Philippine fiestas are a lot of fun. In general these fiestas include native sports which are referred today as games. Let’s take a look at them.
The most popular Philippine fiesta game is “Palasebo” or the lard hobby. Allegedly, this used to be an athletic training technique which later evolved into a native community pastime. A tall bamboo standing in the middle of an open space is lavished with lard or oil from top to bottom. A small flag is placed on top. The idea is to have one contestant climb the pole without any climbing implement, and half naked. Moreover, contestants of this Philippine fiesta game must have their bodies poured with oil to further toughen up the climb. At times they have all contestants simultaneously climb the pole. The lone survivor to take the flag down is champion of this Philippine fiesta game.
Hitting the hanging earthen pot, or “Palayok” is another favorite Philippine fiesta game. This can well pass for a Zen meditation technique but for the noisy crowd around. A small earthen pot is hanged through a net in the middle of a wide open space. The contestant of this Philippine fiesta game is blindfolded and given a small wooden bat. The idea is to find the way to the pot and hit it solid to break it. The net secures the broken pieces from flying away and hitting someone. At times this Philippine fiesta game varies a bit and the hanging pot is made to dangle for a more challenging hit.
Breaking lose several pigs in a secured perimeter is another Philippine fiesta game. The ground is kept muddy and the male contestants are topless. The idea is to go after the pigs and at least catch one and bring it to the judges. This Philippine fiesta game is a lot of mess but everybody enjoys it.
Another is “Pabitin” or hanging dole outs. This Philippine fiesta game uses a mat of bamboo sticks forming a flat lift. It is suspended in the air. Lots of goodies and toys hang from it, practically covering it. Children stand below waiting for it to be randomly lowered and raised. As the flat lift is lowered the kids jump to grab what they can from the goodies. Then it is raised again for another round.
Philippine fiesta games are distinctly Filipino and are designed for rough, rustic play. They are athletic activities good enough to become sports.