Filipino Childhood Game Chants

We Used to Sing

Along With Friends

by Shara Mae Balce, May 10, 2019 1:25pm

Art by Allen Mirambel


Filipino Childhood Game Chants We Used to Sing Along With Friends

by Shara Mae Balce, May 10, 2019 1:25pm
Art by Allen Mirambel

One of the best parts of growing up in the 90s is enjoying old-school yard games on a lazy afternoon. Aside from Chinese garter and classic piko (hopscotch) games, our imagination was our greatest form of entertainment to past time by. We’ve also grown up with sick rhymes from clap games to keep us busy or even an excuse to skip siesta or an afternoon nap.

It’s time to bring on pure nostalgia with some of the childhood game chants played before technology came in the picture.

Langit lupa impyerno, im-im-impyerno. Saksak puso tulo ang dugo, patay, buhay. Umalis ka diyan sa pwesto mo.

For a children’s game, this “tag game” sounds brutal. The game starts with a designated player singing the chant while pointing to each one to every syllable of the song. The last tagged player will be the “it” and will chase after players after the chant. Players are considered safe when they get to an elevated area considered as “langit”. The tagging continues until someone becomes new “it” or if everyone gets exhausted—sometimes it’s until one gets called by their moms to go home.

I Wanna Be A Tutubi
I wanna be a tutubi na walang tinatagong bato sa aking kamay na nahulog sa lupa tinuka ng manok, na nanggaling pa sa bundok.

The pretty chill game is best with a large group. I Wanna Be a Tutubi literally translates to “I want to be a dragonfly.” The players form a circle while singing the chant while passing around a pebble (bato) concealed from the “it.” The “it” has to guess who holds the pebble by the end of the chant—if he guesses it right, he joins the group and will be replaced by the one holding the pebble. If not, another round of the chant will take place.

Sarah Prinsesa
Sarah, Sarah prinsesa. Lavinia, Lavinia inggetera. Lottie, Lottie iyakin. Emengard, Emengard sumbungin. Miss Amelia, takot sa pusa. Miss Minchin, mukhang pera!

Inspired by the Japanese animated series Princess Sarah, the chant is used as a longer intro to a game of jack en poy, a Filipino version of rock-paper-scissors. In this chant, the casts of Princess Sarah are being described based on their roles in the series aired in Filipino television. Most of the 90s kids can surely relate to this chant as they grew up watching the series.

Chimpoy Champoy
Chimpoy, champoy dose kaliwa. Dose kali-bebe, dose kaliwa. Dose kali-oink oink, dose kaliwa. Dose kali-amen, dose kaliwa.

There are no documents as to what the lyrics really mean but we all know how it is played. "Chimpoy Champoy" is another playful take on rock-paper-scissors. but all we know is you do the “bebe” if you lose, “oink-oink” if you had the same gestures, and “amen” if you lose.

Nanay, tatay, gusto ko’ng tinapay, ate, kuya, gusto ko’ng kape. Lahat ng gusto ko ay susundin mo. Siyang magkamali ay pipingutin ko.

Most children who grew up in the Philippines know this song for sure. This popular chant when literally translated is about asking for a piece of bread to your parents while bossing your siblings around. It’s a hand-clapping game played by two people that ends with the chant of counting. If you failed to keep up with the clap that corresponds with the number counted, you lose. The winner will pinch you or give a consequence.

Tagu-taguan, maliwanag ang buwan, masarap maglaro sa dilim-diliman. Wala sa likod, wala sa harap. Pagkabilang ko’ng sampu, nakatago na kayo. Isa… dalawa…tatlo…

This game is a Filipino chant to hide-and-seek. Although the chant suggests the game is played under the bright moonlight, the game can be played anytime of the day. The taya will count from one to 10 after singing chant from the base out loud, while the other players hide. The “it” has to locate all concealed the players and players would race to the home base before they get tagged by the “it.” The player who was tagged out before reaching the base becomes the next “it.”

Chiki Chiki Bum
Chiki chiki bum is a bubble gum. Masarap ito at malinamnam. Bumili kayo sa tindahan. Chiki chiki bum is a bubble gum!

Another hand-clapping game that is best understood than explained. This game played by two players hinging each other’s hands back and forth while singing the chant. It is usually done with a twist—folding one finger every round until you end up using your fists—some even go as far as using elbows or feet.

Do you still remember any of these games and their chants? Test your memory and skills with your friends and relieve these theme songs of your childhood!


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