February 5, 2010


Reading Bob Ong's "Bakit Baliktad Magbasa ng Libro Ang Mga Pilipino?" where he listed a bunch of Filipino games reminded me of my personal favorite - patintero.

This street game brings back so many memories.

Back when I was in second or third grade, after my school day was done and while waiting for my older sisters and our "sundo" (our family driver who drops us off in the morning and picks us up in the afternoon), I'd play patintero with my classmates who were, like me, waiting for their "sundo". To while the time away, we'd play patintero in the school's quadrangle until it was time to go home.

When I got home, my mom would lament at how dark I was getting (a natural off-shoot of playing out in the sun without sunscreen, of course). She never told me to stop playing though. So I kept playing. Such outdoor game playing lasted till sixth grade.

We had two teams for the game - the girls versus the boys. I don't remember why it ended up that way at some point. I know that when we were younger, the teams were still a fair mix of girls and boys. Around fourth grade, the battle of the sexes began.

It was also around that time that crushes became a big thing. Playing patintero became an exercise in finding out who has a crush on who. Chances are, those who constantly picked on you during those games had a thing for you. Of course, how are you supposed to know it then?

I remember distinctly that I had guy classmates who refused to let me pass the grid. I'd be walking to and fro figuring out how to get past them, and how best to distract them. They'd smile, snicker, taunt and tease as they keep their eyes on me. It was frustrating, but with some of them, I managed to escape their clutches. Found out years later that the boys who constantly picked on me during those games actually had a crush on me (thanks, Facebook, for exposing that...ha ha). Not that they'd admit it then.

Good times, man, good times. Such youthful fun.