‘Munting Bayani Olympiks’: Bringing back old Pinoy games and values

By Ching M. Alano
Did you grow up playing one — or all — of these games: tumbang preso, piko, patintero, luksong-tinik, sipa, taguan? Remember playing patintero in the streets, which became your instant playground? You were probably the undefeated sipa champion in your close-knit neighborhood until you got kicked in the butt by your mother for not doing your homework. How you loved playing hide and seek (taguan) with your siblings or the rowdy kids on the block as soon as the blazing sun set and darkness fell. And how your heart skipped a beat everytime you defended your title as the reigning luksong-tinik champ.

Those were the days when there wasn’t much in terms of sophisticated technology and kids pretty much depended on their imagination and ingenuity at play. And now, these well-loved games are back with a vengeance — and a twist. Last Feb. 21, the humongous SM Mall of Asia Music Hall was the venue of the first ever Larong Pinoy Munting Bayani Olympiks of Johnson’s Baby Powder.

“Larong Pinoy is easy and fun to play,” says Christine Balingit, group brand manager for Johnson’s Baby Franchise. “It does not require any equipment.”

Akiko Thomson, swimming champ and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) commissioner, fondly recalls, “I grew up in Peñfrancia, Paco, in a compound with four houses. I remember playing sipa and patintero with all the kids in the compound.”

PSC teamed up with Johnson’s Baby Powder for this mini Olympics that showcased the enormous talent and skill of small children, aged six to eight years old, from all 17 cities in the Greater Manila Area in a daylong tournament of enhanced Pinoy games. Games we used to play have been modified to underscore the core values championed by the Larong Pinoy program, such as teamwork, respect for others, physicial and mental acuity, and having a winning attitude. And these games are: Luksong Matinik, Tumbang Premyo, Pateamtero, and Sipa-Sipag.

Notes PSC chairman Harry Angping, “Playtime is not only healthy but also essential for children in reaching important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones.”

But of course, cheering the kids on at the sidelines were their proud mommies who made a Mommy Pledge at the start of the games. (For their part, the kids made a Munting Bayani Pledge to apply the values they learned at Larong Pinoy not only in the playground but also in school, at home, and in the community.) Sporty and supportive parents Suzi and Paolo Abrera hosted the ceremonies.

Christine points out, “At Larong Pinoy Munting Bayani Olympiks, everyone goes home a winner. Moms were able to bond and create unforgettable memories with their children and kids were able to form new friendships and perhaps strengthen existing ones. We enjoin every Filipino mom to continue to carry out our Larong Pinoy advocacy to help mold our little ones into lasting heroes.”

And the Larong Pinoy Munting Bayani awards go to: grand champions Team Batang Matikas of Las Piñas, who won a playground refurbishing package worth P50,000; second placers Team Batang Maasahan of Caloocan City, winning a playground refurbishing package worth P35,000; and Team Mapagbigay of Muntinlupa and Team Malakas of Navotas who tied for third place, each going home with a playground refurbishing package worth P20,000.

“Long after this, we hope to instill play and the values of Larong Pinoy through refurbishing city playgrounds in Metro Manila,” Christine stresses. “We want to provide children with a safe, colorful, and happy place where they can play. We’ll fix it, clean it up, and turn it over to the city government.”

So, let the (Pinoy) games begin!

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