Sun.Star Cebu - - OPINION - MEL LI­BRE li­brelaw@ya­

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.

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