On the Streets in the Philippines.

Kids Playing Preso

Kids Playing Preso

While reviewing some posts on my Retired in Samar facebook page, I came across a picture that depicted children in the Philippines playing a game in the street. I remember when I lived in the Philippines, the children always played outdoors and things do not seem to be much different today.

The game the children were playing was a game called “Tumbang Preso” which in simple terms means “to fall prisoner”. The game requires no props other than a tin can and “weapons”, which are usually a players own pair of slippers. It is a simple game where at least three players are needed, although the more, the merrier. It is similar to a game we played as kids in my home town called “it”, where one person was it and guarded a tree or similar home base. The object was for “it” to tag someone else to be “it” before they could reach the home base. Once you reached home base you were safe and out of the chase.

Even Big Kids Play!

Even Big Kids Play!

This game is basically the same and is confined to a smaller space. First, the “it” or the defender positions a can in the center of the game area (this is home or base). The “it” will defend the can from being knocked down. While it is in the upright position, the “it” can chase and tag anyone playing the game. When a player is tagged, and the can is still in the upright position, that player becomes the new “it”.

The players of the game must see to it that the can is always knocked down as you can retrieve your weapons and cannot be tagged while the can is down. The “it” of course can always put it back in the upright position. Players can use a designated item (usually their slippers) to knock the can over from a distance, or if one gets close enough to the can without getting tagged, he can kick it and pick-up the “weapons” or slippers used.  Once all the players are out of slippers, it then becomes a major opportunity for the “it” to chase everyone before the can is kicked.

I’m sure, as was the case back home, that there can be variances of the game, with local rules in place that make the game more challenging or fun.

Back home in the U.S. these days however, there are no cans in the street, nor slippers or shoes to throw around. Not many will play “catch” or throw a football around. I never even see anyone even playing hide-n-seek anymore. Today, most kids are locked up indoors playing video games or watching TV. When I grew up it seemed we were never indoors (except to eat) and even when it was raining, we’d be outside having gutter toothpick races in the rain. These days though I’d prefer to be living in the Philippines watching the kids play Preso!