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Time Travel to the Past: Filipino Childhood Games

Updated on June 11, 2013

Childhood Games

Before the 2nd millennium games like Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies and Candy Crush, we had famous childhood games that made our lives enjoyable . Some of these are still being played by the present generation.

Watch closely as the Makahiya or the touch-me-not plant close it's leaves right after touching it

1. Touching the touch-me-not plant

We used to have fun touching this plant and watched the leaves close after we have touched it. As children, our attention can be easily caught with some natural wonders like this. We usually see this in our backyard, at school garden and along the grassy side of the roads.

  • Makahiya is the name of this plant in Filipino. It comes from the root word hiya which means shyness. This plant can be seen in tropical countries like Philippines and India.

Magic isn't it? No, this is real. This plant is commonly known as the sensitive plant or the touch-me-not plant. As the name implies, this plant is very sensitive that it has what they called seismonastic movements.

A kid filling the hole with shells.
A kid filling the hole with shells. | Source

2. Congkak or Sungka

This game is common in Southeast Asian countries. The objective of the game is to capture more seeds than one's opponent. All we need are pebbles or sea shells.

We need 49 pieces of shells or pebbles. It would be better if you have extra pebbles just for a reserve but the game only requires 49- 7 pieces on each holes. The 2 bigger holes wich will serve as a home for each of the player will remain empty in the beginning of the game.

Watch How the Children Play Sungka

3. Chinese Garter

Two persons are standing while holding each one of them the end of a stretched garter or a linked rubber band around 2.5 to 3 meters long.The goal is to cross without having tripped on the garter. With each round, the garter's height is made higher than the previous round (the game starts with the garter at ankle-level, followed by knee-level, until the garter is positioned above the head).

  • Minimum of 4 players and minimum of 2 teams

Normally kids jump or leap but you can also do some tricks like tumbling just to cross the line.

You can distinguish the purple shower with it's purple flowers.
You can distinguish the purple shower with it's purple flowers. | Source

4. Picking the Purple Shower Seeds

We used to have fun picking the seeds and put it in a container with water to watch the seeds popping. As children, we sometimes do silly things like putting the seed inside our mouth which is obviously wet thus making the seeds pop.

  • This is the Ruellia brittoniana, simply known as 'Purple Showers'.
  • You can see this shrub along the road and parks in tropical countries.
  • This plant originated from Mexico.

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5. Tagu-taguan or Hide and Seek

A group of children will appoint one to be the first "it". The appointed person will close his eyes and hide his face while facing a wall or the trunk of a tree- which will serve as the base. He will be the one to seek for the members who will be hiding after counting 10. The first person that he caught hiding will be the next "it", but the game will not be over till he finds all of the members. While finding for the hiding members, he should simultaneously monitor if a member will go run and touch the base. If it happens that a member touch the base, all of the members who were already found can hide again, thus will prolong the game but will make difficult for the "it" to find all the members hiding place.

A song describing how Tagu-taguan is played.

6. Sipa

Sepak takraw is being played in Southeast Asia especially in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. It is similar to volleyball, however the player kicks the ball instead of using the hands. The ball, made out of rattan, is woven into a ball shape.

The game is played with two teams consisting of two players on each team. It is played on a court with a net about the size and height of a badminton net, with a circle drawn in the middle of both sides. A semi-circle is drawn around the posts of the nets.

Number of Players and Teams in each game

Name of Game
Number of Players
Number of Team
1.Touching the touch-me-not
One or more
2. Sungka
2 only
2 only
3. Chinese garter
minimum 2 players per team
2 to 3 teams
4. Playing the Purple Shower seeds
One or more
5. Tagu-taguan
minimum 2
6. Sepak takraw or sipa
exactly 3 per team
exactly 2 teams

How to play Sipa or Sepak takraw

1. Coin toss for designating the first team that will serve first..

  • The teams' captains call it, and whoever calls correctly gets to choose to go first or choose the side they wish to be on.

2. Serve to start a set

  • One player of the designated team, stands in the right semi-circle on their side of the court. He throws the ball to their server, who stands in the circle on their side of the court. Server will then kicks the ball up and over the net within the court.

3. Pass the ball to the other team

  • Pass the ball using only your feet or head
  • Play continues until a team makes a fault. Fault happens when the ball is not kicked before it hits the ground or the net stops it from going to the other side of the court. If a fault is made, the other team scores and serves. The set is over when a team scores 21 points. If the game is tied at 20, the set continues until 25 points are scored.

4 Start the next set .

  • The teams change sides of the court, and the team that lost the previous set serves. When a team wins two sets, a new regu is started.

5. The second regu is played the same way.

  • The first person to win 2 regus wins the game.


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    • Maricarmjolo profile image

      Maricar M. Jolo 4 years ago from Jubail, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

      thanks johnsonrallen, I hope u together with your 2 kids will have an enjoyable time playing some of the above mentioned games.. :D

    • johnsonrallen profile image

      Robert Allen Johnson 4 years ago from Fort Wayne, IN

      Just showed up in my Facebook feed and I shared. As a husband of a Filipina and father of two mixed kids, this will be a great hub to look over and work into our game times!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      This was great. You reminded me of my childhood in the Philippines. I still play Sungka with my small nieces every time I´m in my home country. Those were the good all days where we always stayed outside to play. Thanks for sharing.

    • Caleb Melvern profile image

      Caleb Melvern 4 years ago from Philippines

      This reminds me so much of my childhood days. I can only wish that I can bring back the past!

    • Mohammedbasheer profile image

      Mohammedbasheer 4 years ago from Manama, Bahrain

      This is a very interesting topic...