August 2014 Super Moon Philippines

Full Moon Games: Our Top List

There’s a super moon in August, although we learned about this only after the huge full moon was supposed to dominate the night sky on August 10, 2014. Doesn’t really matter because the moon tonight is still enormous. Big enough to remind us of the favorite childhood games children play whenever the full moon was out. This one is for posterity’s sake (ok, for our generation, too, so we may reminisce and smile). Rule of thumb for a full moon game? It has to accommodate between 10 to 20 kids at any time; a game designed for 2 or 4 people won’t do. Here’s our list of fun full moon games:

Taguan (Hide-and-Seek)

Have you heard about maligno, kapre, tikbalang or other night spirits? Have you heard that these mischievous creatures sometimes grab and hide children at night? And have you tried playing hide-and-seek at night outside the house? Nope? You’re missing all the fun. These night spirits were real to us, not because we’ve seen them, but because we shudder, a combination of fun excitement and nervous fear, every time we hide behind trees and under dark nooks and crannies. What can you do when the “it” is counting down from 10? You have to hide. You don’t want to show your friends you’re scared. So you hide. It felt safe and was safe. Trust us, this one is much better than watching horror movies. Fun at the same time.

Habulan / Agawan Base

Habulan is the simple act of chasing after one another. This could be fun but there’s a need to put variety and make it better. Like the agawan base. This game is simple. And fun. Divide the group into two. Establish a base (a collection of tsinelas or shoes would do) for each group. The object is to “tag” the base of the other group, just like the usual airsoft competitions. There are variations, like the “ubusan-lahi.”


The game is played everywhere in the Philippines but with slightly different names — siyato, tsato, shatum, etc. This fun game involves a stick (around 3 feet) and a baby stick (around 4 inches). It’s better to have a rounded stick, around 3/4 inch in diameter. Just go outside and look for a straight, little branch to use for the stick. There are two groups — one group to hit and the other to catch the little stick. Wait a minute, describing siyato is so much harder than we thought.


Patintero is a traditional Filipino game It’s sad that kids and adults play patintero only as part of those “parlor games,” an item of curiosity.  The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has this great description of this native game: “The game is prepared on the ground by drawing a rectangular field (usually five to six meter with four parallel lines inside) using either water, stick and charcoal on the ground to define the boundary. To play, one set of taggers or the ‘it’ situate themselves inside the lines of the rectangle while the runners will try to get through both ends of the field and back without being tagged or blocked. When caught, they right away change roles. The group that has lesser tagged incidents is declared winner.”

We used to play patintero on a regular basis — usually during full moon. Yes, my dear, you can draw — and see — the lines of patintero evening at night. Get a can or sprinkler, draw the lines with water and there you go. Patintero at night. There were no phones then. The full moon served as the signal, pretty much like how the bat-signal illuminating the night sky summons the Batman, for kids in the neighborhood to pour out of their homes right after dinner. There were no gadgets and gizmos to chain the kids in a happy state of solitary confinement. Kids go out and play as a community. Kids learn the rules of the game and the rules of playing fair. The bullies? Unless they play nice, they’re usually excommunicated by the kids’ community.

Tumbang Preso / Tumba Lata

A can takes certerstage in tumbang preso or, as we call this traditional game in our side of the Philippines, tumba lata. An empty can of corned beef or any circular can would do. The object is to hit the can with the slippers. There’s a good description in wikipedia: “Like other Filipino traditional games, members take the following rules: one as the “taya”, someone who takes the rule of a-player-at-stake and holds the responsibility of the Lata (tin can), and; the two others as the players striking. The game is performed by having the players a “pamato” (which is ones own slipper) used for striking the tin that is held beside the tays.” Unfortunately, kids nowadays know crocs, not slippers. They know tumbang lata from Linggo ng Wika or Filipino Week celebrations in school, but they might not know how to actually play the game. Kids nowadays don’t know that they can see the can and play tumbang preso under a full moon.

If you have other favorite childhood games during FULL MOON, do let us know through the comment section below so we can include in this post. Thanks!

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