We know it's the digital age and all, but let's take a moment to move away from our screens and remember how much fun we had being outside! It seems so long ago when we last saw our neighborhood kids playing outside, right? It was probably our generation that was the last...
Now we see most kids in restaurants holding tablets or when you drive by schools, you see their faces plastered on their phones. Them young ones really don't want much to do with getting all active and sweaty outside—life as they know it is the internet. And the internet. And the internet.
I still remember the feeling of excitement going home because I can ring the doorbells of my friends' houses inviting them to come out and play, and the feeling of “sadness” to be called to go home because it was getting dark.
Here’s a throwback refresher to some of the fun games we played, that we should definitely be schooling the next generation about so they don't miss out on the bliss that playing outside brings:
1. Patintero. The thrill of getting away from the guards and crossing borders was the best!
This game consists of two teams with equal number of team members. With lines drawn on the ground, the defensive (guards) team must not let the offensive (runners) team move forward by tagging them without stepping out of the lines. Each team takes turns to be runners and guards.
2. Piko. One or more players could play this game. It definitely developed my balance!
Piko is our local version of hopscotch. Using chalk or charcoal, we draw boxes with levels starting from number one up to 10 (sometimes eight or 12). Then each player has their own marker that they throw within the box of each level. Where their marker sits, they must not step within that box and move to the next step up until all the way to the end. When the player is on his way back home, he must pick up his marker, then proceed to the next level.
3. Langit Lupa. The rush of having to find a “langit” every time and getting away from the "it" in time brought a lot of smiles and laughter!
With having one "it"/"taya", runners must run for an elevated base each time. But the "it" may only tag a runner who is running on the ground. Whoever gets tagged while on the ground becomes the new "it".
4. Agawan Base. Close to Langit Lupa, the pressure of having to reach a base in time just always gets you!
The "it" stands in the middle of the field with each runner having a secured base in each corner. The runners must move across each base while the "it" races to secure a vacant base for him. The last man to secure base becomes the new "it".
5. Luksong Baka. I love how this game does not require a lot of people. You also don't need a big space!
The players jump over a crouching player, with the crouching player gradually standing up a level higher until he is fully erected. A player becomes an "it" but hitting the crouching player as he leaps. He then becomes the new “baka” (lukso = jump, baka = cow, since the "it" mimics the posture of a cow).
6. Tumbang Preso. One of my favorites, aside from running fast, it requires you to aim accurately for the target!
Tumbang Preso is one the most popular Filipino games. The "it" is guarding a can with his slipper on top, and the other players must knock his slipper off the can. The "it" can only tag a player when his tin is not it its upright position. The knocking down of the can is a way for the other players to recover and go back to base without being tagged easily.
7. Chinese Garter. This game definitely requires skill. Aside from jumping, you have to be creative by doing cartwheels to reach the highest level.
With two players holding each side of the garter stretched, players must cross off the other side without tripping on the garter. The garter gradually goes higher as the games/levels progresses.
8. Pepsi 7-Up. It was suspense for both the "it" and the runners. You wouldn’t know as an "it" when to attack!
The "it" stands facing opposite the runners. The players move forward to the "it" when he says “Pepsi” and freezes when the "it" says “7-Up”. The "it" may only run after the players if he is tapped on his shoulder. The players must run back to the base as fast as they could without being tagged.
9. Tagu-Taguan. This for sure helps in teaching patience! The anticipation of being seen or the eagerness to find someone brings out the best or sometimes worst in people, don't you think?
Our Filipino version of hide and seek, with originally having a song to be sung by the "it" before he can find those hiding. Some just count up to a certain number to give time for the players to hide.
10. Touch-Taya. This game is the most basic yet not the least fun! The joy of running freely as a child is just priceless! You definitely feel the gigil as the "it".
The most basic of all, this is our Filipino version of Tag You’re It. You have one "it" whose goal is to run after players to tag one as the "it" ("taya").
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Illustrations by Jana Maureen Jimenez