the creativity of really bored children. Here are some of the line-drawing substitutes I've seen through out the years:

- Broken plant pot shard
- Yarn
- Water drawn using a coke liter bottle
- Fat crayons
- Virgin blood [disputed]

Depending on how the lines are drawn, they can either start disappearing before even the first round ends (see water-based lines), or they can be so hard to remove. Some of the lines drawn by Rajah Sulayman as a kid are so well drawn, they're probably still visible today, to baffle our archeologists. (Headline: Ancient Filipinos had minature parking lots) Patintero is a lot like boxing, understandably always in favor of the faster player a with longer reach. Also, this has got to be one of the best Filipino sports to bring in the trashtalking. Since you're going to be facing your opponent face to face within barely an arms reach, anything you'll say will be on a personal level - and unlike the game of Trumpo, the opponent will not be holding a sharp rusting nail in his hand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice review out there. I've end up reading this blog after i've seen your prontera theme in english and then i realize playing this game is actually worth it than sitting in front of the monitor the whole day wishing your character leveled-up in one day :)


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