Indigenous games highlighted in Luzon Culture, Arts Festival


Paytu – Abra's version of the high jump – was played at the Luzon Culture and Arts Festival. The activity, organized by the UB Alumni

Foundation Inc. headed by Engr. Eleazer Demayo and the UB Quality Assurance Office headed by Dr. Rhoda Basco-Galangco,

was funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

 

 

 

Revisiting the Cordilleran community life, an activity demonstrating the indigenous games of the Cordillera region highlighted the Luzon Culture and Arts Festival at the University of Baguio (UB) Gym last March 26.

 

Like any other sport, the traditional games impress upon the participants discipline, respect, teamwork and sportsmanship.

 

Usually, an uggayam (chant) serves as a prelude to a game. Performed by an elder, it serves to confer a blessing on the game and the participants.

 

 

Mountain Province

 

In Bontoc, fagfagto, which is performed at the end of the harvest season, is played by boys. Two opposing groups are stationed on both sides of a river and, like dodgeball, the players hit each other with stones while avoiding being hit themselves. The objective of each team is to eliminate all members of the opposing team by hitting them with thrown stones, catching a stone thrown by an opponent, or induce an opponent to commit a violation, such as stepping outside the playing area.

 

A similar game is the betbetnag, where the participants hit each other with stones in the hips. Interestingly, the game is played during a wake to fight off drowsiness.

 

Benguet

Meanwhile, in Benguet, gimata is played by men during the harvest season. It is a racing sport where the participants carry a wooden bar with a stuffed basket hanging on each end. The players race to the finish while carrying the gimata on their shoulders.

 

The women likewise engage in such race sport – called agto – but instead of a gimata, they carry a labba (traditional basket) filled with crops instead.

 

The two games rely on agility, strength, and balance.

 

Ifugao

In Ifugao’s version of the leg wrestling, which is played by men, the players lie on the ground facing opposite directions, hips on the same level. With their arms on their back, they lift their legs, each locking his leg with the opponent’s at the knee or ankle. The players attempt to push each other’s leg forwards, forcing the other to do a backward flip without moving any other part of their bodies. Once a player flips his opponent completely over, the match ends, and the winner is declared. 

 

The sport requires strength, stamina and stealth.

 

The guyudan (tug of war) is played in Ifugao with or without a rope. In the absence of a rope, the players link arms and pull at opposite ends until one drags the other over. The game is played during harvest season and during fiesta.

 

Abra

The paytu is the equivalent of the high jump in Abra. The players must jump unaided over a horizontal wooden stick without dislodging it. It is played by both boys and girls to pass the time while in the field.

 

Meanwhile, agtu is a racing game where the players balance a set of banga (traditional jars) placed on their head. The jars, arranged from the largest to the smallest, contain water, requiring the participants to observe balance and well-coordinated footwork in the performance of the game. The agtu is usually participated in by women.

 

Apayao

Talip is more of a music and dance game. It is done by performing a traditional dance, in pair, accompanied by music produced by tapping the lusong (bamboo instruments).

 

The people of Cordillera have long been playing arm wrestling. In Apayao, as in other provinces in the region, the sport serves as a recreational activity among boys.

 

Kalinga

Binayo, a game of strength, speed and endurance, is a rice-pounding activity which is won by the participant with the most accumulated rice grains.

 

Binalsig, on the other hand, is a wood-chopping sport where the player with the most number of chopped wood chunks wins.

 

Depap, which is also played in all provinces of the Cordillera region, is similar to the concept of the predator-prey relationship. The players, in an enclosed area, attempt to tackle a chicken or a pig. Whoever catches the chicken or pig wins the match.

 

Generally, the indigenous games are played around the Cordillera region, although the games are referred to differently across the six provinces.

 

Interestingly, some native sports are uniformly practiced by and among different cultural groups around the world. The Native Americans, for example, share the same fondness for the leg wrestling. The Indians and Egyptians, meanwhile, practice tug of war. Moreover, the sports known today, such as boxing, wrestling, football and swimming, among many others, trace their origins to indigenous games.

 

Such native sports are profoundly connected to the everyday life of the indigenous peoples, a showcase of the celebration of their culture that has endured for centuries.

 

  

Scroll down to see photos from the event. All photos by Donald Rentiquiano / UB Media Affairs and Publications Office, except otherwise specified. 

 

 

  2 of 9

Two members of the UB cultural group UBBUK play the arm wrestling, generally called sanggol in the Cordillera region.

 

 3 of 9

 In leg wrestling, the players tackle each other using their legs. Interestingly, some native sports are uniformly practiced by and  

among different cultural groups around the world. The Native Americans, for example, also play leg wrestling.

(Photo: Rene Pascua / UB Media Affairs & Publications Office)

 

 4 of 9

The rice-pounding game – called binayo in Kalinga – entails strength, speed and endurance.

 

5 of 9

In binalsig, as it is called in Kalinga, the player with the most number of chopped wood chunks wins.

 

 6 of 9

The depap, played here by students from the UB Senior High School, is similar to the concept of the predator-prey relationship.

The players, in an enclosed area, attempt to tackle a chicken or a pig. Whoever catches the chicken or pig wins the game.

 

 7 of 9

Gimata, as it is called in Benguet, is played by men during the harvest season.

It is a racing sport where the participants carry a wooden bar with a stuffed basket hanging on each end.

The players race to the finish while carrying the gimata on their shoulders.

 

 8 of 9

The agto is likewise a racing game, but instead of a gimata, the participants carry a labba (traditional basket) filled with crops instead.

 

9 of 9

The indigenous games are played around the Cordillera region, although the games are 

referred to differently across the six provinces. Such native sports are profoundly

connected to the everyday life of the indigenous peoples, a showcase

of the celebration of their culture that has endured for many decades.

  

 

 

 

LOAD MORE STORIES

 

 

 


Print   Email