Raul Ilogon .
DO you want to play games? Tibon tibon es kapitan tonon tibon! O ikaw abal! Hahaha, dagan na dayun!
No one knows the meaning of the words or their beginnings but that was how we started a game. It’s equivalent to boxing’s “Let’s get ready to rrrrumble!”
The names have no English translations. Guys my age will remember these words by heart but for the benefit of millennials, here are some of the games we played:
Team games: eskati, patentero, bulan-bulan, tago-tago. These games are played without any tools. Batinan are two opposing trees or electric posts. Lines in the dirt. These are physical and mental games that require several players. One must choose his team players well. Those lacking, physically or mentally, are most likely to end up as spectators only or they can join but as last pick just to complete the line-up.
Individual games: Except for marbles and rubber bands, the creative and artistic children of my generation make their own tools like kondisi: short and long stick. Bayabas is the best. Makabokol gyud kung ma-agtang ka.
Takyan is made with flattened softdrink “tansan” with hole in the middle, and tied with string. Inig sipa, sutoy na kaayo.
Koti or tops. Bayabas is the best as well as the #3 nail in the middle. Naa pay pina-tigib nga style. Buak gyud ang maigo. Pero takarag kaau.
Let’s talk about the players.
The “Flower” is not old enough to play. He can’t even comprehend the rules of the game. He is about three years old. He is in the game just to complete the line-up. Flower lang.
The Tahilak is a sore loser. Makadu-ag lang kay palaban sa mama. In most cases, he is always the last pick because he is known to be a cry baby.
The Marama is very creative. He will do all the dirty tricks just to win. When he is about to lose, he will excuse himself and drop out of the game with all kinds of alibi, including call of nature. Sugot na lang kay basin tinood. But with his reputation, he is excluded in the next game — maka-enter lang kung wala nay lain player.
The Bully. Bolabog permi ang dula ani. The game is never finished, and breaks up in the middle. In some cases, the game ends up in shouting matches or even fisticuffs!
My favorite characters are the Hatsoy, the Bahaw, and the Pan-os — always the loser in every game. Mahuman na lang dili pa gyud kabalos. But he never cries or resorts to alibis. He rolls with the punches and still plays until the game is over or until he is pan-os no more.
While we enjoyed our childhood games, there were some who can’t be in any of our games by default. Dili ipaapil sa mama kay magasgasan, mapiangan, maghilantan.
And, oh, I nearly forgot to discuss the players’ profile. Kasagaran ani nila mga bulingit, sip-onon, kagiron, dagko kaaug panero ug ang uban mga bitikon ug koto-on. So kinsa may mama dili malisang ana?
So while we slugged it out in the streets or any vacant lot, the unlucky ones just watched from the windows of their houses. But some were brave enough to defy mama dear. Pero latigo 50 pud pagmasapon.
Why did I write about these games? It’s because the recent barangay elections remind me of the players of our generation, particularly the bullies, marama and the tahilak. Enter-enter pud ang dili padula-on sa mama. Naa poy mga flower lang.
Just like the games of our childhood, naay hugaw kaau modula. The price of the vote allegedly reached as as high as P1,500. The dirty tricks included giving money to voters who were likely to vote for other candidates so as to make them keep off the polling precincts. Bullies waited at the gates in order to intimidate supporters of opposing candidates. But at the same time, they gave voters money and offered them free rides plus free meals.
One candidate for barangay chairperson lost. To his credit, he was doing the rounds the morning after but with really dark shades. Perhaps he will learn to play our games just like the kingpin of his Isla who never lost an election, and who played our games well.