Pabitin is a popular game usually played in birthday parties and town fiestas. It involves a lattice of bamboo sticks (called a balag) suspended in the air with string. The lattice is strung with plastic bags willed with small toys, snacks, sweets or coins. It is suspended in a way that it can be lowered and raised quickly. Children are to gather under the lattice as it is lowered to reach the party favors.
Pabitin is traditionally played during Santa Cruz de Mayo. A lattice is made during the day where fruits, candies, toys, are hung from a tree or in modern versions of it, parallel wires. It is hung in such a manner that it can be easily raised or lowered. The children assemble under it and a man is choses to raise and lower the balag. The players main objective is to get as many goodies as they can when the balag is lowered. The balag is moved up and down. The children jump and try to reach some of the prizes. The child who gets the most prizes is given an extra serving in the feast table. Other versions of the game is played with teams. They select a captain and the captain of each group will do the jumping and grabbing of the goodies. Other members will try to block the members of the other team from getting any goodies. Other teams will try to get a small boy on their shoulders and in that vantage position, the small boy can grab the goodies enough for his team.
In more recent times, the game just ends when the balag is bare of party favors and no special prize is given to the child who got the most.
The game is a direct influence of the Catholicism brought by Spain to the Philippines. It is sometimes called "paagaw" (anything for grabs) and is a special game during Santa Cruz de Mayo, a commemoration of the search for Christ's cross by Saint Helen and her son, Constantine the Great.
- Lopez, Mellie Leandicho. A Study of Philippine Games. University of the Philippines Press: Quezon City, 2001.