MANILA, Philippines–In an age where the digital world dominates, where faces are often illuminated by the blue light of screens, and where online and mobile games have become daily staples, a gust of fresh air blows through the Philippine archipelago.
As most of the world succumbs to the virtual realm, the Philippines is taking a bold step backward and forward at the same time, with an aim to reconnect its youth to their rich cultural roots.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a landmark bill, House Bill (HB) No. 8466, which is not just a testament to preserving the country’s indigenous games but also a poignant reminder of the importance of human interaction, community building, and tangible, real-world experiences.
With a sweeping majority of 275 votes, the House emphasized the importance of reviving traditional games like patintero and luksong-tinik, showcasing them not merely as games but as living heritage.
“The indigenous games and sports of our country are a part of our identity as Filipinos and as a nation,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, leader of the 312-strong House of Representatives, said.
“Hence, we must support legislation that will deepen our connection to our historical roots, while also promoting self-expression, peace, harmony, goodwill, and camaraderie, in line with our mandate under the Constitution and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” the Leyte 1st district representative added.
Section 3 of HB 8466 defines “indigenous games” as traditional sports and games deeply rooted in the customs, traditions, and practices that reflect the rich cultural heritage of various indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples.
These games, passed down from generation to generation, include bunong braso, ginnuyudan, hilahang lubid, kadang-kadang, karera sa sako, luksong-tinik, patintero, syato, and unggoy-unggoyan.
Indigenous communities also often play traditional games using native materials and tools. These games not only serve as entertainment and competition but also play vital roles in observing rituals, celebrating cultural festivals, and fostering socialization.
With the bill’s enactment, the Philippine Sports Commission, in alliance with several other institutions, will host annual regional and national indigenous sports competitions. Such events will not only preserve these games but also bring communities together, fostering unity, understanding, and national pride.
Furthermore, the bill ventures beyond mere preservation. It envisions a future where indigenous games are woven into the fabric of education. It proposes their inclusion in the curriculum, promoting their understanding among the youth, and the production of documentaries, ensuring that the richness of these games reaches a wider audience.
When enacted, HB 8466 will also lead to the inclusion of these games as regular demonstration sports in national events like the Palarong Pambansa. This move will likely boost interest and participation, as the younger generation gets a firsthand experience of these traditional games.
In a world that’s increasingly digital, the Philippines is reminding its people and the global community of the joy and richness of human interaction and cultural preservation.
While technology offers convenience and global connectivity, there is unmatched joy in running on the field, the laughter shared with friends, and the spirit of competition that games like patintero bring.
As the world moves forward, the Philippines chooses to bring its past along, ensuring a future that’s rich, connected, and joyfully Filipino.