Most immigrants in Australia still remember the 'good old days' where they play under the sun with some of their favourite Filipino games. The younger generations, especially those who grew up in Australia however tell a different story.
For second generation migrants, they have probably heard stories from their parents and older relatives about Filipino street games such as patintero, agawang base, tamaang tao, habulan, piko, sipa, and tumbang preso, to name a few.
And for some who have been introduced to online games, they never really had the chance to experience to play the actual games. That’s why it was difficult for them to relate to.
- A lot of younger individuals have no idea about Filipino street games
- Getting back to social and physical activities is helpful for your mental health
- Games can be a way to reconnect to your heritage
As an answer to this, a group of young Filipino student community organised a fun-filled activity to introduce Filipino street games. Filipino students from the Filipino Student Society of Macquarie University invited students from different universities in Sydney to come and play some of the traditional Filipino street games.
From an idea to an annual event now in its fourth year, the event was known as the Palarong Pinoy. It was the culmination of Filipino games where participants were randomly grouped and competed against other groups.
It was not just mere games for a handful of individuals. For Nirel Dimaunahan, it was connecting back to their roots as Filipinos. To others, it was revisiting the good old times when they were playing out in the streets when they were young. Angelo Jayawarden, one of the organisers, said that it was a rekindling of social events and getting back to physical activities after the year-long crisis last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But of all the different comments that the participants have said, they all share one experience—they had fun.
One of the main cultural problems for Filipino communities overseas is keeping the heritage alive especially for the next generation. A lot of the younger generation find the Filipino culture no longer interesting—let alone exciting. Relearning and reintroducing our culture through games is one effective way to get the youth involved.
For this year’s Palarong Pinoy, over 40 students coming from different universities in New South Wales participated. There were four teams and they were named Marsh Yellow, Rice, Shrek and Flapinkgo—the latter emerging this year’s winner.
Some individuals would also say that there are similarities with some of the Filipino games to Western street games. Some say patintero is like bull rush and as quite obviously, dodge ball is almost similar with tamaang tao. A lot of the participants admittedly say that it was their first time trying these games.
Apart from playing and winning the games, the students also participated in flag-making and cheer-making activities. To cap off the event, they also had a feast. What more is satisfying than eating Filipino food after sweating profusely during the event.
It was nothing short of magic, where from complete strangers, these young individuals established a connection with each other. There were also students who are non-Filipino who joined and had fun in the event.
The group continues to envision making Filipino games popular among the student community—especially the Filipino student community. They also aim to have a stronger bond within the younger generations and bridge the gap of disconnection while enjoying the perks of diversity.