How Our Favorite Filipino Street Games Shaped Our Adulthood
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, August 17, 2020 4:39pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
Millennials’ childhood was awesome—we get to see the evolution of technology, all the while enjoying playtime with friends outside. Our after-school games shaped our amazing pre-adolescent years, giving us the nostalgia we experience now. But apart from memories, these games also gave us a sense of teamwork and other values we probably have forgotten. Let’s take a look back at the values our Filipino childhood street games taught us.
“Life is a series of twists and turns.”
The “it” in Dr. Quack Quack must figure out how to untangle a human knot. When the “it” figures out how to do so, the playmates will start running to avoid being tagged. If you won’t be able to tag someone, you’re it once again. Isn’t life just about the same? You think you made your way through the tangles, but once you’ve figured it out, life will give you another plot twist. Exciting.
“Our society’s social hierarchy is real.”
One person stays on ground (lupa) while the others are at elevated areas (langit). If you are tagged when you stepped on lupa, you should run to avoid the “it”—the villain in the game. It reminds us of how we see some lower-class people as the villains, when in fact, they are also victims of the society’s system.
“Strategy is key.”
Patintero is composed of two teams. The objective of the other team is to run through all the lines of the rival group without being tagged. Factors for winning include swift movements and a good strategy. In life, although being spontaneous is fun, we also need to have concrete plans, especially when it concerns our future.
“You don’t need to figure out things all at once.”
When you’re it, you have the duty to find all of your playmates. If you can find them all at first sight, then great. But it’s also okay if you can only find them one by one. Don’t be pressured about figuring out your life all at once. Baby steps are still counted as progress.
“It’s okay to seek help.”
If you can’t reach the leg level when playing Chinese Garter, you always have a “Mother” who can save you. That said, you don’t have to do everything on your own. Sure, it’s great that you learn how to be independent, but also know when to ask for help from the people you trust.
“You can always try again.”
Don’t you just hate it when your pato goes out of the hopscotch line? Or when you can’t balance yourself on one foot, resulting in a fall? But the beauty about piko is when you fail once, you can always stand up, take your pamato, and try again.
“Life goes on even if the world throws its worst.”
Tumbang Preso involves the participants throwing slippers towards a milk can until it is knocked over. The “it” then will put the can back where it was before tagging other players. In this case, you are neither the “it” or a thrower. You are the can. And no matter how many times you’ve been knocked down, there will be a circumstance that will put you back up. And the process goes.
You see, these games bring more than just nostalgia. The lessons it brought contributed to how we deal with life, especially now that we’re adults. Although sometimes, we just wish to go back and play on the streets with friends again, we can still carry because these games made us tougher than we thought.