Sama-sama sa Tuwa

The quest for abundance, wholesome camaraderie, warm bonding as well as reconnecting urban indigenous youth to their culture were among the salient features in showcasing the traditional games.

It was on the third day of the Dayaw Festival  where participants hilariously demonstrated the unique games of their tribes amidst the scorching heat of the sun at one side of the E-park arena.

Among  the ethnic groups which actively participated in sharing one’s indigenous games were Aeta (Bataan), Ati (Aklan), Mangyan (Mindoro),Panay (Bukidnon), Kalinga,Waray Abaknon,Ati  (Iloilo),Mansaka, Kagan,  Bontoc, Gadang, Isnag, and Malaweg,Ybanag,Itawis , Yogad (Cagayan Valley tribes).

The exhilaration of the crowd never ceased from the beginning till the last game was demonstrated which turned out to be interactive and educational game show shedding meaning to the unique names of all the games.

Traditional sports described were not only played by children. Some games involved only men and boys, even old men, while in other games everyone was allowed to participate. Each game was packed with unique attributes describing the culture treasures of the participants.



- A traditional game performed by the Aeta of Bataan.
- Stick game, better be good at it - Two players, one flat stick (usually 2') and one short flat piece of wood (4" usually a piece cut from the flat stick).
-Player A hitter and Player B as the catcher. Played outside on the ground where you dig a small square hole (slanted) where you put the small wood so it sticks out.
-Player A hits the wood with the stick so it catches air enough to be hit by the stick.
-The further the wood gets hit the more points you get (usually counted by the number of stick length
-Player B on the other hand has to anticipate and catch the small piece of wood to nullify the points and take his turn getting an automatic 10 points.
-A game of Ati in Aklan depicting the agility, strength and technique of the players.
-Players form a line with hands clamped at the waist of the person ahead of him.(at least a group of 10)
-The first player (head) aims to catch the last player (tail) where the latter squirms to evade being caught without losing hold with one another.
-The member who loses the grip or when the head tags the tail means the end of the game.
Suong Pusa
-Popularized by the Mangyan tribe in Mindoro which is a battle for the strongest head.
-Two players kneel like cats and perform the head to head position.
-Each player aims to push one’s head very hard to pin the opponent down.
-The player whose head bows down first defeats in the game.
Ura-ura kamansi
- A Panay game which started after the Japanese Regime introduced in the schools on the mountains of Bukidnon.
-Played by 5 or more players inside a big quadrant illustrated in the arena with a big circle at the middle called “awang” or a hole.
-Any players tagged during the game or stepped on the circle will take the turn of chasing others.
-Everybody sings the “Ura-ura Kamansi” song while the game is going on.
-A game invented by the Isnag tribe using instrument  made of a wood with elongated top used for spinning. It has resemblance to the common top spin game. Only that dahay doesn’t use nail for spinning.
-Two or more players can spin together and the last dahay to stop is the winner.
-It’s a  famous game of Waray Abaknon which is a test of leg strength and balancing since only one leg will be used to push the stone or “pamato” from one base to another until all are being conquered.
- The bases (number of squares) could be 8-10. When the pamato has been pushed throughout the squares, the player can proceed to the next level.
-But when the pamato landed on  a line means the end of the player’s turn and gives the opponent the chance to play.
-A game well-liked by Ati (Iloilo) displaying the strength of the player’s knees and legs.
-It’s  a leg wrestling where the players aim to weaken the opponent and bring the legs down using a strong force.
-A known game of the Mansaka tribe similar to the wrestling sport and played inside a big circle.
-A test of stamina, power and strategy are being developed.
-Player who makes the opponent steps the line or pin him down wins the game.
-This is where the strong belief of the Bontoc lies about abundance of the harvest.
-Otherwise known as the Fight for Abundance and traditionally done during the harvest offering festival.
-Players from the village are divided into two groups to play along the riverbanks.
-One group positioned at one side of the river and one group on the other side throwing stones aiming to hit each opponent.
-The belief goes that when many are hit and blood flow much manifest the abundance of the next harvest.
-These are the popular games introduced by the Gadang tribe in Mt. Province which demonstrated the three kinds of wresting.
-TORSI is known as the finger wrestling.DUNGOL is the foot wrestling similar to Piol while ABBU refers to the body wrestling. These games target  to overturn the finger of the opponent, topple the legs and make the opponent to fall on the ground.
-A game played by the Waray especially for their children while the elders are busy doing chores.
-It’s a pick-up stone game where a player place 10 pebbles on its forearm and catch as many as he can.
-The picking of pebbles begins from 1’s,2’s and so on.
-The player with the most number of pebbles gathered wins.
-It is one of the most distinct  gamespresented which is known as rooster fight.
-It involves 2 pairs of boys, one hand will hold his breast and other hand at his back to form a rooster’s wings.
-Each player will attack his opponent using one leg by hopping and aims to knock his opponent down by pushing hard using his upper limbs.
-The use of hands is prohibited and the first to fall is defeated.
-Winner in each match will advance for round 2 and do the same mechanics
-This is a famous game of the Kagan which uses pebbles with the aim of hitting as many pebbles as possible to declare the winner. The  mechanics of the game is quite similar with the pick- up stones.
-It fosters a strong bond between the Mansaka and Muslim who were believed to be the first to play this game and  had developed good friendship long ago.

-It is another game common to many tribes like Malaweg, Ybanag, Itawis and Yokad.
-It uses a pair of coconut shells with a hole on the top where a string is attached.
-Players use this instrument in walking or running race.
Many indigenous people see the traditional games as a strong indicator that their culture can survive. In this way traditional games are not only helping indigenous youth to get physically fit but also inspiring older members of the indigenous community. photo and text by Cristy Agudera