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!

15 thoughts on “On the Streets in the Philippines.

  1. Just a few days ago I noticed three boys, one of them making the ‘rules’, making up a game at the marketplace while their parents sold stuff. All they had were some sticks and a coin. But they were passing the day away, refining the game as they went along. 🙂

  2. I also played outside most of the time as a kid. Of course we did not have many of the different games children have these days or the technology. That technology is one of the reasons why children are getting lazier and getting fatter. Of course parents are not helping by making sure their children get out and stay active.

  3. I think I would blame the parents long before I’d blame computers, video games and television John.

  4. Other than in the southern islands, where should “kanos” not be. My girlfriend said that riding in a jeepney or buss is not god for americans. Is this true? Would I have to stay out of the provinces and strictly in the expat enclaves?

  5. Hi Rick and thanks for visiting. The word is that areas of southwestern Mindanao are some of the areas to avoid, although there are some expats that live there. Most other areas of the Philippines should be considered safe, but as many of us know, we should always be aware of our surroundings. As far as riding on buses and jeepneys, I don’t think nothing of it, and again being aware is the key. For example, boarding an empty jeepney at night, you might be rolling the dice…you just never know. Your wife will always error on the side of caution….you are by the way, her Golden Septor! Many foreigners live in the provinces without any problems….its where I’ll be!

  6. Hey Rick. I also have never had a problem with anyone here in the Philippines, unless you count being started at or children and the elderly asking for money. That doesn’t happen as much as people make out that it does, especially if you don’t live in the Manila area. I have not ridden on a bus here recently, but had no problem back in 1984. I have ridden on just about every other form of transportation here, and there are many, without a problem. My asawa and I live in Calbayog City, where Randy will be moving, and it’s been pretty uneventful for me. I make the mile walk downtown or back from downtown often by myself and I have never been or even felt threatened at anytime. We like it here because we do not get direct hits from typhoons, there are no volcanoes and in fact natural disasters have avoided this place for like the past 70 years. It’s a small city with a growing number of expats. It’s hard to get better in my opinion.

  7. Hi Rick, local boy here from Philippines, In Manila you would probably get occasional stares from most of us pinoy, but that’s about it, because not too often you would see non-brown people riding a jeepney, most local would think it’s cool! But if you flaunt things like your ipad, jewelry, ridiculously expensive shirt ,shoe, or smartphone other stuff that cost a lot, you will probably attract lawless element.I had an office mate who lost his iphone 4s because he was playing with it while riding a jeepney and somebody snatch it from him, and i think that’s just plain stupid. I have a cheap cellphone that’s chinese made and i call text with it while riding a jeepney and i never encounter anything bad he he. Do what mormons does (lol, most pinoy recognize mormons from afar and they just don’t wanna mess around with them haha even those street thugs stay away from them), or just bring yourself, sandals, board shorts, your favorite old shirt, really cheap cellphone, some pocket money to go around the city (500-1000 pesos for jeepney (8 pesos), taxi, trike, mrt (15 pesos), kalesa lots of bottled water, eats in local fast food chain) and your GF. Always bring your GF in unfamiliar territory and when you make friends with local you don’t have to drag your GF hehehe. As for me i always took a jeepney for work here at Makati, Its darn cheap, and if its traffic you can always tell the driver to just drop you anywhere and just wak hahaha. I am more wary of riding a taxi, some driver charges you more if you are a foreigner, you look like a rich guy, you are in a barong or business attire, and you work in makati, ortigas, or the fort.

  8. I too John have walked the streets of Calbayog, seemingly unnoticed. As a foreigner, we are an oddity and will always draw the stares. I’ve been kidded before about moving to a place with 23 active volcanoes just to get away from tornadoes!

  9. Good points Michael. Walking around and flaunting yourself in Manila is no different than doing it in many urban centers in the U.S. You’re just inviting trouble. Years ago when my wife traveled back to the Philippines for a visit, she was wearing a Baht gold chain around her neck (against my wishes) and while walking to the bus station in Manila, she was attacked from behind. This running thug tried to grab the necklace and missed but bruised her neck pretty good. She learned her lesson. White, black or Filipino, it matters not – Valuables are the real target! Best practice is like what Michael says, dress down and go with flip flops. It’s how I roll. 😉

  10. I would like to retire there in the PI. My girlfriend (soon to be wife I hope) lives in Candelaria, Quezon and says that there are not a lot of expats living there. She also said if I have a pinay asawa that I don’t have to worry almost anywhere as long as I’m with her. I was headed there in the middle of May but she stated that because of election rallies to wait until the last of May. I don’t have to worry about showing a lot of money od wearing a suit. I will wear one for my wedding and hopefully never again. Shorts, T-shirts, and sandals are my type of dress. I am on a disability pension so no jewelry or lots of money. I just want to relax, take some pictures, enjoy my new wife, and take advantage of Philippine Time. LOL Thank you very much for your answers as I really appreciate it. I worked in Africa for a while and there if you treated the people alright, they treated you the same way. I hope it is like that there. I have been going to some of the local pinoy parties here and they are the friendliest and non-clannish nationality I have ever met. Thanks Again.

  11. Thanks for your question Rick. If you have never been to the PI, all you need to know is to relax and be your gentle self. The Filipino people are hospitable and friendly, and until you learn the ropes, your gf will be able to take care of you. It seems to be a common perception that expats will be safer in expat enclaves but I don’t always agree with that. If you have an outgoing personality and make friends easily, you will have no problem wherever it is you will go. Many expats live out in the provinces throughout the Philippines and the few that have problems are brought on by themselves usually. As a new kano there, let your gf handle the money, but oversee her spending it (if you now what I mean). The first lesson once you arrive there is to let people know right away and upfront that your ATM machine is only half full. 😉 As far as being there during the elections, one should just exercise common sense and good judgement. Just be ‘aware’ and avoid hanging out in crowded places. I was there during more pressing times during the Marcos elections and subsequent ouster and we were all fine, just kept a lower than normal profile. Have fun.

  12. Rick, one point I should expound on a bit more…when you get there, you will be (could be) treated as if you have “ATM” stamped on you forehead. You should know this as some foreigners don’t realize it until it’s too late (when they are broke). The newly acquired gf and her family WILL look at you (most times) as being a ‘rich’ westerner and many times they don’t understand that even us ‘rich’ guys run out of money sooner or later (and in most cases sooner). If you let them spend your money for you, it will be gone before you know it. You must learn to be a true conservative and you should hold something in reserve for your return trip as you will have departure expenses that can add up. Family and friends of your gf can truly think of you as having an endless supply of money so set the record straight right away. Even set a budget…first thing. Happy spending! 🙂

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