Throwback: 90’s Kids’ Most Well-Loved Street Games

Childhood years are the happiest period in people’s life. These are the times when one’s physical stamina, playfulness, enthusiasm, and curiosity are at their peak.

For many Filipinos, street games seem to have been a “regular” part of their childhood—and synonymous with it, if I may add. In fact, young Pinoys come to learn and play different street games even long before learning their ABCs.

Of all, 90’s kids seem to have enjoyed playing street games more than anyone else from other batches. This is because they were able to inherit some outdoor games from their predecessors (but made “twists” onto them). Further, 90’s kids got the chance to play modern street games as innovation came along before a new decade unfolded.

What is special about 90’s kids is that they were the last ones to play and fully enjoy traditional Pinoy outdoor games shortly before the arrival of addictive online and mobile games!

Let’s look back at the time when 90’s kids had worry-free and unstressed lives.

Youthful Times

Below are a few of the most famous street games from the 90’s, along with their descriptions and instructions to play them:

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Langit-Lupa – Every young kid loves to run—run around and away from their game rivals. Hence, “langit-lupa” was a hit among 90’s children. The game starts with a designated player citing a chant: Langit, lupa, impyerno, im-im-impyerno; Saksak puso, tulo ang dugo; Patay, buhay, alis ka na dito. Each syllable points to someone in the group, eliminating the one who gets the last syllable. The rhyme repeats until there were two left—one will be safe and the one who doesn’t get the last syllable will become “taya”—the one who will chase other players and tag one of them who will then replace him as taya. Players who are at higher places or elevated ground (“langit” or heaven) are safe and cannot be touched. The first player standing on the ground (lupa or earth) and gets caught (touched) will become the new “taya.” The game repeats until everyone gets tired or their parents call (shout at) them.

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Taguan (Hide-and-seek) – Determining the “taya” or “it” varies across the country; but the most common during the time was “maiba taya”—a series of flipping players’ hands (pompyang)—with their palms facing either up or down. The player who displays the odd hand will be the “it” (searcher). The “it” will then face the wall or tree while citing “tagu-taguan maliwanag ang buwan, pagkabilang kong sampu nakatago na kayo” then count until ten. Other players will then hide. The player who is first found will be the next “it.” The game’s rules differ depending on what has been discussed in advance but will surely end when all the players are found.

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Patintero (or Tubigan) – A game for at least six players (always even number), with each team having equal number of players. The game is played on a wide area where the surface can be marked with chalk or water and drawn with a big rectangle (divided into equal parts). The game starts with “jack-en-poy” (rock-paper-scissors) with two leaders choosing their team players and deciding which team will play first as runners. Losing team will step on the line (as “patotot” and “pulis”) and should tag any of the opponents. All of the members from the winning team should get through all the lines without being tagged to win. The first player who will finish crossing all the lines back and forth should declare “Tubig”—a signal that the team has just earned a point. Note: Rules vary across the country.

Other Famous Street Games

  • Moro-moro (or agawan base)
  • Piko
  • Tumbang preso
  • Syato (or siyatong)
  • Tantsing (or tatsi)
  • Chinese garter
  • Ten-Twenty
  • Dr. Quack Quack
  • Hulugang Panyo (or laglag panyo)
  • Luksong tinik
  • Luksong baka
  • Open the basket
  • Pasahang bola

Which of these street games from the 90’s do you missed the most? Which ones left you unforgettable memories? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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