Top 10 Traditional Filipino Games

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The traditional Filipino games are cherished by generations of Filipinos. The game play mechanics has been passed on from one generation to another since the early 1900's; as such, it is called Games of our Heritage (i.e., "Laro ng Lahi").

Dickie Aguado, Executive Director of Magna Kultura Foundation, confirms that the Traditional Filipino games are very much alive in the mainstream of Philippine society despite the rise of modern technology and high-tech game gadgets. Most of the children in rural areas and in densely populated parts of urban cities play the games daily after school time.

Traditional Filipino games are enthralling, highly-imaginative, and unique. The chanting alone is enough to make anyone’s hackles rise and join in the rollicking fun. Indeed, despite getting the ire of “Inay” for coming home all dirty, sunburned, and sweaty, every Filipino child is willing to risk getting cuffed in the ear just to be able to engage in the physicality of it all. The absolute best thing about these games is that they can be enjoyed by everyone for free! Jack-en-poy, hali, hali, hoy, sino’ng matalo siya’ng unggoy! Let the games begin!

There over forty (40) Traditional Filipino games in the Philippines. The top traditional Filipino games played by children are, as follows:

Said to be the most popular and widely-played game in the country, this game challenges players to be fast, quick, and very good at tagging the opposing team. The game is won based on the number of people who can complete passing the lines without getting tagged. This game can be played on an open field made of concrete or on any vacant lot anywhere, as long as chalk lines can be drawn as demarcations and there are more than 10 participants to make two teams. Reflective of its versatility, even a dusty field poured with water to form markings for the lines can set the stage for a game of patintero. To determine which team gets to be the passers and line guards, respectively, is decided by flipping a coin.

The game play mechanics of Patintero can be viewed in Pilipino at the Larong Pinoy website of Magna Kultura Foundation

Luksong Lubid

This is such a simple game that even interconnected rubber bands make a perfect makeshift skipping rope for playing solo or with two or more players. Players take turns skipping rope until the rope goes faster and faster. If a player miscalculates the steps thereby hitting the rope, the next player takes her turn while the loser takes over the reins of the rope. A variation of this is the Chinese Garter. Three or more people can play this game. This a test of one’s flexibility and jumping prowess as the garter is set beginning from the bottom (near the ankles) until it reaches the highest jumping point - the very top of raised arms above the head. The object of the game is to jump over the Chinese Garter or rope from it’s lowest to its highest position. Now if you’re playing against two very tall rivals, the ratio of difficulty gets higher but long legs can compensate for the height difference.


Called Hide-and-Seek in English, this game is best played on a country field with nipa huts, lots of trees, and thick foliage. There is a designated “it” who is tasked with finding his hiding playmates. The “it” counts from 1-30 with his eyes closed while resting on a tree trunk which also serves as the home base. While he is counting, the rest scamper for cover making sure they won’t be easily found. At the count of 30, he proceeds to look for his playmates. The search gives the others the chance to run to home base calling out “Save” after they hit the tree trunk with their palms. This gives them immunity from being “It” on the next round. If the “It” finds a playmate in his hiding place, this person becomes the next round’s “It.” The game ends when everyone has been accounted for at home base.

A quick search for the game “Trumpo” will turn out the much-loved and highly-popular 90s gag show “Tropang Trumpo” starring Michael V, Ogie Alcasid, Gelli de Belen, and Carmina Villaroel. The title of the gag show is a tribute to this game which is also called Spinning Top in English, Spun Tsa Lin in Chinese, and Koma Asobi in Japanese.

There are two essential tools that make up “Trumpo.” First, the spinning top made of an acorn-shaped wood with a nail jotting out of its carved bottom and second, a long yarn used to spin it with. Once the top is let loose, players should give it a wide berth as it spins wildly around and in all directions.


Tepak Sakraw in Indonesian and Sepak Raga in Malaysian, this traditional Filipino game is so rooted to the streets that it only takes multi-colored plastic strings and a softdrink crown (tansan) to bring this game to life. This game is played by tossing then kicking the makeshift albeit crude sipa into the air using one’s legs or any part of the body. The goal is to prevent it from hitting the ground otherwise the game is done.


Spin-offs of this game include Titser-Titseran (Imaginary Teacher and Student) and Doktor-Doktoran (Imaginary Doctor-Patient). The bahay-bayahan is a role-playing game where children assign each other to be the father, the mother, while a baby doll takes the role of the child. The perfect setting is inside a Nipa hut. The scene is often played out by the father being sent off to work to on the farm, while the mother, dressed in traditional Baro at Saya gets busy preparing meals on clay pots using grass and wild flowers as ingredients and taking care of a baby doll.


Playing Rock-Paper-Scissors won’t be the same without the chant that goes something like this “Jack-en-Poy, hali, hali, hoy! Sino’ng matalo, siya’ng Unggoy (Monkey).” The object of this game is to overpower each hand gesture such that Rock overpowers Scissors, Paper overpowers Rock, and Scissors cut through Paper.

Luksong Baka

Loosely translated in English, this game means “Jump over a Cow.” A player bends over with his hands placed on his knees for support while other players jump over him using both hands for balance. Only the hands of the jumper may touch the back of the person who is bent over. Once the jumper gets his legs or his rump on the surface of the person who is bent over, he loses the game and must assume the position of the person being jumped over.


Two players compete in this game. They both need a short stick to hit and a long stick for hitting the short stick with. The short stick is propped against a rock/home base with one player hitting it with the long stick making it toss on air. While the short stick is airborne, the player uses the long stick to hit it again until it lands a certain distance from the rock/home base. Then the player picks it up once more and hits the short stick again and again until he accidentally fails to hit the short stick. Failure to hit the stick while it is airborne means the player loses the round and has to pick up the short stick and return it to home base while shouting “Siyato” all the way back. If the player loses his voice while running back to base, the player has to do it all over again.

Philippine fiestas won’t be complete without the slip-sliding game of Palo-Sebo. This is a game that requires brute force, long limbs, and a determination to climb one’s way to the slippery top of a greased pole to get the prize money.




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