Entertainment

10 Filipino Games and How to Play Them at Home

A ‘Living It!’ guide and a dose of nostalgia



If you, as a proud batang ‘80s or ‘90s, find yourself missing real-life interaction, here’s a refresher guide on Filipino games you can play with your friends and family.


Ask them to join in, revisit some of these classics—and remember what it’s like to get that spirit of friendly competition going in real life. Before scrolling through, though, remember that the list ahead is based on generally accepted game rules. Feel free to modify them according to your childhood gameplay, or to fit the number or ages of the participants.


Ready to play? Read ahead!



Tumbang-preso

Grab your slippers and a spare tin can. It’s tumbang-preso time: Choose a taya (the person who is “it” in the game). The taya in this game is tasked to guard the tin can located inside a circle drawn on the ground with chalk. The players then take turns using a slipper to try to hit the can from a designated starting line.


Once a slipper has been thrown, the player must cross over the starting line to try and get it back. The taya has a chance to tag a player once they retrieve their slipper. If the tag is successful, that player becomes the new “it.” If not, the player can get ready for a brand-new throw from behind the safety of the starting line. 


If a player knocks the can out of the circle, the taya must place it back inside before they can tag someone. Blocking thrown slippers isn’t allowed.


A man throwing a slipper.

Tumbang preso tests your aim, your speed, and your ability to dodge the person who is “it.” Photo: Shutterstock



Taguan

Hide and seek is great fun for all ages. Your home, familiar as it already is for you, can easily provide good and surprising hiding places, but you can play this game outdoors, too. For an added challenge, set geographic limits (within the bounds of your lot, for example). This works to also keep the game from dragging on too long.


A guy with closed eyes leans against a tree while the girl looking at the camera with quiet sign.

‘Taguan’ is where players can get creative about where they hide and how. Photo: Shutterstock



Agawan Base

Are you looking for a fun game that doubles as cardio? To start, form two teams. Each one should have a base guard, while the other members are tasked with tagging opponents or reaching the enemy base. If a person gets tagged, they serve as a captive of the opposing team.


You can free captives when you reach the enemy base. Your team wins if you make it to your opponent’s base uncaptured.



Jolen/Holen

Among these 10 Filipino games, jolen (holen) sets itself apart as it requires specific equipment: marbles. This one-on-one game is where you and your opponent choose a “shooter” marble. The rest are grouped and placed in a circle. To note: opponents must have the same number of marbles. 


You and the other player will then take turns using your “shooter” to hit the other’s camp. If you send one out of the circle, the marble becomes yours.


Two boys with marbles aim at more marbles within a drawn circle.

‘Jolen’ or ‘Holen’ is an easy but fun marble game. Photo: Shutterstock



Doctor Kwak Kwak

Choose the “doctor” among the set of players. The doctor must turn away as the rest of the players join hands. With their hands linked, they must entangle themselves in the most confusing and complicated way possible. When all limbs are sufficiently twisted, the group must call upon “Doctor Kwak Kwak” to disassemble them. 


The doctor has to untangle the group while keeping the hands intact. Once done, the doctor must break the chain. The group members then get to run away; whomever the doctor catches first will be the new “it.”


Friends with tangled arms.

Image caption: Doctor ‘Kwak Kwak’ is yet another in-person Filipino game that can get physically challenging. Photo: Shutterstock



Jack en Poy/Bato, Bato, Pick

These are both local versions of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The main difference between these two is the number of times you shake your fist. With Jack en Poy, the count is nine times, where a player reveals their final choice during the 10th shake. Bato, Bato, Pick, on the other hand, requires you to show your choice on the third.


Two people play Bato, Bato, Pick while two more people watch.

‘Bato, Bato, Pick’ and ‘Jack en Poy’ are variations on the same fun theme. Photo: Shutterstock



Langit Lupa

Langit-lupa is fun and frenetic. You can play it outdoors or on a couch (assuming you clear all valuables and fragile items in the area). The premise is simple: One person is the taya, while the others are players who must stand on an elevated surface, like a chair or table. The taya then chants these lyrics:


Langit, lupa impyerno

Im - im - impyerno

Saksak puso tulo ang dugo

Patay, buhay, umalis ka na sa pwesto mo!


When the song ends, the players must descend to the ground and find a new elevated surface to stand on. Anyone caught by the taya while on lupa will be the new “it.”



Luksong Tinik

Luksong tinik requires two teams. Each team has the anak (child) and nanay (high jumper). Before starting, two team members (the base) will sit on the ground with their soles touching. The others must jump over their feet without any of their body parts touching. 


If a player completes a jump successfully, the base must place a splayed hand on top of their toes, and the jumping will then repeat. If there are no incidents, the base members must add a second hand, and so on.


If a jumper makes contact, the nanay must clear the jump successfully to continue their streak. If they fail, the other team gets a turn.



Patintero

Patintero is probably one of the most popular of these 10 Filipino games. It’s perfect for big groups, where players must be divided into two equal teams: one will be the guards while the other will be the passers.


This game requires space, so make sure to do it outdoors. Draw horizontal lines on the ground to get started. The guards will then defend these lines as the passers try to run through without getting tagged. A player who gets through all the guards earns a point for their team. On the other hand, anyone caught must sit out for the rest of the match. 


The two teams will switch positions after every round.



Sipa

Sipa is a game you can play solo or with a competitor. The rules are simple: Get a sipa (a metal washer with plastic straws) or a rattan ball and bounce this off the side of your foot without letting it hit the ground. The person who scores the most points wins. 


A man bounces a ball on the inner side of his foot.

You can play sipa with pretty much any small object. Photo: Shutterstock



Filipino Games: The Aftermath

After a fun trip down memory lane, take it easy and enjoy a more relaxed time with your family and friends. For the ultimate bonding session, you can kick back, relax, and stream music or movies. For this, use GFiber to ensure a smooth connection that will make all these hassle-free.


A group of friends hanging out.

Relax together after some fiery physical competition. Photo: Shutterstock



Make even offline experiences like playing games IRL so much sweeter with the right resources by your side. Gain access to these and so much more on Living It! by becoming a Globe Postpaid subscriber.


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Art Matthew Fetalver

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