For the fourth time in five years, Filipinos in Auckland, New Zealand gathered for LingawDuwa, a sporting event featuring traditional games played by children in the Philippines. Among the games contested on September 30 were: tubig-tubig, batolata, dakup-dakup, sungka, dama and jolen.
To allow the organizers to manage the games effectively, the competing teams were limited to eight with the scoring system modified. Unlike in the past when matured individuals wanting to reminisce their childhood experiences composed mostly the teams, this year’s event had youths joining the events competing with athletic stamina and adopting strategic moves. Two teams were mostly young basketball players who’ve participated in national basketball tournaments in New Zealand. I was told that they had to learn the Filipino games through Youtube.
While the games that had physical contacts-tubig-- tubig, batolata and dakup-dakup-- were dominated by the youths,matured players proved their skills in sungka, dama, jolen and takyan. In order not to leave out the children who were mostly born in New Zealand, the organizers had a children’s category where the kids were taught the basics and played purely for fun.
The Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Jesus Domingo could not attend the event, but he had earlier sent a message of support asking the Filipino community to participate. The teams that participated included Barangay Putyukan, Tribu Irong Kagiron, Tribu Gwapo ug Gwapa, Tribu Torogi, Tribu Kanlurang Bola, Tribu Batang Kidlat, Tribu Kutsero and Tribu Saksak Sinagol. One team, Tribu Torogi of the Organization of Cordillerans in New Zealand demonstrated two indigenous games namely: kadang-kadang and leg-wrestling.
The over-all winner of LingawDuwa in 2017 was Tribu Irong Kagiron, that has raised the Tahanang Pilipino trophy the third time out of the four editions. Most of the players once belonged to Tribu Itoy sa Irong Kagiron who have grown to master the games and formed strong bonds through the years.
In a debriefing meeting held on the succeeding weekend, the organizers considered suggestions to further improve the Filipino Sporting Event in the future including: workshops and demo games among community groups; holding of year-round open games; inviting overseas participants and teams from intermediate schools in New Zealand; and establishment of a non-profit entity to ensure funding and continuity.
I am not too sure if sports officials in the Philippines have seriously considered the institution of traditional Filipino games in the hope of creating universally accepted disciplines. But rest assured, Pinoys are doing their share in New Zealand.